A Better Firefox Add-on Bar

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 25, 2011
Updated • Mar 10, 2015
Firefox, Firefox add-ons

The standard location for Firefox add-ons to place icons in is the add-on bar, which was previously known as the status bar of the browser.

That's different from the Chrome browser where extension icons are plastered on the address bar instead.

The functionality and information that the icons provide is usually not needed all the time. On my system I have NoScript there which I use regularly and a few other extension icons.

A Better Firefox Add-on Bar is an extension for the browser that does away with the status bar by default. It is based on the userstyle Firefox Better Add-on Bar/Status Bar that has been developed by the same author.

firefox default add-on bar

Users who install the restartless add-on will immediately notice that their add-on bar is no longer displayed in the browser.

The icons are however displayed when you mouse over the area where they were initially displayed. It needs to be noted that they are only displayed when the mouse cursor hoovers over that area.

firefox better add-on bar

What's the benefit of this? The answer is space, mostly. The part of the browser that displayed the add-on bar can now be used to display additional parts of the website. And while that may not make a huge difference, a few pixels may be all that is needed to hide the scrollbar on some pages.

The on-page find form is also displayed in that area. Before that, it was displayed above the add-on bar taking away additional space of the browser. Now it is displayed in line with the hidden icons.

Depending on the add-ons installed, users may notice that some functionality may no longer be working. This is for instance the case for NoScript's default notification when scripts are blocked on a page. The options button is now displayed underneath the hidden icon bar which makes it impossible to select one of the options. I simply disabled notifications (an alternative would be to move them to the top).

Not every Firefox user may benefit from the additional space provided by the add-on. Some add-ons seem to be incompatible, Download Statusbar for instance has been reported to not work correctly anymore.

Firefox users who want to try A Better Firefox Add-On Bar can download and install the add-on from the official Mozilla Firefox add-on repository.

Update: The extension is not compatible with Firefox 29 and newer as Mozilla has removed the add-on bar in that version. While it is possible to get it back using an add-on like Classic Theme Restorer, A Better Firefox Add-on Bar is not compatible with those add-ons.

Since it has not been updated since 2013, it is unlikely that the issue will be fixed by the author in the future.

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A Better Add-on Bar
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  1. Eric Schultz said on December 13, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    I just wanted to say thanks for this post, this add-on really made me save some valuable space.

  2. Bill said on November 25, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    Or just use ctrl-/ to view/hide the add-on bar.

  3. Transcontinental said on November 25, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Here I use a sleek little Firefox add-on called ‘Buttonizer’, which “makes a toolbar to a button”, whatever toolbar, on the button’s mouse-over. Sleek.
    ( https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/buttonizer/ )

    Having modified my ‘Find toolbar’, the add-on here mentioned, as others which handle the status/add-on bar, will not fit.

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