Tutorial Thursday

Some people go crazy with Firefox extensions and install them left and right. Extensions help to drive Firefox’s popularity but they can also start to clutter up your toolbars:

100 Extensions
Now I know that picture is a little dramatic because that guy installed 100 Firefox extensions, but it gives you a good idea of what may eventually happen if you never try and clean up your toolbars.

I limit myself to just one toolbar and the tab-bar. I say “if it isn’t something that you use each day then you don’t need it on a toolbar.” Now let’s get started on customizing Firefox’s toolbars.

You can move items, like the bookmarks found on your Bookmarks Toolbar, from one toolbar to another toolbar:

  1. Install the Tiny Menu Firefox extension so that the Menu Toolbar takes up very little room (you can customize which Menu items are hidden and which ones are shown).
  2. Right-click on a toolbar in Firefox.
  3. Select Customize….
  4. From the drop-down list on the Customize screen select “Icons.” Also check the box that says “Use Small Icons.”
  5. Now start dragging items from one toolbar to another.
    • I drag all of my navigation buttons, search box, and address box up to the Menu Toolbar. Once I have those items on the Menu bar I can eliminate the Navigation Toolbar.
    • Next I target the Bookmarks Toolbar. Your bookmarks that are found on the Bookmarks Toolbar will show up as “Bookmarks Toolbar Items.” If you don’t have a lot of bookmarks on the toolbar then you can move this up to the Menu Toolbar as well. I only have two bookmarks that I use on the toolbar: GMail and Google Calendar. You don’t have to supply a name for your bookmarks and not supplying a name will save you a lot of room on your toolbar. It will only show the icon for the page and no text, much like how the Home button doesn’t say “Home” next to the icon.
      Bookmarks Toolbar Items
    • NOTE: If you want to remove something from a toolbar you just have to left-click on the item and drag it into the Customize window. Items can always be added by dragging them from the Customize windows onto a toolbar.

Now that we have finished all of the customizations why don’t we see what kind of improvements we have made:

Before Toolbar
After Toolbar

There are two things that still might differ from my toolbars compared to yours. I am running Firefox 2.0 Alpha 3 which has a different search box. It is still about the same size as the one in Firefox 1.5 but does look a little different. Also, instead of using the built-in Firefox Bookmarks manager I have started using Google Bookmarks. I don’t use the Google Bookmarks because it is a space-saver, instead I use it because of the portability and privacy it gives my bookmarks.

I hope this has either helped you or has given you some ideas on how you can reclaim your toolbar space.