How To View More Web Content on a Netbook Display with Firefox 3.5


Need more browsing room in Firefox for your netbook? Back in March, we highlighted jkk’s easy optimizations that make using Firefox on a small screen more enjoyable. Most of those same techniques appear today on Lifehacker, but there’s even more you can do. Gina Trapani shares a few simple CSS tweaks that eke out a wee bit more screen space in Firefox 3.5.

For starters, she adds a line that removes the new Tab button. I find that button useful, but the quick CNTL+T keyboard shortcut does the trick as well. Next up, Gina explains how to remove the magnifying glass from the search box. No it doesn’t gain you much, but frugality is the theme here and since I’m already typing in the search box, I generally hit the Enter key on my keyboard. Last up, there’s a way to optimize specific buttons. Why show the forward or back button if there’s no prior or next page? And do we really need separate stop and reload buttons? Some brief lines in the userChrome.css file address these as well.

The beauty of these optimizations is that you can pick and choose the ones that fit your browsing habits the best. And whichever ones you choose, you’ll fit more content on that smaller netbook screen.


Mickey Segal

Even better is to get rid of tabs entirely, since they are largely redundant on Windows because of the Taskbar.

As I’ve noted at, Internet Explorer lacks the customizability of Firefox and is thus a bad choice for a small screen, as is also the case for Windows Live Mail (see The folks at Microsoft tend to have power-user computers, which in the old days just meant that Microsoft software was sometimes a bit slow on older computers, but that wasn’t a big problem because faster computer were becomming more common, so Microsoft was swimming with the current. Excluding people who value mobility and tend to have smaller screens is different because by doing so Microsoft is swimming against the current.

It is not a solution to just get a bigger screen because this can impair mobility. getting a high-resolution small screen is of some value, but one does need to read it without a magnifying glass.

Microsoft needs to re-create the atmosphere of the days of the founders, when Bill Gates would use Tablets, and others senior at Microsoft understood the adaptability need to support small screen sizes.


another option for condensing the menu it the tiny menu extension, I use it even on my desktops (I’ve also combined my toolbars into one long before netbooks, it’s one of the few things I liked about older versions of IE :)).


Honestly, the easier thing to do is download the Compact Menu 2 extension. It lets you get rid of the menu bar, and puts all of those options in a drop down menu in the icons on the toolbar.


classic Compact theme condenses the menubars, plus provides the all menus in one option. That plus movings some stuff around gets you menus, plus the standard icons (forward/back, reload, print, restart, etc) plus the urlbox and search box on one menubar line. Put all your favourite sites on a second line (use just the favicons, no text) and some one letter bookmark menu folders and you have it all on two condensed lines. Hit F11 to go fullscreen when you really want to maximize the viewing area.

That on a 11.6 1366×768 screen is almost as useable as browsing on my 15″ 1440×900 monster “laptop”.


Or just use Lynx for heaven’s sake.

Oh wait — we were talking about FireFox, not Opera.

Anyways, I use the Tinymenu FireFox add-in to reduce the FireFox menu to a single button, and pull the toolbar, address bar and search bar up beside it to gain a bit more vertical space.


Nice tricks for browsers, but they don’t work for other apps that don’t support full-screen mode, and especially those prompt windows/menus that require more than 600 pixels to view.

My advice – just get a netbook with a high-res screen. You’ll not only see more with your browser, but avoid jumping through hoops to get other software working, avoid hiding the taskbar, and get significantly less interruptions to your productivity.

Gordon Cahill

I agree wth the high res screen. It solves a lot of issues, especially with apps that won’t run.

I have no probs hiding my taskbar, but often it’s better to move it to the side, especially with the 16:9 ratio of many netbook screens.


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