Sunday 2 December 2007

Fullscreen in Firefox on Mac OS X

Update: Finally, Firefox 3.6 (and onwards hopefully!) support fullscreen. Just Press the Command key + Shift key + F, or go to View > Full screen. Nevertheless, the method below might still be useful if you want to make the Firefox window a particular size, say 1024*768 or something like that for testing purposes.


Mac: Hi, I'm a Mac. I look cool and interesting.
PC: And I'm a PC. I look ugly and boring.
Mac: Dude. You're so boring.
PC: I sure am.
Mac: I rock.
PC: Ya sure do.

- Some Apple commercial where Apple makes fun of "personal computers".
Yup. The Apple commercials sure are right. There is huge different between the Mac and PC lifestyles. I've been a switcher recently. And one big problem that I ran into recently is that a lot of things on the PC side aren't quite available to the Mac users.

Usually, when I'm on the PC, I hit F11 and Firefox goes into full screen mode. However, when I'm on Tiger or Leopard for that matter, hitting F11 will only show you your desktop. You can change that however through system preferences, but there's no way of going fullscreen on a mac :(. For other cocoa applications, Ian Henderson created a really lightweight and useful app/plug-in called megazoomer, but Firefox isn't exactly a cocoa application.

So, after searching the inter web for a while, I came across this lifehacker post. I then searched a bit more to find out what you can do with javascript and a bookmarklet. Turns out, you can do a lot.

To be honest, it's not possible to maximize a firefox window completely on a mac. However, it is possible to maximize the window to fit in the whole screen. To do this just follow these steps:

1. Create a new bookmark by right clicking on the bookmark toolbar. If you don't see the bookmark toolbar just go to View > Toolbars > check Bookmark toolbar.
2. Give the bookmark a name like Fullscreen (something that you can remember) and then paste the code below in the Location box. Make sure you paste all the code in 1 line only though, or else it won't work.

javascript:self.moveTo(0,0); self.resizeTo(screen.availWidth,screen.availHeight);

3. Click OK, and then just click on the Fullscreen button to maximize Firefox.

Then once you click on the Fullscreen Button, Firefox should then take up all the space that OS X allows an application to take up, depending on the size and position of your dock. Sometimes, when I'm viewing pictures, I like to minimize the dock by pressing Cmd + Option + D and this will allow Firefox to take up more space.

Do let me know if you find other ways of going Fullscreen in Firefox or any other Mac app for that matter.

Got a question, tip or comment? Send them to and we'll try to answer it in a blog post!


  1. the "lifestyles" thing is quite stupid. Those advertisements are targeted for stupid teens and really it's a shame. Mac can proudly exploit its Unix-based thing, that is really interesting, and not the 'you have to be bisexual and get a Mac, if not you're not cool' --- I own many PCs and a MacBook and MacOS has its problems. And I am talkig about Tiger, because Leopard is as flawed as Vista, if not more. And people often forget that a computer is all about software, not just the OS. Yeah MacOS is beautiful but it REALLY lacks a lot of software, let alone free software. I like Mac but I strongly oppose its marketing.

  2. Thanks for the fullscreen solution. This is very useful.

  3. I'm putting this bookmarklet to good use - thanks!

    Also, you should take a look at your RSS feed link, the href has an extra "http//" making it invalid.

  4. Thanks for pointing that out micah. It's fixed now. Appreciate it.

    I'm glad many people are finding this tip useful.

  5. what the####
    u guys nvr heard of drag resize-- jus pull the right most corner of firefox to give ur window wtevr size u want--this javascript bit is plain stupid

  6. Hi Sagar,

    It's much easier to use a little bit of javascript which takes one click rather than dragging something/moving the window/dragging something more. This is especially yucky if you have a big 30" monitor.

    HOWEVER, if you're using the new FireFox 3.0, you don't even need to drag/use javascript. The maximize button will maximize the screen to the limit.

  7. holy cow! sagar called this javascript "stupid", while it takes sagar's complex multiple drag actions that are at opposite corners of the screen and reduces them to a single-click. i'd call that "brilliant"! and i have to say that sagar's comments are a bit ... well ... ok, i don't think i _have_ to say it.

    anyway, i found the javascript useful for a separate reason. i don't like firefox taking up all of my screen real estate, but it would seem that firefox gets into a mode whereby every new window that is open end up fullscreen, whether i want it to or not.

    by creating a bookmark with the name "=" and placing it at the far left of my bookmarks bar, and then sticking in the javascript "javascript:self.resizeTo(1060,760)", i then get that size window anytime i want by clicking my "=" bookmark.

    many thanks!

