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Firefox display changed, zoomed in on websites

  • 98 replies
  • 149 have this problem
  • 2096 views
  • Last reply by paul8887

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My Firefox on a windows 7 HP laptop updated today (June 25th) and the zoom adjusted, changing the font size, as well as icons and zoomed in on websites. I noticed in the list of changes for the program it says "improved rendering on high-res displays" is this the problem and is there anyway I can disable this? I was quite happy with the resolution before, and find this tacky and annoying...

Chosen solution

This post has been revised to include information about an add-on. A copy of the original post appears below the horizontal line.

Firefox now adjusts the page zoom level according to your Windows settings, to better support high DPI displays. For example, if Windows is set to 125% font size (120dpi), the content area will be zoomed by 25% compared with Firefox 21 and earlier.

The straightest line back toward the earlier style of display is the following two step approach:

Step 1: Install the Theme Font & Size Changer extension. Why? Because turning off the scaling affects the chrome area (menus, toolbars, and tabs) as well as the content.

After restarting Firefox, click the new "A" icon at the right end of the navigation toolbar and change the font size from Normal to 15.

Step 2: Change your global scaling in the about:config preferences editor.

(1) In a new tab, type or paste about:config in the address bar and press Enter. Click the button promising to be careful.

(2) In the filter box, type or paste pix and pause while the list is filtered

(3) Double-click layout.css.devPixelsPerPx and change its value to 1.0 for Firefox 21-sized fonts in the content area.

This should take effect immediately without another restart.


Original Post

Firefox now tries to adjust the zoom level according to your Windows settings, as well as better supporting high DPI displays. It's not going to be to everyone's liking.

I still have Fx21 on this computer so I can't test it myself, but could you check the following setting and try adjusting it:

(1) In a new tab, type or paste about:config in the address bar and press Enter. Click the button promising to be careful.

(2) In the filter box, type or paste pix and pause while the list is filtered

(3) Double-click layout.css.devPixelsPerPx and change its value to 1.0 to restore the appearance from earlier versions of Firefox for smaller fonts, or a larger ratio for larger fonts. For example, 1.25 corresponds to 125% font size in Windows display settings.

Does that help?

More info in this thread: How do I set the default font size to a lower value?

Read this answer in context 👍 25

All Replies (18)

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Hi bewley, thank you for that example. Obviously your Firefox is not rendering that page correctly. But I'm not sure why.

When I view it, the text on that page matches across the page as I zoom up and down (Ctrl+, Ctrl-). I tried reload (Ctrl+r) and a reload bypassing cache (Ctrl+Shift+r) between resizes and could not replicate your image.

I took a closer look and all of the content other than the login box actually comes from a different domain (hm.msn.com) so it seems your Firefox is not applying consistent sizing across the various frames in the page. I'm not sure what could cause that.

If you are using NoSquint or Default FullZoom Level, perhaps this is a bug in the extension? I'll try to test that theory later.

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This is a serious problem for developers.

I couldn't care less about how it looks to me. I know how to zoom in and out.

My problem is that Firefox has set the default zoom to 25%-50% more zoomed in than default.

I have a several hundred page website that I built and have been improving over the past few months. It is responsive and is already designed for large screens, primarily for 1920x1080, but with layout responsiveness planned all the way up to 2560 wide.

This modification to Mozilla's default performance means that all of the content gets zoomed in and the layout for almost every page is completely screwed up.

The worst thing is that even Ctrl-0 doesn't help since this resets it to Default, not 100%.

So that means that people have to play around with the zoom level to get a normal viewing experience. And if they don't know what's going on, they have to go search the forums on Mozilla.org??

I don't bloody well think so.

I am now going to create a NO Mozilla icon and I'm going to have to put the damned thing on every page.

Two clear strikes against moz. #1 - no anti-aliasing. Heck, mobile phones have no problem anti-aliasing png files with on-the fly resizing, but Moz still loves the jaggy lines and #2 - ridiculous zoom scheme that requires A PLUGIN just to get normal function???

Give me a break guys.

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Hi eschelar, is the site online? I'd like to see it.

As long as you're putting up a No Mozilla icon, maybe you can link it to this article: Webpages are large and blurry after updating Firefox - how to fix.

Or, since other browsers also seems to be heading in the direction of high DPI scaling, you might consider employing some media queries to set your base font size.

