Web Browser Wednesday

Are you one of those people who like to conserve every square inch of screen space when it’s possible? If so we have a treat for you today! We’re going to demonstrate how you can become the ultimate Firefox minimalist with the help of some extensions and themes. If you implement everything that we have listed below you’ll wonder where half of your browser has gone. You might also go cross-eyed… don’t say we didn’t warn you. ;)


compact firefox.pngThe first major step that a minimalist Firefox user takes is often in changing their theme. By choosing a more compact theme you can eliminate nearly any and all spacing found throughout Firefox, and the end result can save a lot of area in your browser.

The screenshot to the right shows the Classic Compact Firefox theme laid overtop of the classic theme. The double-ended arrows indicate how much space you save by simply applying this theme. There are a few other themes (like miniFox) that are similar, but Classic Compact is really the one that has won the hearts of minimalists around the globe.

–Toolbars & Menus–

There is a lot of “fat” that lies within the toolbars and menus in Firefox. The themes aim to take some pounds off the toolbars, but there are some extensions that can take the minimalist design to a whole new level:

  • Searchbar Autosizer [Homepage]
    Keep the browser’s search box small when it’s not being used. This will let you have a really small search box that expands as you type. That means your Address Bar gets even more room!
  • Faviconize Tab [Homepage]
    You’ll be able to double-click on a tab and have it collapsed down to only it’s icon. Now you won’t feel like such a pig when you have 40 different tabs open.
    faviconize tab.png
  • Personal Menu [Homepage]
    How often do you really use those menus (File, Edit, etc…) anyway? If it’s not very often you can stuff them into a single icon by using this extension. All of the menus will still be accessible, but they will just take an extra click to get to them.
  • Smart Bookmarks Bar [Homepage]
    If you’re not ready to give up your Bookmarks Bar then maybe this extension will help keep things a little more tidy. By default it will only show the icons for the sites located on the Bookmarks Bar, and then when you hover over them it will expand to show the name as well.
    smart bookmarks bar.png

–Status Bar–

I wouldn’t say that the Status Bar is the hugest space consumer, but hey, we’re trying to scrounge up every pixel that’s possible. Right? So we’ve got a few specialized styles and one extension that can clean up your Status Bar a little bit.

  • Mouseover for Clutter [Homepage] Requires Stylish
    This will hide the excessive number of icons that you probably have in the Firefox Status Bar, but they will reappear each time you hover over the bar. That way you’re not really losing any functionality, unless of course one of those icons also serves as some sort of notifier (such as a new mail notifier).
  • Autohide Status Bar [Homepage] Requires Stylish
    Get the Status Bar completely out of the way with this style. Once installed it will create an area that is just one pixel in height, and when you hover over that it will show the Status Bar.
  • autoHideStatusbar [Homepage]
    This is an extension that’s similar to how the previous style operates, except that it goes one step further. With this extension you can set it so that when you hover over hyperlinks it will show the Status Bar, which means you can still see where the links point to. The Status Bar can also be shown when the page is loading so that you can monitor the progress.
    Note: This extension is currently experimental, and you’ll need to login to your Mozilla account before downloading it.


I think you have a pretty good set of tools to work with so that you can be well on your way to becoming a Firefox minimalist. I’m sure many of you have trimmed down your Firefox in one way or another, and I would love to hear how you’ve managed to conserve space in Firefox! Shoot us a comment below with your thoughts.