How To Fix Annoyances With Firefox 4’s New Look

How To Fix Annoyances With Firefox 4’s New Look

Firefox 4 has a lot going for it, but many of you (and us) mentioned that its UI has a few quirks that are a little annoying. Here’s how to fix some of the worst offenders.

Move the Tabs Back to the Bottom


While a lot of people are happy Firefox is joining the other tabs-on-top browsers and saving some vertical space, you can easily stick them back where they were by going to Options > Tabs on Top, and just unchecking that box. Simple![imgclear]

Move the Reload Button


Firefox 4 moved the reload button inside the address bar, which saves space, but may throw some of you off. If you prefer it where it was, next to the back and forward buttonsm you may not realise you can move it just like a regular toolbar button. If you head into Options > Toolbar Layout, it becomes a regular reload and stop button that you can move around as normal. If you move it away from the rightmost edge of the address bar, it will act like a normal button again.[imgclear]

Get Rid of the Google Search Box


It boggles my mind that Firefox still sticks a Google search box in there by default when the awesomebar searches just fine. To remove it, jump back into Options > Toolbar Layout and just drag it off the toolbar. You’ll get a nice long, Chrome-like address bar with all the fixings of Google search built-in.[imgclear]

Get Rid of the Add-On Bar


Firefox has hidden the status bar by default and opted for a more Chrome-like overlay of preview URLs. However, if you install an add-on like Xmarks or Adblock Plus, you may find it pops up again — that’s because the buttons for these add-ons are, by default, in the status bar (now called the “add-on bar”). It’s annoying and space-wasting, so if you’d like to get rid of it after it pops up, you can just hit the X on the left side, or go to Options > Add-On Bar and uncheck that box.[imgclear]

Move the Firefox Button to the Toolbar


One of people’s biggest complaints in Windows and Linux is that the “Firefox Button” not only takes up space, but doesn’t conform to normal UI standards. If you’d prefer the Firefox Menu somewhere else, check out the Movable Firefox Button add-on. It turns the Firefox menu into a movable toolbar button. After installing, just go back to Options > Toolbar Layout, and you’ll find you can drag it around the toolbar as you would any other button. I stuck it off to the right, so it’s in the same place as Chrome’s Wrench icon.[imgclear]

Move Tabs Up to Save Vertical Space


If you’ve moved the Firefox button as described above, you’ll notice your tabs don’t move up at all, you just have some wasted space on the title bar. You can consolidate it with a change to your userChrome.css file. Just paste in this code (courtesy of blogger David Naylor and his commenters):[imgclear]

#main-window[sizemode=normal] [tabsontop]#appmenu-button-container { position: fixed !important; z-index: 2 !important; } #main-window[sizemode=normal] [tabsontop]#toolbar-menubar[autohide=”true”] { margin-top:-14px; -moz-padding-start:70px!important; } #main-window[sizemode=normal]#navigator-toolbox[tabsontop]> #toolbar-menubar[autohide]~ #TabsToolbar { -moz-padding-start:85px!important; -moz-padding-end:110px!important; }

This doesn’t move the tabs completely to the top of the window, but it does give you a bit more vertical space. It also assumes you’re showing the Firefox button, whether you’ve moved it or not. If you’re keeping a normal menu bar, you may need to change all the autohide settings to true instead of false.

Fix Blurry Fonts


Many of you had trouble with Firefox 4 rendering fonts correctly. The easiest way to fix blurry fonts in Firefox 4 is to install the Anti-Aliasing Tuner add-on. From there, you should just be able to turn on ClearType rendering for all fonts and fix the problem. (Thanks to @willsmith for letting us know about this one).[imgclear]

Those are just a few of the UI tweaks you can make to fix anything you find annoying in Firefox 4’s new look. If you’ve got your own favourite tweaks, be sure to share them with us in the comments. Warning: If you’re here to say “why not just use Chrome instead of making Firefox look like Chrome?” please keep it to yourself. We won’t be putting up with that today; this isn’t the place.


  • The first thing I did with FF 4 on Windows was to restore the menu bar. Whatever possessed them to get rid of it by default? Hint – don’t follow Microsoft’s demented ideas on UI design and you’ll usually be better off.

