Mozilla Plans To Move Tabs To Titlebar On Windows

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 29, 2010
Updated • Oct 2, 2013

The move from Firefox 3.6 to Firefox 4 will be a major one. Not only functionality wise but also interface wise. Firefox users will have to cope with a lot of changes that the user interface team has made over the past couple of beta releases.

We have criticized several of those changes as they do not seem to make sense or are practical. Moving the link hover information to the top and other information away from the status bar have been major points.

The latest change however seems to make sense in a way. If you look at the browser interface you notice that the titlebar usually offers lots of free space. The titlebar is only used for the website title, or the Minefield button that opens the new Firefox menu.

Mozilla Links discovered information about a recent change in Firefox 4 pre testing builds that move the tabs to the very top of the screen right on the title bar when the browser window is maximized to save additional vertical space in that viewing mode.

This is an experimental feature and it is not clear yet if it will prevail. The topic is currently being discussed Bug 572160

firefox 4 tabs titlebar

The behavior is identical to that of the tabbar. Tabs are reduced in size when they fill out the complete titlebar and options to scroll left or right are added eventually when the minimum tab width is reached. It does feel kinda strange that the title of the active website is not displayed anymore though. It is now impossible as well to move the window even though most users are not probably going to need that feature in full window mode anyway.

Interested users can download a third party experimental build with the tabs on titlebar feature included from this website.

Update: The feature has been implemented in Firefox, but in a different way. When you maximize Firefox now, the titlebar is gone. The only two bars that remain in the browser UI, and only if you move your mouse to the top of the screen, are the tab bar and the navigational toolbar.


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  1. AnonMouse said on January 16, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    Hmm… On the one hand, I dislike pointless change that screws up the UI I’m used to (Same reason I still use early XP era Microsoft Word)… and this isn’t the first time; an earlier full release of Firefox last year changed tabs to work more like Internet Explorer by default. The rational was to make it easier for IE users to transition. But what of us Firefox users?! Your old interface was superior, we switched to you long ago FOR A REASON! If you want to make it easier for IE users, have a check box on setup “Use IE-like interface”…

    On the other hand, I do like my screen real estate. And moving the tabs up to the titlebar is an interesting way of reducing the space required by the interface. I could get used to it. That said, I use the ‘history’ menu frequently enough that hiding it up there in the “minefield \/” dropdown could become annoying.

  2. BobbyPhoenix said on January 3, 2011 at 9:10 pm
  3. Pete said on January 1, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Yep, you can do this with a simple userChrome.css hack.

    #navigator-toolbox[tabsontop=”true”] #TabsToolbar{
    padding-left: 80px !important;
    padding-right: 102px !important;
    padding-top: 2px !important;
    margin-top: -25px !important;

    padding: 3px 5px 3px 5px !important;
    height: 20px !important;

    #bookmarks-menu-button > .toolbarbutton-text {
    display: none !important;

  4. Leland said on December 31, 2010 at 11:23 am

    As long as there is a way to revert to the old behavior as was mentioned in one of the comments it will be fine. I have been testing Chrome for some time but there are enough differences I would not change browsers at this time. It is nice and simple and Xmarks keeps my browsers in sync but Chrome is just not quite where I need it at this point. Speed is nice but sometimes it is the extensions that dictate choice and for me this is the case…

  5. geeknik said on December 30, 2010 at 12:11 am

    This isn’t a big deal at all. I’ve been running my tabs in the title bar since the first 4.0 pre alpha was released. =)

  6. Jojo said on December 29, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Another stupid idea from Mozilla!

    Microsoft Office started screwing up the normal title bar with their 2007 release. Some other apps followed on, copying the MS Office UI change.

    I use the titlebar to display the page title and website on the left side. On the right side I display the date and time using an old freeware app.


    I also run another old freeware app that allows me to right-click on the title bar and make the window body invisible (just the title bar showing). I think that the app WindowBlinds does this also. These “roll-up apps don’t work with the MS Office corrupted titlebar and now, looks like they won’t work once Mozilla gets finished screwing up the FF title-bar.

    What the hell is wrong with the guys at Mozilla these days? They are all whacked out. Jeez.

  7. operaUser said on December 29, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    opera does this already..

    1. Nebulus said on December 30, 2010 at 1:05 am

      yeah, but fortunately it has an option to revert to old behavior :)

      1. Jojo said on December 30, 2010 at 5:27 am

        Yeah. Apparently, you can disable this by changing:

        about:config entry “browser.tabs.drawInTitlebar” to false.

    2. Martin said on December 29, 2010 at 7:03 pm

      Then it must be a good idea ;)

  8. Ben said on December 29, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    I think the release of Firefox 4 will do wonders for Chrome. I know I switched (for the time being) based on release candidates of FF4. I mean if it’s going to look like Chrome (sorta), why not just use Chrome. So I figured I would start preparing myself for the switch before I have no choice. While there are plenty of things I don’t like (know) about Chrome. It is a nice simple browser.

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