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...and, it doesn't work JSCHER200. Sorry, but it doesn't. Works some places, not others, no combination makes it look right everywhere. Myself and many others in this thread have tried. No, we're not holding our phones wrong.

You're also not listening to anyone in this thread. IT SHOULDN'T BE THIS HARD. Users shouldn't have to find an obscure web page on a support site and go through an 8-step process that requires administrative privs because a plug-in is involved JUST TO MAKE IT LOOK LIKE IT DID.

Here's an idea - stand back - it's radical: How about just making all of the HiDPI stuff OPTIONAL and turned OFF by default? That way the end user doesn't see anything different after the upgrade - and the folks who actually care about HiDPI can find it in a configuration menu...

I know...call me crazy...call me a radical for wanting seamless updates from the user's perspective...but hey, I'm just puttin' it out there...

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Jscher - no offense guy, but absolutely, positively, categorically NO.

My website is for bicycles. 99% of our viewers have NO interest in playing around with technology. The only software updates these guys usually do is buying a new computer and using whatever comes on it for free.

Heck, even figuring out how to enable the Menu in Firefox is light years beyond the technological ability of them.

I put a huge amount of effort into writing dozens, if not hundreds of special code exceptions for full Mozilla compatibility. But now that the only way for the site to be viewed properly is to instruct the users to use some plugins that *might* work, I'm going to instruct the users a far simpler method.

Install Chrome.

3 clicks and you're done. They don't even need to uninstall mozilla, just ignore it.

It's going to be far less work for me to put a little popup for moz users than it is to convince them to play around with plugins.

I know that mozilla comes from a Linux background where the purpose of the OS is to take as much of your time as possible, but that's also why Linux isn't really considered a mainstream or common OS choice. Fortunately, Linux distros are appearing with less and less hassle, but this is a step in the WRONG direction for moz.

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Also, which other browsers are 'heading in this direction'?

Chrome still displays things at default, IE8, ie9, IE10 etc, all default at 100%.

I'm really upset because of all the hours I put into making sure all the dozens of different layouts played nicely in both primary iterations of IE as well as moz, safari and chrome and I took a huge amount of flak for the delays this caused because my boss couldn't understand the reasoning behind cross-browser compatibility.

My goal was always to get 99% similarity in Chr/Moz and 90% to older ie8.

This means that time spent making 99% similarity in moz was a total waste of time and Moz looks sloppier than IE8.

How embarrassing is that?

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Hi eschelar, I'm sorry that Fx22 comes at a bad time for your site.

Personally I think your users should learn how to use the zoom feature to size sites for their vision and hardware, and you could help them with that, but you will do what you will do.

Upcoming HighDPI browsers:

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Hi davidharpe, what settings and/or add-ons did you adopt and which sites still look wrong?

Please understand that this is the support forum, and the volunteers here don't write the software. User advocates read your suggestions here, and you can submit feedback directly using Help > Submit Feedback.

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The biggest problem here jscher is that mozilla has changed the default behavior of its browser in a way that makes it confuse responsive sites.

The issue of high PPI screens isn't even directly related to this since I am using the same monitor that I have been using for years. It is a 24" 1920x1080. It's not even a high PPI screen, so why is it affected?

Our site renders correctly on large screens like this, as well as smaller 1366x768 screens as well as on mobile devices like the iPhone, HTC One X, Samsung Galaxy SIII. In every browser.

Except in mozilla.

What is the problem? Simply mozilla changed something on a monitor that didn't need changing. My monitor PPI didn't change.

Modern devices need simpler sites with larger, friendlier objects to use and manipulate. So we designed our new site with that in mind. But in the new default with Moz, everything bloats up and pictures that are meant to remain static or with a certain max-width while the text scales fluidly end up with weird sizes, narrow sections of text, huge areas of deadspace....

Just leave the damned thing to default to 100%. If someone has a problem seeing something, let them zoom in a bit. Or enable 'bloaty mode'. But to ruin the look and feel of every site Moz views by default even for people who are not experiencing any problem with current default behavior is insane.

Android browser and Chrome for Android both have high PPI countermeasures that enable users to view content 'normally' and they still keep the same basic look and ratio.

So it's doubly bizarre that mozilla chooses to set a new default that changes the basic look and ratio.

