Given the variety of computer and laptop types existing these days, it’s sometimes difficult for browsers to adapt to each and every screen size. When we think of laptops with low resolution screens or small netbooks and ultrabooks, it becomes obvious why the size of the browser tabs matters. Thinking of tablets and smartphones, this turns into a bigger concern.

Whether the size of the browser’s menu and tabs is taking too much space on your screen or you simply can’t see the rest of the tabs in Firefox because the first few are too big, being able to change the size of Firefox tabs is definitely important. This is why this article is going to show you how to achieve that in a simple way.

firefox logo

Customize the Icons

In order to reduce the size of the tabs, you will first need to have smaller icons for the toolbars. This can be easily done by right clicking the toolbar in Firefox, then choosing “Customize”. This will take you to a feature allowing you to “Use small icons”.

Once you click and apply this setting, you can close Firefox and restart it to check how that affects the look of the tabs. If that made them small enough for the size of the screen, you could stop here. Otherwise, there are other ways of making them even smaller.

Resize the Toolbar


The previous versions of Firefox used to have a feature allowing users to configure the width of the toolbar themselves. This internal configuration feature called “about config” does not appear in the menu of the browser anymore. However, it hasn’t been removed completely, but actually moved into a separate file. This is a configuration file that is located on your computer once you install Firefox. To find and edit the file, please follow the steps below:

  1. Go to My Computer from the Start Menu and double-click on the C: hard drive.
  2. Go to the upper-left side of the window and click the “Organize” option then select “Folder and Search Options”.
  3. Click to “View” and choose the “Show hidden files and folders” option.
  4. Go to the “Users” folder and look for the one having your user name.
  5. Open the “Firefox” folder and search for a folder whose name contains a few letters and numbers (ex.: 2dtt4f2w.default) .
  6. Open the “Chrome” folder and look for a file called “userChrome-example.css”.
  7. Change the name of the file to “userChrome.css” and paste the following HTML code into the renamed document:

tabbrowser-tab:not([pinned]) {
max-width: 250px !important;
min-width: 40px !important;}

You can change the size of the tabs by diminishing the number next to “max-width” and save the file once you’re done. Don’t forget to restart Firefox every time you make a change to the document, so you can be able to see the changes produced by your actions.

Use a Theme

It’s sometimes easier to find a pre-configured theme specially designed for Firefox that leaves much more space on the screen. There are certain themes that have been designed to accommodate this specific issue, such as Compact Classic, Simple Green or Little Fox.

What these themes do is take a little of your on-screen real estate by using narrow toolbars and rather small tabs that give a general compact look to the browser. Some others also alter the color scheme, as well as the appearance of the icons as we did at the beginning of the article.

It’s very simply to find the right theme and install it by going to the Firefox Themes web-page on Mozilla’s website. There you can click on “Compact” on the left side of the page and see all the themes making your browser look smaller. When you decide, all you have to do is click the green button saying “Add to Firefox” and the theme will download then install. At the end of the process, you will have to restart the browser to see the changes.

Install Custom Tab Width add-on


The way Firefox normally works is by making you scroll through the tabs once you open too many of them. Alternatively, if you’d like tabs to automatically become smaller until they all fit in, you can install the feature from Firefox that allows you to set the maximum and minimum as you prefer.

The add-on called Custom Tab Width can be downloaded directly from Mozilla’s website. This one will guide you through all the necessary steps to install and use the various options available.

Choose Tab Mix Plus

If you want a more complex add-on allowing you to modify the different settings of the Firefox tabs, such as the order in which you’d like tabs to open and the way they’re displayed, then look for Tab Mix Plus. Scrolling through tabs can be annoying, even when they become smaller to fit the screen.

You can download the add-on and install it here then follow the instructions below to modify the dimension of the tabs:

  1. Go to Tab under Display and click on Tab Width.
  2. Change the width to be smaller than 250 (between 30 and 250) then apply.
  3. Restart Firefox so you can see the changes.

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Alex holds an engineering degree in Telecommunications and has been covering technology as a writer since 2009. Customization is his middle name and he doesn’t like to own stock model gadgets. When he’s away from the keyboard, simpler things like hiking, mountain climbing and having a cold drink make his day.