How To Customize Toolbars and Buttons in Firefox

Customizing toolbars and buttons is easy in Firefox with this article.

One of the things I love about Firefox is its extensibility, not only with add-ons but toolbars and buttons.
Customizing toolbars and buttons is a quick and easy way to add functions and features without installing any add-ons.

This article from Mozilla covers just about everything you want to know about buttons and toolbars, with images and step-by-step directions.
The article first points out the parts of the toolbar and what they do, so the next time you come across the term Menu Bar or Tab Strip you'll know exactly what it means. :)
The article then covers these topics:

  • How do I show and hide the different toolbars?
  • How do I customize or rearrange toolbar items?
  • Icon appearance options
  • How can I add extra toolbars?
  • I'm having problems with toolbars disappearing or resetting

A Firefox customization article wouldn't be complete without me mentioning one of my favorite add-ons.
The add-on is called Toolbar Buttons, it adds extra buttons with various functions to the toolbar.
To access the customize toolbar function, right click in a blank area of the toolbar and click on "customize. You should see something like this:

Image of customize toolbar area of Firefox


Once the customize box appears, hover your mouse cursor over the button you want to use. When the cursor turns into a hand, you can drag and drop that button anywhere on your toolbars. To remove a button from the toolbar open the customize window again, hover your mouse over the button you want to delete, drag and drop it anywhere inside the customize box or it won't be deleted. To move a button to another spot on the toolbar, open the customize window, hover your mouse over the button, drag and drop it where you want it to go on the toolbar.
(I have no idea why the customize window needs to be opened just to move a button, but it does).
Here's a list of the buttons included in the Toolbar Buttons add-on. The name and function of each button is at this link:
Toolbar Button List and Description

Custom toolbars and toolbar buttons are an easy way to have your favorite features where you want them in one click .

How do I customize the toolbars? | How to | Firefox Help

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by rob (not verified) on 24. January 2012 - 2:51  (87673)

Doesnt work as shown on FF9.0.1

by rhiannon on 24. January 2012 - 4:16  (87678)

I'm not sure what you mean by doesn't work as shown. What isn't working?
FWIW, it works for me in every version of Firefox including tonight's beta channel 10.0 update.

by Soon-to-be-former Mozilla fan (not verified) on 2. August 2011 - 20:11  (76789)

Customizing Firefox 5 may be "easy" for folks who can spend time tweaking software for their amusement, but for those of us whose browsers are nothing more than a tool to get things done, Firefox 5 is a nightmare. In the best Microsoft tradition, Mozilla seems to have decided that everything should be moved around, and half of the menu-based configuration (at least those elements I spent considerable time fine-tuning years ago) should be split between stuff that can be set visually (intuitively, only after someone points it out to you) while the rest has been deleted or moved to about:config elements that can't be found by guessing (because they're optional).

I've just spent several hours trying to construct some semblance of the extremely useful 3.6.18 configuration I had, and after my third try at adding former Mozilla toolbar buttons that can only be found in an extension that gets broken every time dragging a button too close to the Fwd/Back buttons makes that extra button disappear from both the toolbar and the customize set, requiring a complete reset to defaults -- [deep breath] -- I think I'm going to have to go back to Opera (which I switched away from for Firefox 0.8 or so -- that much investment in time and knowledge down the drain).

Are Mozilla project managers taking bribes from Google and Microsoft to narrow their installed base to gearheads, or are they just getting so full of themselves they think they can blow off enterprises (who need stability and consistency) and ordinary mortals (who want to *use* their browsers, not play with them)? I love messing with CSS and writing scripts, too, but for my own projects, not to fix someone else's, especially concerning problems that thousands (millions?) of people will obviously run into, and not just because Mozilla wants to play catchup with Google's insane release schedule and "let's try everything!" approach to innovation.

by John . (not verified) on 27. July 2011 - 13:29  (76304)

I miss the old header setup...any way to revert to that? This reminds me of the crappified ribbon setup Microsoft implemented in 2007. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, or at least give people the option to keep it as it was.

by rhiannon on 27. July 2011 - 18:44  (76329)

You might find this article of interest - most of what's there can be used in Firefox 5.
Make Firefox 4 Look and Act Like Firefox 3
I like to click on the orange button, then on options, and make sure menu bar and add on bar are checked.

by John . (not verified) on 29. July 2011 - 13:56  (76458)

Thanks rhiannon, you're a peach. Wish I didn't have to go through with this in the first place, but the article will definitely be useful. I wonder if the folks at firefox did this to encourage people to try a different browser...

by rhiannon on 30. July 2011 - 19:41  (76558)

Hi John,

To me it looks like a lot of programs (not just browsers) are heading the same way. I'm not sure where I stand on it all, but I know that there are Firefox functions that I can only access from the Menu bar. Can't get to them from the orange button. :)

by Aninnymous (not verified) on 27. July 2011 - 16:36  (76318)

With the right-click and customize process choices, you can get almost all the way back to the legacy appearance. From there on, it's all a matter of which add-on enhancements you install. I have mine in a combo state of legacy and new buttons, etc., my search bar is completely customized with just the engines I want included and those I use most often only.

There really isn't anything important that you can not "customize" in Firefox if you are willing to put the effort in.

by John Collins (not verified) on 27. July 2011 - 13:08  (76302)

Moving to Firefox 5 I lost many add-ons including Google Toolbar (not compatible) so I lost a lot of buttons. Some days a few websites will only display in text. Some sites reject my passwords. Some java scripts don't work properly. There are other random errors. These latter problems do not show up in IE8. With the rapid changes from 3.6 to 4 to 5 Firefox, which I used to love, is getting where it is not worth having.

by rhiannon on 27. July 2011 - 18:53  (76330)

John Collins; I've had similar problems over the years with Firefox - usually after an upgrade. I don't upgrade anymore, I do a clean install after backing up my settings using FEBE:
FEBE :: Add-ons for Firefox
If your version isn't there check the developer page, he usually has something in the works for newer versions.

Mozbackup is a good backup program too:
It can also be used to backup Thunderbird and Postbox.

by rhiannon on 27. July 2011 - 18:55  (76331)

I forgot to add that both of those programs also restore your settings as well as backing them up. :)

by cazador31 on 27. July 2011 - 13:18  (76303)

Install the Firefox "add-on comparability reporter" That should do it for you

by Aninnymous (not verified) on 26. July 2011 - 13:45  (76257)

I love your Firefox suggestions, as usual, Rhiannon. I will have to cogitate like Rodin on how to best choose among so many sculptural buttons, but "Find" and "Bookmarks Mgr" should help any Ninny.

by rhiannon on 26. July 2011 - 16:44  (76264)

Aninnymous; There are a lot of options to choose from. :)
One of my favorites is the 'send link' button - drag it to the toolbar, then set your default email program through the Options/Applications menu. Click 'mailto' and your current email program should be there. If not, click on the drop down box. From there you can set your default email. If it's not listed, choose 'Other' and browse to the program you want to use.

After that, clicking on the button will bring up your email program with the Subject line filled in and the link in the body of the message. :)

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