Change/Disable Tab Overflow

Some folks, including myself do not like the tab overflow feature that was added to Firefox 2. For those of you who are not familiar with this feature when the width (in pixels) of the tabs becomes less than set amount (default is 100 pixels) Firefox will add scroll buttons to each end of the tab bar (see sample here). The purpose of this feature was so that all the tabs open will have a minimum width of 100 pixels. At 100 pixels the tabs are still relatively readable.

It is important to understand that tab-overflow does not kick-in when everyone has an ‘X’ amount of tabs open. This is because is based on the resolution you are using. The higher/lower the resolution, the more/less tabs you can have open before it kicks in. Below is a chart which shows approximately how many tabs need to be open (based on the default setting that each tab can be no smaller than 100 pixels wide) given the resolution you are using.

Resolution Setting # Tabs Open
1600×1200 17 tabs
1280×1024 13 tabs
1024×768 11 tabs
800×600 9 tabs
640×480 7 tabs

Now there a couple ways to change the way this feature works via the about:config setting:

  1. In a new tab type about:config in the address bar and press enter or open the about:config editor (if installed).
  2. Copy browser.tabs.tabMinWidth and paste into the filter field
  3. Double click on the entry and enter a number (see below) which specifies the smallest width (in pixels) you want for your tabs.
    • a number greater than 100 will kick-in tab-overflow with less tabs open, since the minimum tab width is larger.
    • a number less than 100 will kick-in tab-overflow with more tabs open, since the minimum tab width is smaller.
    • 0 will disable the tab-overflow feature
  4. Close the tab or about:config editor
  5. Restart Firefox

Source: CyberNet News >> Configuring The Scrolling Tabs