Options being moved to tab by default in Firefox 32

Mozilla, which is absolutely not shy of widespread changes to its browser, will be removing the popup Options window from version 32 onwards in favor of an inline tab instead.

This is already possible by opening a tab and navigating to about:preferences

As you can see above this is already possible, it was added two months ago as an option beginning with the Nightly version. Firefox 29 users are in luck too, as well as those in the beta channel who can also view the above.

To enable it as default follow the steps below:

  1. Type about:config in the browser's address bar and hit enter.
  2. Confirm you will be careful.
  3. Search for browser.preferences.inContent and double-click it to set it to true.

Once enabled, the option displays all menu items on the left in a sidebar and the settings for the selected item on the right. To not have it as default, but check it out anyway, simply navigate to about:preferences.

What will be from Firefox 32 onward by default.

Above you can see that the option has since seen a bit of an overhaul, no longer aligning with the style of the extensions and plugin pages, to check this out you'll need to install the nightly version of Firefox, which has the updated setting page by default.

Some changes include, ability to zoom settings pages, and fonts also change up or down accordingly, this most likely due to the fact that the settings pages also take up much more room on the screen which also makes scrolling possible in that scenario.

Of course, this isn't going to be everyones cup of tea, some people may prefer the old fashioned way of a popup, which is also still possible.

To revert to the old style options window, follow the steps below:

  1. Type about:config into the address bar and hit enter.
  2. Confirm you will be careful.
  3. Search for browser.preferences.inContent
  4. Double-click the entry.​ 

This is just one of many sweeping changes to Firefox in recent months. Hopefully they will also get around to synchronizing the name for Options, which presently has three different ones, depending on where you look; in the Firefox 'Start Page' it's called Settings, in the drop down menu it's called Options and to get it through a tab, it's about:preferences. Yep!

Source & top image: GHacks

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56 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Don't really care about it being in a "tab" or not, but I'm not a huge fan of omitting "Ok" and "Cancel" buttons from options "dialogs" (term used loosely due to context of article).

I'm a big fan of Mac OS X, but this is something prevalent in Mac OS X preference pane and OS X applications that drives me nuts...

I sure hope the time to load and be ready to accept input will be speeded up. Version 29 has been so sluggish to load, complete with the black desktop before turning to a white desktop. Then...one can enter data. This is on a Win-7 64-bit machine with 4GB of RAM. (Oh, do I miss those nice crash-free, snappy load times of version 12.)

Oh, look, more bi***ing!

What the hell is the matter with you people? You set your preferences once and never see them again unless you really really need to (i.e. want to). Grow a pair already.

I use preferences a lot to clear cache and change proxy settings, so now I'm being forced to use a mouse to do that because the menu (which IS keyboard enabled unlike this) has been removed.
WELL DONE COMMON SENSE!

Not really. Firefox has enough flexibility to make it looks and work however you want.. out of the box doesn't mean set in stone. Go for the streamlined look, or change it up to a look similar to Netscape if that's your thing. With Chrome you have no such options.

Max Norris said,
Not really. Firefox has enough flexibility to make it looks and work however you want.. out of the box doesn't mean set in stone. Go for the streamlined look, or change it up to a look similar to Netscape if that's your thing. With Chrome you have no such options.

I want tabs on tablet. How can i arrange that with its flexibility?

Though, it swaps and freezes so much on Android, so can't use it even without tabs.

coth said,
I want tabs on tablet. How can i arrange that with its flexibility?

Get a tablet that runs the full version of Firefox that this article is talking about.. works pretty well for me. You'll find that a lot of tablet versions of software tends to be quite watered down from the original.. hardly unique to Firefox, although I'll agree the Android version is fairly unstable.

I like the new interface. I just wish the inactive tabs still had a full tab outline around them. Just a faint one instead of those separator lines.

I like this idea, but don't like the new UI at all. Why does the tab-bar have to take up soooo much space? Those rounded edges also look too terrible for words.

looks nicer in the second screenshot. This change is good but I hope they don't adopt some crazy changes to Firefox. Version 29 is great unlike previous ones.

People think its copied from Chrome and what not , but personally , no matter who came first (on paper or in actuality), Firefox looks much more comfortable to me. Even the incontent preferences part is so good to eyes (still not fully baked though).
It's obvious a drastic change leads to some criticism, but still we got to admit it was for better.

Sometimes I feel I'm the only person who likes the new FF interface and I like what they're doing with the old dialogue boxes of old.

Kushan said,
Sometimes I feel I'm the only person who likes the new FF interface and I like what they're doing with the old dialogue boxes of old.

