CyberNotes
Web Browser Wednesday




One of the things that I’m looking forward to the most with Firefox 3 is to see what kind of redesign they will come up with for Vista users. Right now the Firefox theme in Vista is anything but stellar, but it is possible to improve it with very little work on your part. We are going to walk you through several changes that you can make, all of which will keep the default Firefox theme in tact. We’re not looking to clone Internet Explorer 7 … we just want a good looking Firefox!

All of the tweaks we are going to demonstrate are available on Userstyles.org, which means you’ll want to have the Stylish extension installed before continuing. That way it will just take a few clicks to get each feature installed. Lets get stylin’!

–Toolbar Color (Homepage)–

One of the things that irks some people, including me, is the toolbar background color in Firefox. It is like a pastel blue, and doesn’t feel anywhere near the same as it does in other versions of Windows. You can change that though by adding this style to your repertoire, and you should notice a difference rather quickly:

Toolbar Color
Note the change in background color behind the navigation buttons

–Maximized Toolbar Color (Homepage)–

When you maximize Internet Explorer 7 in Vista it darkens the toolbar background to make it easier to focus on the content of the page. This style will do the exact same thing for Firefox so that only when the browser is maximized will it have the dark background. In the screenshot below we also have the Hide Menubar extension installed which makes the Menubar disappear until you press the Alt key.

Toolbar Maximized

–Tab Background (Homepage)–

If you didn’t decide to go with the first style mentioned in this article you may want to consider using this one. It will alter the background color behind the tabs to match that of the toolbars (the pastel blue), which I think does help tremendously in making Firefox have more visual appeal:

Tab Background
Note the difference in background colors next to the last tab

–Joined Back/Forward Buttons (Homepage)–

I’m a bit uneasy as to how well this fits into the default Firefox theme, but it will work for any theme that you are using. If you prefer to have the back and forward buttons “joined at the hips” like they are in Internet Explorer 7 just install this style, and voila:

Back Forward Buttons
Note the different back/forward buttons

–Vista Throbber (Homepage)–

In our quest to Vistify Firefox we can’t forget about the little throbber icon! Naturally it only makes sense to use the same “busy” icon that the mouse uses for indicating that a program is busy, and this will do just that:

Vista Throbber 

–Address Bar Progress Meter (Homepage)–

This isn’t something that will necessarily make Firefox more like Vista, but it does look pretty sweet. You’ll need to install the Fission extension first, which makes Firefox show the page loading progress in the Address Bar. Then when you apply the style it has a Vista-esque feel to it:

Vista Progress Bar

–Overview–

I’m anxious to see what Mozilla has been brainstorming for a Firefox 3 theme in Vista, but as it stands they will be shipping a Vista-specific theme to compliment the eye candy incorporated into the operating system. One can only hope for amazing things!