  8. The Firesizer add-on lets you choose some standard reset sizes and save custom sizes as well. It's good for developers who want to get a quick look at what a page looks like at different sizes.

  9. Aany way to make it completely fullscreen, without all the buttons and toolbars? Something like the preview fullscreen mode.

  10. Hi Kopo,

    Nope, unfortunately there is no way for now to make the application completely fullscreen like in Windows or in Preview.

    Hope this helps!

  11. Thank you very much for the fullscreen javascript. Totally helpful.

  12. I'm running Firefox on an old version of Solaris. Sometimes, for no reason that I can notice, the window suddenly fills the whole screen and hides the movement bar. When this happens I can't do anything else unless I close the whole browser. I used your trick in reverse to get my window back. Good form.

  13. This is a very elegant solution. Very clearly explained, as well.

  14. To rudolf,

    I agree wholeheartedly that OSX has it's issues. I am not a recent "switcher" nor am I a die-hard 'MacBoy' - I am a die hard computer user, senior admin, blah blah blah.

    Anyway, I have to strongly disagree with your statement "Leopard is as flawed as Vista, if not more"

    What?!?!!?? Ok, Leopard was flawed but we're at 10.5.5 now and it is rock solid, dude. Vista is HORRIBLE (i run the 64 edition for my living room/media center PC)

    Leopard was troublesome because a lot of the common apps used for Macs were not ready/compatible - that's old new now. And, there are TONS of free apps for the Mac - not nearly as much for PC, I totally agree. But in short, I feel that the only thing lacking for OS X is gaming support.

    Other than that, it blows any other OS outta the water - simplicity, ease of use and stability. Yes, Leopard was one of Apple's worst OS rollouts in 5 or more years. But dude....

    Windows 98 - ooops, here's Windows 98 SECOND Edition

    Then, windows Me - HAHAHAHA!

    Win2K - fantastic

    WinXP - people forget - even though XP is Microsoft's best OS to date, it had it's problems. Took them a year (service pack 1, oh no, sorry, here's service pack 1a) to fix them.

    Leopard became stable within months.

    I would assume Vista 32 bit is a bit more predictabe (and therefore more stable) than the 64-bit Vista I am running, but it is STILL bad bad bad

    It's bloated, it has "new" features and "concepts" that have existed on a Mac for years and it still crashes.

    Recently, my machine was running just fine for 2 months. Then, all of a sudden, 2 blue screens. So random. It's been fine since, but the thing is - no new drivers. no new software. no firewall software or vpn software that installs drivers, etc (drivers are a huge prob on vista 64b)

    Not only that, it is such a hog. superfetch is joke.

    i dunno man, i am rambling but i think OS X is far, far ahead of Windows in many many ways - enterprise support and gaming is what is lacking.

    but, beauty, simplicity and stability is second to none.

    Apple needs to work on it's directory (LDAP) integration with other OSes and it needs both gaming support and financial/office productivity software/suites that don't suck.

    If they had that, they would be the leaders today.


  15. Hi Anonymous,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It seems to me like you should start you're own blog instead of hijacking my comment thread like that :P (ok! j/k!)

    The biggest problem that Microsoft has to face is of course, compatibility. There are a million different options that Vista has to support. Do you think Apple has the same problem? Nope, there are only a certain number of KNOWN configurations that they have to worry about. Naturally, it's safe to say that it's harder for Microsoft to even make the OS work than to put features in it.

    At the same time, their biggest problem is also their biggest strong point. Because the operating system works on almost any computer out there (albeit it won't work perfectly on any computer) making it support every single computer out there is very hard. That's the main reason in my opinion causes problems for Vista, especially in the 64bit area.

    Nonetheless, looking at a company's history isn't really fair. I mean yes, Windows ME = uberfail (let's just hope Apple's isn't going to face the same fate), but Apple has done some pretty questionable things to. The one button mouse was probably the biggest downfall. I mean, yes, it looks pretty and it 'works', but the PEOPLE don't want it because pressing Ctrl+Clicking is harder than just pressing the other side of the mouse. This was mainly because Apple didn't anticipate the heavy use of right click... The same happened to Apple Newton ( it was too early before it time, and therefore was a failure. Plus, the dashboard was like a complete rip off of konfabulator, and CoverFlow wasn't even their idea.

