Firefox MinUI, Minimalistic Interface On Demand

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 23, 2011
Updated • Mar 5, 2015
Firefox, Firefox add-ons

Update: The add-on has last been updated in 2012 and as a consequence, is no longer compatible with recent versions of Firefox. There is no alternative available right now.

We all know that the Firefox web browser has a full screen mode that can be activated by pressing F11.

That mode hides all interface elements except the scrollbar when activated, which is great if you need more space to display the website or if you are working on low resolution monitors.

Especially netbook owners benefit from this mode as it allows them to view a few extra pixels of website content without scrolling.

The navigation bar is displayed automatically if the mouse is moved to the upper edge of the browser window. Some users may want to customize the minimalistic user interface. Maybe they want the address bar to be visible at all times, or the add-on bar. Customization is however not an option for Firefox's full screen mode.

The restartless Firefox add-on MinUI changes that by offering those missing customization options.

The extension maps its function to the Ctrl key on the computer keyboard. Activation enables or disables the minimalistic user interface. All navigational elements are hidden by default except for the scrollbar. This is similar to Firefox's built-in F11 function.

The Tools > MinUI menu contains options to hide or display interface elements in the minimalistic mode. This is the biggest advantage of the add-on over Firefox's F11 feature.

Available for selection are the following items:

  • Menu Bar
  • Navigation Toolbar
  • Bookmarks Toolbar
  • Add-On Bar
  • Tabs Toolbar
  • Sidebar
  • App Button
  • Scrollbars

It is for instance possible to display the address bar or bookmark's toolbar at all times, or to hide the scrollbar as well when the browser enters minimalistic mode.

Notice that one thing's missing from the list? Right, the title bar is not listed which means that it will always be displayed. The developer may want to consider including the title bar in a future update.

The example below demonstrates the power of the add-on. Only the tabbar is displayed, everything else including the scrollbar has been removed from the interface.

firefox minimalistic ui

The core benefit of MinUI is that it is possible to selectively enable or disable elements for the minimalistic interface. Users who prefer that everything is hidden in the mode do not really need the extension, users who need a specific element visible at all times may want to give it a try as it offers to do exactly that.

MinUI is available from the official Mozilla Firefox add-on repository. The add-on is only compatible with the Firefox 4 web browser.

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