Blog Post

How-To: Full Screen Browsing and Forced Tabs With Safari

Safari Icon

With support for emerging web standards in HTML 5 and CSS3, topflight built in developer tools, fast performance, and the other 150 new features packed into its Snow Leopard release, Safari is now the only browser left on my dock.

After reading through David’s great tips for supercharging Safari, I was inspired to pimp out my own install and came across two tweaks I thought I’d share. They aren’t plugins, but instead involve some “under the hood” changes to enable full screen browsing and to force new window links to open up as tabs instead.

Changing Preference Files and PlistEditPro

Both of these tweaks involve editing Safari’s preference files. There are a couple of different ways you could go about doing this, but the best approach, in my opinion, is to use this handy little free PlistEdit Pro application. There are a ton of hidden gems in preference files and this little app makes exploring them dead simple.

Setting Up Full Screen Browsing

When I’m on my laptop, screen real estate matters, so my brother tipped me to this little trick he uses on his Hackintosh Dell Mini 9 to force the menu bar and dock to slide off the screen and fully zoom the window.

  • Right click on the Safari application and choose show contents to expose the Info.plist file.
  • Add an entry for the key “Application UI Presentation Mode” and set its value as “All Suppressed.”

This will force the dock and menu bar to slide off the screen whenever Safari is the selected application. Mousing up to the edges of the screen will slide them back on so you can still access menu items or the dock as needed.

Safaris info.plist being edited

Now create a bookmark to fully zoom the window to take advantage of all this newly available space on the screen.

  • Add a new bookmark called TrueZoom and in the address field put this handy little javascript: javascript:self.resizeTo(screen.availWidth,screen.availHeight);.
  • Then create another called UnZoom and use this bit of javascript in the address: javascript:self.resizeTo(900,600);window.moveTo(200,200).

If these two are the first two bookmarks then you can use ?1 and ?2 respectively to go big and return to normal.

Force Tabs

As I tend to use the Spaces feature in Leopard to separate out my work (markup stuff in one space, email and IM in another, twitter and news reader in another, etc.), I like to have a separate browser window to go along with each space. This helps me keep my browsing organized, but when links start making additional windows, things get messy. So, forcing those links to open up as tabs instead is an easy fix.

  • Open up the file, you’ll find that in ~/Library/Preferences.
  • Check the box for the “TargetedClicksCreateTabs” key.

Now everything stays in its own window and my spaces stay nice and tidy.

Safari's preferences list being edited

With these final tweaks, plus a couple of the plugins mentioned by David in his post I’ve got my Safari almost exactly how I want it. If you have your own favorite “under the hood” tweak for Safari, share it in the comments. I’d love to hear it.

17 Responses to “How-To: Full Screen Browsing and Forced Tabs With Safari”

  1. Change the class to ‘number’ (the only nonsupressed value) after typing in ‘Application UI Presentation Mode’ then type in “All suppressed” (case sensitive) into the value, and it should work.

    If not, you can refresh the list of keys and a “PresentationMode” should fill in the Class value for the new key, and then you can click the up/down arrow to the right of the empty value box, and select “All suppressed”.

  2. o…m…g. how much work do i have to do to get effing full screen mode? tenth time’s a charm with this stupid browser. never installing it again. completely ridiculous. doesn’t do a bloody thing by default. of course it’s fast. might as well be notepad.

  3. SpaceAge

    I followed the steps to add the Application UI Presentation Mode with a value of All Suppressed, but it didn’t seem to have any affect of Safari. When I opened up the application, the Doc still stays in the same position, and doesn’t hide itself. Is there something I may have overlooked?

  4. I’m having the same problem as Autumn mentioned above. I’ve installed PList Edit Pro. However, when adding the “Application UI Presentation Mode”, I have two columns not shown on your screen capture of PList Edit Pro. What do I need to enter into the Class and Element columns? The Application UI Presentation Mode doesn’t work without these columns having an appropriate entry. Thanks.

  5. Perhaps I’m doing this wrong…but I open the info.plist file under Safari/Contents with the program Plist Edit Pro. I then add a child with the name “Application UI Presentation Mode”…but from there I am confused. Help?

  6. Glims @ also allows you to do this in addition to some other cool things like:

    Adds Favicons to tab labels
    Re-opens last session when Safari starts
    Forms autocomplete always on
    Dated download folders

    I noticed though that after I installed it Safari started to crash whenever I began typing messages or comments on Facebook. Has anyone else had this problem?

  7. Jim Cummings

    uh, a 25-yr newbie question I guess (ie since the MacPlus)….when i open the plist files, they open in text edit; no other options given. that nice GUI you show: where does it come from? I’m on 10.5.7, Safari 4

  8. Just a heads up…if you use the Application UI Presentation Mode trick to hide the dock and menu bar you may run into problems with applications like 1Password that access the KeyChain. Apparently, changing the plist invalidates the digital signature of Safari and when the app tries to access the keychain OS X freaks out because the signature is invalid.

  9. There’s also an app (“PresentYourApps”) that does the manual .plist tweaking for you:

    Only downside I’ve seen to this tweak is that (at least) Firefox won’t start full-screen-zoomed. That is, I launch FF, and the menubar disappears (my dock’s already hidden), but FF won’t maximize. Haven’t dug too deep into it, but it’s sort of annoying that I’ll have to immediately maximize the app after launching. Perhaps the bookmark tweak above helps with that…