    Nonetheless, each company and operating system has their problems. While many might argue that "maximize" makes Vista better, and "Expose" makes "Flip-3d" look like a joke. I feel that the real distinction between the operating system is between the users. What they do and the way they work makes one operating system better for them than the other.

    Finally, I'd like to add -- choice is good ;)

  16. There is a handy plug-in that maximises the window and hides toolbars, etc. You just click on an icon in the status bar to activate it.

  17. Palle_2: "This extension does not work on Mac".

  18. I found this: but that's just another app that make the whole stuff fullsreen if it's supported


    ARE YOU EEFING KIDDING ME? Steve Jobs doesn't even require a key for leopard installs! You can just download it off the internet. As long as you have a mac you can update it. Have you ever been to Theres ****LOADS of free software as well as the wonderful ability to run thousands and I mean thousands of unix freeware apps. Jeezsus. What bull.

  20. Forget this fussiness. I couldnt get it to work anyway... but I found a great easy to use app that make it TOTALLY FULL SCREEN

    Try this

  21. Nice find Art News! I really like that idea of PlainView. It makes for awesome presentations and so on..

    But I guess the only downside is that it's simply a browser... it doesn't have the full fledged features that can be found in Firefox... it even can't remember my passwords...

    I guess there must be some way of making plainview use the firefox engine instead of using the cocoa framework...

    Nevertheless... great find! Thanks for sharing!

  22. I open a new window with no tabs; close the status bar in the 'view' menu; click the green button on the top left; click the oblong button on the top right, but there is still the firefox bar (application bar really) and the top bar for firefox window. I wish apple would make that top bar slide to the corner with just the  apple logo to click to bring it back

  23. I'm also new to Macs (just wanted the 17in screen in the lightest possible laptop). But what about the button at the top right of all the windows (no idea what it is called)? That at least removes the navigation and bookmark toolbars, leaving only the window header and tab bar. Better than nothing.

  24. I found a way to have firefox in full screen except just one bar, the one with the "close" buttons and such:



  25. Tanx alot. I just switched to Mac from PC and this missing feature allmost made me sell it again and switch back :-)

  26. except you can already do this, just resize it yourself, this isn't anything new, it just automates it

  27. Hi Chris,

    Yeah, now you don't even have to resize it yourself. Just clicking the green maximize button will do. I guess the hack is kinda useless now, but I'm pretty sure it'll still help web developers (especially those with huge cinema displays) to test their websites out in different browser sizes.



  29. Firefox v3.6 supports full-screen on Mac.

  30. Cmd+Shift+F, in case anyone was curious.

  31. ..doesn't work for me... :(

  32. forget about macos, it's for novice and it really sucks for professionals

  33. So basically, for web-browsing, PC wins...

  34. Hi there,

    I love that pc vs mac commercial is so funny.
    Great post btw, thank you for sharing this info with us.

    5 stars for the article.


  35. Hi,

    Try adding this basic javascript to the bookmark instead:,'','fullscreen=yes,scrollbars=auto');

    It will open a new window that is (nearly) fullscreen.

  36. Or you could press the little plus symbol in the upper left hand corner of the application window...

  37. OK, I don't want to be rude or anything but... what is all this??? If you want to go fullscreen you only have to press shift-cmd-F, and if you want a button to do that, is view > toolbars > customize... you put the fullscreen button anywhere and presto!

    am I the only one who has this amaaazing feature in Firefox?

  38. @ Anonymous, this article was written two years ago when pressing the maximize button did not maximize Firefox to its biggest possible dimensions, and the Shift-Cmd-F shortcut did not exist.

  39. Nevertheless, I've updated the article to reflect the changes in newer versions of Firefox, thanks for the tip!

  40. just get this plugin

  41. You can't maximise Firefox using the maximise button that works with every other application written for mac? That's just stupid. That's what the maximise button is for. Duh! The point is that it should be a no brainer - maximise button = maximise. You should not have to search through forums to find out how to maximise any application let alone a really mainstream one like Firefox. WTF are they thinking?

  42. Shift + Command + F

  43. very good indeed "command key + shift key + f" to view full screen in firefox and safari
    how to configure

  44. You can also set full screen as default in firefox by exiting firefox when in full screen too.

  45. Okay, so once I put this java script into a bookmark and use it, how do I get it back to normal? My firefox screen always opens up in this mode now.