New Print Preview interface in Firefox 81 - gHacks Tech News


New Print Preview interface in Firefox 81

Mozilla plans to replace the current print preview interface of the organization's Firefox web browser with a new interface in Firefox 81.

Firefox Nightly users, those on the cutting edge development channel, get to use the new interface for printing already as it is enabled by default in the most recent versions of Firefox Nightly.

Printing is an essential part of any web browser and Firefox is no exception to that. Firefox users may use the shortcut Ctrl-P to open the print dialog directly, or  Menu > Print or Alt-key > File > Print Preview, to use the built-in preview feature to customize the printout before sending it to the printer.

The print preview interface in current versions of Firefox opens a dedicated window.

firefox classic print preview

Options are displayed at the top of the window and the preview of the content that is to be printed is displayed below that.

Starting in Firefox 81, Mozilla plans to switch the classic print interface to a tab-based interface that resembles that of Google Chrome and other Chromium-based browsers.

The print preview is displayed in a two column design that separates the preview from the available printing options. One difference between the old and new preview interface is that you need to scroll to check other pages of the printout in the new preview while you can use controls to jump to any page in the classic version.

firefox 81 new print preview

The following printing options are provided currently (some of them require a click on "more settings"):

  • Select the printer for the print job.
  • Set the number of copies.
  • Change the orientation from portrait to landscape.
  • Change the scale from "fit to page" to a percentage value.
  • Disable the printing of headers and footers.
  • Enable the printing of backgrounds.

A click on the "print using the system dialog" link opens system printing options which provide access to additional printing settings.

The new dialog is a work in progress. The "simplify page" option is not available yet. Simplify Page changes the content of the page to a readability-like version. Internet users who are only interested in an article may not want to print menus, advertisement or other elements that are not directly related to the article. Firefox does remove some content automatically, however in both the classic version and the new version.

Firefox users may disable the new print preview interface in the following way:

  • Load about:config in the Firefox address bar.
  • Confirm that you will be careful.
  • Search for print.tab_modal.enabled.
    • Set the preference to TRUE to enable the new print preview.
    • Set the preference to FALSE to disable it.

Firefox 81 will be released on September 22, 2020 according to the release schedule.

Now You: Classic or new print preview interface, which do you favor and why? (via Techdows)

New Print Preview interface in Firefox 81
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New Print Preview interface in Firefox 81
Mozilla plans to replace the current print preview interface of the organization's Firefox web browser with a new interface in Firefox 81. 
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  1. ShintoPlasm said on August 10, 2020 at 3:02 pm

    Reminds me of another browser… What’s the name again…. Rhymes with ‘gnome’…

    1. ULBoom said on August 11, 2020 at 12:54 am


      1. Straspey said on August 11, 2020 at 4:13 pm

        Made me choke from laughing ۞

  2. Tom said on August 10, 2020 at 3:51 pm

    Are there plans to opening History and Downloads in tabs too? I hate to use those two because they opening in separate windows.

  3. Iron Heart said on August 10, 2020 at 3:54 pm

    Copycats, the power of 5% market share.

  4. Anonymous said on August 10, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    A word frequently comes to mind in these situations: “Why?” What was wrong with the old printing interface? A quick glance at the new interface immediately showed me something was missing: Simplify page. A great feature, but sure enough, “The “simplify page” option is not available yet.” So until it does become available, we do without it.

    My cynical nature answers the “Why” question with “To justify their jobs” or “To appear cutting edge.” Sorry, I cannot help thinking that it’s human nature in this regard. I am not necessarily a stick in the mud when it comes to tech changes but merely moving stuff around, and losing a valuable feature in the process even only temporarily, is just silly to me.

    1. Anonymous said on August 11, 2020 at 10:54 am

      First of all I agree with you that the old print preview was fine the way it was, but there is still valid reasons why they have bothered to implement this, see

      namely to unify the same interface across all platforms, support built in SaveToPDF, etc, also this is a work in progress and not in a release version so the simplify page will most likely be enabled before it reaches release so complaining about a pre-beta version seems unnecessary.

      With that said, I do also think Mozilla has a track record of changing things and losing functionality unnecessarily, case in point the new about:config having much less functionality and no outwardly visible benefit to the end user.

  5. jccalhoun said on August 10, 2020 at 8:03 pm

    I welcome the change. I don’t print web pages very often but on the rare times I do, I am tired of printing a page only to see that it looks like garbage or is just blank then having to remember to open up the print preview box separately to double check.

  6. Yuliya said on August 10, 2020 at 8:58 pm

    I never print and I don’t have a printer :) I just go to a copy centre for the two or three pages I have to print, once a year or so.
    Martin, can you please check your inbox?

  7. Anonymous said on August 10, 2020 at 9:13 pm

    I am pretty sure the print dialog is associated with hard to maintain legacy code and they are changing things to get rid of this technology dept. Or they just found some easy to copy code in another browser repo they can integrate and stop worrying.. kind of the same reason, though, or just to make them more look like the other thing, you know…

  8. Anonymous said on August 11, 2020 at 4:39 am

    I almost never print so this is not of direct interest to me, but I cannot help noticing that it’s yet another step away from being able to control the whole interface with the keyboard, and toward forcing us to use the RSI-inducing rodent.


  9. John C. said on August 11, 2020 at 6:29 am

    And the continual march towards being yet another Chrome-clone proceeds with vigor. I wonder at what point Mozilla is going to announce that Firefox will henceforth be based on Chromium.

    1. Iron Heart said on August 11, 2020 at 1:24 pm

      @John C

      “As of the writing of this post, SpiderMonkey is using the very latest version of Irregexp, imported from the V8 repository, with no changes other than mechanically rewritten #include statements”


      Mozilla is already heavily relying on Chromium code, V8 is Chromium’s Javascript engine.

      1. Anonymous said on August 11, 2020 at 7:49 pm

        And that’s a good thing. Moving forward, web devs can expect a more homogenized landscape of js regex implementations in browsers.

      2. Iron Heart said on August 11, 2020 at 8:17 pm


        I didn’t say it was a bad thing, of course this makes life easier for web devs. I am just saying that Mozilla increasingly doesn’t bother to write its own code anymore, contrary to what the fans always try to portray.

  10. Jim B said on August 30, 2020 at 1:27 am

    What a surprise when I got the new messed up, Chrome-like page. After playing with my about:config page to no avail, I searched the web. And, found nothing. I did recall an update today on Firefox being installed so I checked its version with another computer. And, found version 081b. Using that with print preview I found this page and made the configuration change. THANK YOU!!! On a side note, why won’t the folks at Mozilla do something useful like fixing the memory issues where it won’t release memory on closed tabs, etc and do continual cleanups on the memory?? That would be way more useful than fixing something that isn’t broken.

  11. Ray said on August 31, 2020 at 9:31 pm

    Yeah, the problem with the new dialog is that, at least on a Mac, it simply does not work. Or, when it does work, the pages look very pixelated. Been opting to use the “system dialog” because it actually works . Seems there are bugs in it…

  12. Steb said on October 7, 2020 at 1:58 am

    i was wondering what happened with this update, and it happens that it is deactivated by default, you have to enable it manually

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