Monochro for Firefox fixes eye-hurting websites with its monochrome mode

Martin Brinkmann
May 31, 2013
Firefox, Firefox add-ons

If you happen to visit websites frequently that bombard you with colorful backgrounds or crazy color schemes, or custom font types and colors that irritate the hell out of you, then you may be interested in the Firefox extension Monochro as it lets you turn those modifications off for a period of time.

Before I start to explain what it has to offer, I'd like to invite you to visit this page. It displays a selection of annoying background images that require JavaScript. Imagine having to read text on the site.

Even regular web pages may sometimes be difficult to use, for instance for color blind people or people with bad eye sight.

Monochro can remove colors, fonts or both colors and fonts from all websites you visit. What that means? Colors include text and link colors as well as any background image that is being used on sites. It does not touch other images or the information that have been posted on it.

The fonts feature on the other hand sets the font-family, size and line-height to standard values in the browser.

Take a look at the two screenshots below that highlight how things look when you activate the feature in the Firefox browser. Note that for this particular screenshot, both font and color changes had been activated.

firefox standard fonts colors

firefox reset colors fonts

The Firefox add-ons website is without doubt not the best example for this extension. It is best suited for websites that use irritating background images or make excessive use of colors or font types that prevent you from accessing the website's contents.

The default way to switch between the regular display of websites and the monochrome way is to right-click and select the option from the context menu. You can modify that in the extension's settings. Here you can enable a toolbar button for example to enable or disable the functionality with the click of the mouse.

When you activate the feature, it is applied to all websites that you have open in the browser. This cannot be changed at all, so that you may need to switch between the regular view mode and the monochrome mode regularly.

Settings are not remembered by default which you can change in the extension's preferences as well.


Options to enable the monochrome display only for select websites would be very useful as you would not need to switch between modes regularly while browsing the Internet. The extension is useful for all Firefox users who spend time on websites that are using color, background image and font settings that make contents hard to impossible to read.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Miguel said on June 12, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    I have downloaded these extensions Monochro and NoSquint, and will be checking them. It would be a great addition for sites with “odd” designs. Thank you :)

    In this regard, thanks Martin, for keeping GHacks with such a lite, useful and easy to read site design :)

  2. daveflynn said on June 3, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    I downloaded this app. It works great!

  3. NeilBR said on June 2, 2013 at 12:20 am

    Well Opera has these cute functions integrated. (not in its version 15 alphas)

  4. lainiwaku said on June 1, 2013 at 12:59 am

    the picture sample is not really good …
    it’s more eyes hurting to have full white background than a soft color background
    white hurt my eyes the evenin and mornin

    1. Caspy7 said on June 1, 2013 at 2:42 am

      Here ya go:

      Lemme know if you want my modified/fixed-for-firefox version of that last.
      (I also developed a one-click enable/disable solution)

  5. Bill said on May 31, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    No add-ons necessary. You can do this with a bookmarklet — like “zap colors” @

  6. Caspy7 said on May 31, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    Also feel free to follow that example link if you’re in the mood for a seizure.

  7. Anon said on May 31, 2013 at 10:19 am

    If only we had that in the Geocities era.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 31, 2013 at 10:46 am

      It would have been great for lots of sites back then.

  8. Michael Fisher said on May 31, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Hi Martin

    I like the NoSquint addon by Jason Tackaberry for the purpose of improving site readability

    “Is that website with the ridiculously small font and hot-pink-on-slightly-darker-hot-pink text raising your blood pressure?

    NoSquint can:
    ** Override the default text-only and full-page (both text and images) zoom levels for all websites on a site-by-site basis
    ** Change link colors & auto-underline all links
    ** Enforce your own foreground and background colors
    ** Remember your zoom levels and color settings per site, automatically applying them when you return.
    ** An exceptions mechanism lets you split up or group together sites with URL patterns”

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 31, 2013 at 10:46 am

      Michael, I think I have reviewed NoSquint before here on Ghacks. Great extension.

    2. Kneyfield said on May 31, 2013 at 10:30 am

      I use that add-on myself in combination with Stylish. With a bit of CSS knowledge, everyone can customize the whole wide web to their own preferences and circumstances. The NoSquint/Stylish-way is a lot more work initially, but its tools are a lot more powerful than Monochro could ever be and the results are clearly superior in my opinion.

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