You're not the only one, actually I prefer the customizing functionalities offered by australis. The only thing I don't like are curvy tabs cause they don't fit in windows 8.

Kushan said,
Sometimes I feel I'm the only person who likes the new FF interface and I like what they're doing with the old dialogue boxes of old.

I don't mind Australis, myself. I think it looks fine and I like that they streamlined the UI a bit. Installing Classic Theme Restorer let me tweak the tabs to the square style I prefer, but otherwise, I left most of the defaults alone.

I think Australis + moving the Preferences into an inline tab (which I've already done in FF29) is quite appealing.

Enron said,
Is there an option for square tabs instead of the goofy looking ones with the round corners?

Classic Theme Restorer, set it to square tabs, done.

Enron said,
Is there an option for square tabs instead of the goofy looking ones with the round corners?

I can show you some scripts when I get home.

Dot Matrix said,

I can show you some scripts when I get home.

Go for Stylish. I forgot the name of the add on when I posted earlier, but they have a Windows 8 inspired Australis theme that I have bee using.

tomasse said,
The MX4 theme, i like it more than Classic Theme Restorer...

Viable option -- prefer CTR myself as I can use it in conjunction with other themes, never mind a lot of other options to play with.. but that's the nice bit, you got customization options, whatever works. (I personally go for DeepDark myself for Firefox and TBird.)

Enron said,
Is there an option for square tabs instead of the goofy looking ones with the round corners?

Like I did mine?

http://i5.minus.com/iv0TNsqyhhxBN.png

I hate the new tabs too; but thankfully I found this script:

http://userstyles.org/styles/9...firefox-metro-for-australis

I don't need "heavy" addons.

PS. Lol, the creator posted it already above. Btw, thanks heartripper! Although I had to reduce the padding ( 3, 2px instead of 4,2px ) in order to be able to change tabs while the cursor is on top edge.

The second screenshot is not the new styling as reported. It is the old styling. By default, it will look like the first screenshot.

Meph said,
The second screenshot is not the new styling as reported. It is the old styling. By default, it will look like the first screenshot.

Nooo :-|

n_K said,
Like the new version of gedit, I'll pass on downgrading to this version of firefox.

How is moving the "Options" from a window to a tab a "downgrade"?

It completely breaks accessibility and common-coding practices with keyboard shortcuts, I'd call that one big-ass backwards move.

n_K said,
It completely breaks accessibility and common-coding practices with keyboard shortcuts, I'd call that one big-ass backwards move.

Sorry, I don't understand what that means.

As normal(non-programmer/engineer) user I can think of one advantage that this brings & that is not having the options window lock out interaction with the browser window until it's closed.

Go to any normal application with a menu, hold down alt and press F, the 'File' menu becomes selected and can be navigated.
This downgrade removes that ability.

No it doesn't. The 'File' menu is hidden unless you hit Alt+F (by default)

And even if they go full Chrome, Alt+F still opens the menu in Chrome

Sraf said,
No it doesn't. The 'File' menu is hidden unless you hit Alt+F (by default)

And even if they go full Chrome, Alt+F still opens the menu in Chrome


Well obviously it opens the menu, BECAUSE IT'S A GOD DAMN MENU, a windows control, THIS new tab IS NOT A MENU therefore it does not respond as a menu and as I have previously said (quite a few times now) it is not keyboard accessible.

Err actually yes it is accessible, Alt+T, then O gets you to the options tab just by using keyboard shortcuts then Tab as before.

n_K said,

Well obviously it opens the menu, BECAUSE IT'S A GOD DAMN MENU, a windows control, THIS new tab IS NOT A MENU therefore it does not respond as a menu and as I have previously said (quite a few times now) it is not keyboard accessible.

You said that the Alt-F keystroke was removed, it has not been. As for the webform for altering preferences, it too is navigable by keyboard, the exact same way all webforms are (and that the old preferences window would have been as well): using the tab key and spacebar

n_K said,
Go to any normal application with a menu, hold down alt and press F, the 'File' menu becomes selected and can be navigated.
This downgrade removes that ability.

Oh yea I get you, I am well aware of that function it's very useful, but where does it says that that functionality is being removed?

As far as I understand it, this update would embed the options palette in to a Tab rather than it's own separate window. How does that mean the Menu Bar is being removed?

Edited by Lamp0, May 20 2014, 5:25pm :

Agreed. I know a lot of people find it controversial, but I think the Firefox UI changes are great improvements. The options dialog is about the only thing that still looks like it was taken straight from Firefox 2.0.

The great thing about Firefox of course is that it's so extensible that people can get back the old-style stuff by way of addons, rather than just forcing people to use the new layout with no option to keep their existing workflow.