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Hi, thank you for the fix. I updated from Firefox 13 to 22, hopefully this is the only thing they broke. Every time I update I need to get another add-on to fix all the stuff they did unnecessarily. However, this fix doesn't work completely. My bookmarks list doesn't show as many items at once as it used to (not sure if this is related or a separate change; maybe the icons are bigger?), and in the interface, hovering over some icons produces a tooltip with smaller text. Is there any way to adjust these things? I suppose I can get used to it...what I really want to do is just keep using the same browser in the way I'm comfortable with. I only upgraded because the recent mailing said the new version was all fast and efficient and stuff. I'm on Windows XP.

Modified by Bobogoobo

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Hi Bobogoobo, there are so many posts in this thread, I'm not sure which settings you have now. What do you have for layout.css.devPixelsPerPx and which add-ons / which settings for those add-ons?

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I used the main answer, font size 15 in Theme Font & Size Changer and 1.0 for PixelsPerPx.

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Hi Bobogoobo, with 1.0 for PixelsPerPx, icon sizes for bookmarks should not be enlarged. Is that problem on the drop-down menu, toolbar, or sidebar?

Regarding the tooltips, it sounds as though the Theme Font & Size Changer doesn't cover those. (Yet--maybe it will be updated?) You can create a style rule to enlarge them, either in a new file named userChrome.css or in the Stylish extension. The add-on is a bit easier if you don't have add-on fatigue now.

The rule to enlarge the tooltips by, say, 25% is:

.tooltip-label {font-size:125% !important;}

If you are creating a new blank Stylish rule or a new userChrome.css file, you would preface that with the XUL namespace, which refers to the interface area:

@namespace url(http://www.mozilla.org/keymaster/gatekeeper/there.is.only.xul);
.tooltip-label {font-size:125% !important;}

Due to press of business, I'm not putting all the steps for this here in this post. You can check the following:

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The drop-down menu, at least; I don't use the sidebar and I can't tell if the bookmarks toolbar is taking more space. (Or maybe I'm imagining the whole thing...that's always possible :P.)

I figured it out...the chosen answer to this question specifies 15pt for the font and size add-on, but changing it to 14pt makes everything look much better and more comfortable. I'm pretty sure 14pt is (rather, was) the default anyway.

That CSS didn't quite work; it's not specific enough. The only things that seem to be problematic are a few icons, such as the reload button and download button. Other icons (Web of Trust, which I put next to the reload button, for example) have tooltips at regular size, and others such as the back/forward buttons now have large text with that CSS. But it's not really worth the time to figure out. (I'm not sure how to look at interface source anyway.)

Modified by Bobogoobo

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Now we find out why the Moz dev hasn't rolled this counterproductive update back.

They made so many stupid changes, they can't even remember all of them.

There's a real quick fix.

google "chrome download"

Normal sized fonts? Sweet! Normal sized images? Great! Anti-aliased png's? Grand.

My dad always used to try to get me into Linux and I always used to boggle at the hours... days he used to spend playing around with new kernels, experimenting with Wine, installing ridiculous numbers of web browsers (Opera, Seamonkey, Konqueror..........). The one thing he never really understood: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

So he would 'fix' a problem that wasn't broken, then spend the next days or weeks trying to get it back to where it was in the beginning. And he used to tell me that I was wasting time playing games...

Seems like Mozilla suffers from the same problem.

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Well, I have read all the back and forth carefully, and this is clearly going nowhere. I did some of the tinkering, but there were still issues. My fix was to revert to v21, and I am still there. I really was drawn to the Firefox, and Netscape before that, because of its reputation, it was not cluttered, it was fast, and was not inextricably part of MS.

If it won't go, chrome it, as they used to say in the old days. I don't really want to, but once v21 begins to cause problems, then that will be the case.

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Eschelar says it for me. I tediously registered here just to say that.

Which shows how maddening I find the "clever" idea someone had to make FireFox useless as a benchmark, and just for those who don't know how to zoom - the same crowd, coincidentally, who don't know what a "browser" is even when using one.

I've always found dumbing-down software makes it harder to use, making decisions for you that are usually if not always wrong.

I also spend inordinate time on website look & feel, and now FireFox undoes years of work spent carefully balancing look and feel in the 3 browsers.

It wasn't broke, now it is. And I'll be perusing web stats to see if FireFox numbers justify caring.

Modified by phillwv

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Late to the party here, but I strongly agree with those criticizing this STUPID decision on the part of FF developers.

Surely they can restore the functionality of v21. Why haven't they? I was hoping that they would address it in v23, but they haven't.

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