Condense Firefox's Bookmarks Toolbar

The Bookmarks Toolbar in Firefox provides quick and easy access to frequently used bookmarks.  Unfortunately, the text labels that normally accompany the bookmark icons take up a lot of room, so the Bookmarks Toolbar cannot hold many bookmarks before it has to spill over into a second row, which eats into valuable browser window real estate.  In addition, the numerous bookmark names can make the toolbar messy and confusing to use.

There are, however, two ways to condense the Bookmarks Toolbar so that it displays bookmark icons sans bookmark names.

Method 1:  Install the Smart Bookmarks Bar Add-on

This is the easiest way to condense the Bookmarks Toolbar.  Go to the Mozilla Add-on site or the creator's own site and install the Smart Bookmarks Bar add-on. Once it is installed, you will be prompted to restart Firefox, which you can do either right away or later.

After the Smart Bookmarks Bar add-on has finished installing, take a look at your newly condensed Bookmarks Toolbar.  (If you do not already have the Bookmarks Toolbar displayed, go to View > Toolbars > and check Bookmarks Toolbar to enable it.)  You will see that the the names no longer accompany the bookmarks and that many more of them fit in a single row.

You can customize the Smart Bookmarks Bar's look by going to Tools > Add-ons > Smart Bookmarks Bar.  Once in the options dialog, you will see choices such as showing bookmark names on mouseover, modifying the spacing between icons, and making the entire Bookmarks Toolbar autohide when not in use.

Method 2: userchrome.css Hack

This second method is slightly more difficult but avoids having to install another add-on that could eventually break when Firefox updates to a new version or that could conflict with other add-ons already installed.

To disable the bookmark names from showing, you need to do two things.  First, configure the toolbars to show only icons by going to View > Toolbars > Customize > and in the Show dropdown box select "Icons" and then hit the "Done" button.

Next, close Firefox and navigate to your Firefox profile directory (in XP, C:\Documents and Settings\your account\Application Data\Mozilla; in Vista, C:\Users\your account\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles) and edit the userchrome.css file that resides in the folder called "Chrome."  To edit, just open userchrome.css in a text editor like Notepad and add the following lines of code to the end of the file:

toolbar[mode="icons"] .toolbarbutton-text {
display:none !important;

These few lines of code disable text labels when the toolbars are configured only to display icons. (In any other setting but "Icons," the text labels will show.)

Restart Firefox and see what is missing -- bookmark names!  Unfortunately, if you use the userchrome.css hack, you cannot customize the amount of space between bookmarks, so they will not be as condensed as they are when using the Smart Bookmark Bar and setting it to the lowest space between bookmarks setting.

Parting Thoughts

No matter what method you used, you should now have a lot more room on your Bookmarks Toolbar.  The only drawback to eliminating bookmark names is that it might be hard to identify bookmarks that lack favicons, especially if you used method number two. If you installed the Smart Bookmarks Bar add-on, you can either use the "show name on mouseover" option or you can install the add-on called FaviconPicker, which lets you assign a favicon.  Obviously, if you used method number two and just hacked the userchrome.css file, you chose not to install an add-on for a reason and thus probably do not make want to install FaviconPicker, so I recommend either lining the non-faviconed bookmarks up in a certain order or hovering over them to bring up a tooltip.  No matter what you do to identify your non-faviconed bookmarks, I think you will find it more than worth it in return for having a cleaner and much more streamlined Bookmarks Toolbar.

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