    There’s lots of good stuff in 4.0, but they really dropped the ball in some of the UI changes (at least in making the crazy stuff the default behaviour), fortunately most of them are fixable via preferences. Worst of all is the loss of the progress bar. Why don’t they just put it in the Awesome/address Bar like Safari and be done with it?

  • One thing that annoyed me (probably because I came from Chrome to this) was that if I typed a search phrase in the location bar, it automatically used Bing. Is there some way to change this to google?

    • Did you install Microsoft Default Manager (came with the Bing Bar)? That program tends to change the default search from the location bar. You’ll need to get into “about:config” and look for “keyword.URL”, right click on this and click reset, or change it to “”. Hope this helps!
      (Also, Yahoo has a tendency to do this as well.)

      • Actually, just change that preference to the empty string (which is the default value). Empty string means “use the search engine you have selected in your search field”.

    • really? I need to glance at the status bar sometimes, but I haven’t found myself actually using it and most of the information it contains for years. I liked the chrome implementation when it came out – not taking up vertical space unless it’s displaying something currently relevant- but chrome would truncate anything over a few dozen characters, which is just annoying.

      The new status bar is exactly what I wanted, and firefox 4 has removed most of the temptation that chrome offered me…extra vertical space on widescreens.

      • Some of us use the status bar extensively, and/or like the look of a dedicated area for displaying that information rather than having yet ANOTHER thing popping up at us while browsing. Also having the progress bar there was simple and elegant (if they don’t want to put the progress bar in the address bar that is).

        And do you really get much more precious vertical space by not having the status bar? What? You can finally see the empty space put at the bottom of web pages?

        There is no reason it shouldn’t be an option.

  • My first reaction about the tabs taking up vertical space was, dang, I wish it were more like chrome’s UI! I google searched ways to do this, and found this page. Then…

    I maximized Firefox’s window and found that the tabs were already up top, but only if the window were maximized. Thought it through some more, and came to the conclusion that the reasoning behind this behavior is so that a “normal” state window can be dragged by its title bar, whereas dragging is pointless for a maximized one, and so can save space by pushing tabs up top.

    Also, if you move the firefox button like it appears on the screenshots, I find it aesthetically distracting that there will be a gap on the upper left corner of the window.

    In the end I’ll just leave it alone. Still prefer Chrome’s way of screen real estate, but I gots to have my firefox extensions! I also really like the new tab groups built in.

    • “reasoning behind this behavior is so that a “normal” state window can be dragged by its title bar, whereas dragging is pointless for a maximized one, and so can save space by pushing tabs up top.”


  • “This doesn’t move the tabs completely to the top of the window” – This Will.

    This assumes you have taken the other advice and “Moved the Firefox Button to the Toolbar”

    #main-window[sizemode=normal][tabsontop] #toolbar-menubar[autohide=”true”]{

    #main-window[sizemode=normal] #navigator-toolbox[tabsontop] > #toolbar-menubar[autohide] ~ #TabsToolbar {

  • Have moved the FF button and moved the tabs up as per tips above

    Anyone know the trick to have the tips start at the left of screen rather than indented (as per screenshot above – see that space above the fwd/back arrows)

    Presume it is possible through userchrome.css tweak too – but it’s beyond me

  • I downloaded Firefox4 after years of happy use of earlier versions. I have one comment: I hate the new look. Talk about a cas of “if it’s not vbroke don’t fix it”. I uninstalled version 4 & reinstalled the previous version & I won’t be updating ever again, or untilo the developers see the light & put it back or offer an option to keep the original layout. Firefox 4 – yuk!

  • Please give me the option to return to the old Firefox for display…I am going back to the previous version…do not like the difficulty of having to change…kind of like the grocery stores when some young kid decides to insure his position in the hierarchy by redoing the whole store…after you know the aisles and can function efficiently, you have to shop for a couple of years to learn where everything is…apparently, that grocer is now working for Firefox…put the food back on the shelves as we knew where they were…you are wasting my valuable time.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!