Display Link Targets In Firefox With Hidden Status Bar

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 17, 2010
Updated • Feb 25, 2015
Firefox, Firefox add-ons

Update: Firefox displays link targets on hover in the lower left corner of the browser window now just like other browsers. The add-on reviewed in this article is no longer necessary and has been pulled by its author as a consequence.

You may or may not have read that the Mozilla development team has removed the status bar from the Firefox browser in the latest nightly builds, just like Microsoft did in Internet Explorer 9 Beta, and Google did in Chrome for god knows how long.

Unlike Chrome or Internet Explorer, Mozilla made the decision to place link targets on hover in the Firefox address bar. The two other browsers are displaying the target of links in the lower left corner of the screen exactly where they have been shown before on browsers with status bars enabled.

This screams for problems on low resolution displays and long urls. And while it is just a nightly build that is showing the change, it may indeed turn up this way into the final Firefox 4 release.

Firefox 3 users who have disabled the status bar currently have a different problem as link information on hover are not displayed at all.

The Link Target Display add-on changes that, by implementing a similar functionality that Internet Explorer 9 and Google Chrome offer.

The add-on displays the link url automatically in the lower left corner of the screen. Additionally, it will only display the information if the status bar is hidden.

The add-on is compatible with both Firefox 3 and 4, which means that Firefox 4 users will have a fallback in case they do not like the new functionality. That is, if the developer adds options to display the status bar again and hide the link target information in the address bar of the browser.

One aspect of this change, that needs to be considered is that a lot of add-ons places icons in the status bar. NoScript does for instance, and a lot of others do as well. What happens to those icons if the status bar gets removed? Someone suggested to move them to one of the header bars, but those could get really crowed then.

What's your opinion on this? Good change?


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  1. Chip said on September 20, 2010 at 3:25 pm
    1. Jojo said on September 20, 2010 at 8:42 pm

      Thanks for that link. I just posted my 2cents over there, echoing what I had previously posted here.

  2. Jojo said on September 18, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    Here is my status bar. Where am I supposed to put all the info in the status bar if they remove it?


    The better question is WHY are they messing with this? I suggest they spend their time with more productive things, such as figuring out how to reduce the memory footprint of FF. Or code to give users info on the memory usage of add-on’s. I am sick of having to shut down FF at least 3 times daily because when the the total memory usage gets near or over 1GB, the browser really slows down.

    1. Martin said on September 18, 2010 at 8:57 pm

      Jojo, you probably have three times the icons that I have in the status bar, haha. I thought about it as well, that they should concentrate on speed and performance, not so much about design changes. But then, maybe they have different groups and one is responsible for the design. Lets hope they make the changes optional.

  3. Roman ShaRP said on September 18, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    I like status bar, I think I need it. I don’t want it to be removed. Let it be up to a user – to hide status bar or not.

  4. kalmly said on September 18, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    As always, I am for choices. And I don’t like them taken away. I would choose to keep my status bar – right where it is, just like it is. Others might prefer it gone.

  5. David said on September 18, 2010 at 6:59 am

    @Martin “A quick poll would give them an idea how we all feel”

    Maybe, but this article was fairly negative. I just read another article which was far more positive and the responses were generally positive too.

    1. Martin said on September 18, 2010 at 11:21 am


      I have a few problems with this proposed change. First, it moves the information from where they have been for decades to another location. Users will cope with that eventually. The major problems for me are long urls that may not be displayed completely, and the fact that I use the status bar for various tools. I currently have eight different tools and information displayed in the right corner of the status bar. Where do they suggest those information should go? Somewhere in the header I assume. But this would either mean that I have to enable another toolbar, which would eliminate the space gains from removing the status bar, or place it in an existing bar (the address bar in my case is the only one available) which would further reduce the space available there.

      If they make it optional no problem. If they remove the status bar completely then I won’t upgrade to Firefox 4.

    2. Jojo said on September 18, 2010 at 8:43 am

      How about a link to this article???

  6. Martin said on September 18, 2010 at 3:47 am

    It’s a bad idea for me with a lot going on in my status bar, but I won’t say it’s a completely bad idea. This is another one of those ideas that ought to be optional so that if you don’t want the status bar you can turn it off. But for so many of us we want you FF devs to know that we need it, so give us the option to keep it (or give others the option to remove it).

    A quick poll would give them an idea how we all feel. Ghacks, can you make that happen?

    1. Roebie said on September 18, 2010 at 9:28 am

      The status bar is already optional: it shows by default, but one can hide it.
      Instead of completely removing it they might better turn that aroud: hide it by default but with the option to show it.
      Of course Mozilla isn’t going to do a poll, but maybe, just maybe it helps if you write your comments on their forum. They do take a look there once in a while.

  7. lawson said on September 18, 2010 at 12:47 am

    I agree. A terrible idea. Need my status bar!

  8. Oneide said on September 17, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    Second Roebie.
    By the way, this “behavior” is already annoying in Chrome.

  9. Roebie said on September 17, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    Horrible change.
    I have so many thing in my status bar that I will need an extra header bar just for those icons. So where is my gain then?

    1. Jojo said on September 17, 2010 at 10:16 pm


      Leave the status bar alone, FF developers.

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