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

11 Comments on Change/Disable Tab Overflow

  1. Huh. What about the multi row tab bar?

  2. I think the multi-row tab bar can be accomplished with the Tab Mix Plus extension.

  3. 0 Does NOT disable the tab overflow, it only makes it so an average screen size allows about 35 tabs before they appear.

  4. Thank god for an easy fix.
    I actually uninstalled FF2 right after it came because of this and session manager no being availabe at that point.



  5. yah know, using the scroll wheel on the tab bar to cycle thru the list isn’t that hard to do

  6. You the man! This has been my one bugbear with FF2. Many thanks!

    — Steve

  7. Rookie here, just trying to find out how to get the close button separated from the tabs… have used that feature and like it. Any takers?

  8. I’m still hanging on to 1.5 because of this. What I want is the chrome setting that gets rid of the gratuituous curved space between tabs and decenters the favicon again so that the first letters of the title can appear to the right. And no, scrolling with a mouse wheel is not the desired option, as newly opened tabs appear at one end while the page I’d most like to go back to may be at the other. (Oh, and I don’t have a mouse wheel on all my computers. ) The centering and curves waste about 20px per tab. The favicons are 16px. So, where does this particular bit of chrome hide?

  9. I can not get it to work. My resolution is set to 1280×1024 and I can’t open more than 4 tabs without this stupid feature coming on. I have set the value to zero and 200 and it makes no difference. Is there a conflict with any extensions at all or am I missing something here??

  10. I don’t care about the size of the tabs, I just liked it when the tab you clicked on became the center tab and the tabs to the far right or left were slightly off the screen. By clicking a few times on the far left or right tab you could cycle through all the tabs. This ez to use feature is gone as far as I can tell and I have found no fix for it anywhere. Most people don’t seem to even have any idea what I’m talkin about and simply want to make the tabs smaller or keep on using the scroll arrows (which I find most inconvenient). If anyone can tell me how to keep the tabs the same size but cycle through them the old way (simply by clicking on a tab in the tab bar) I’d REALLY appreciate it.
    nihilozero (at) g m a i l . com

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