Search Support

Avoid support scams. We will never ask you to call or text a phone number or share personal information. Please report suspicious activity using the “Report Abuse” option.

Learn More

Printer using system dialog box

  • 37 replies
  • 11 have this problem
  • 4266 views
  • Last reply by chris.com

more options

Apparently Mozilla did an update and not it defaults to it's own printer dialog box. I hate it. There is a link to use the system print dialog box but it only works for that specific print job. I can't find a setting to force Firefox to always use the system printer dialog box. Anyone know how to fix this? It's enough to make me stop using the browser becasue thr Firefox dialog box sucks.

Chosen solution

Currently there is a preference to switch back to the old style:

(1) In a new tab, type or paste about:config in the address bar and press Enter/Return. Click the button accepting the risk.

(2) In the search box in the page, type or paste tab_mo and pause while the list is filtered

(3) Double-click the print.tab_modal.enabled preference to switch between the new experience (true) and the classic experience (false)

(4) If there is another preference named app.normandy.startupRolloutPrefs.print.tab_modal.enabled you can double-click that one to switch it to false as well. If you do not have that one, no need to create it.

Since you are setting to false, it will look roughly like this:

Read this answer in context 👍 6

All Replies (18)

more options

Garry said

I'm repeating myself, but don't want my comment buried and forgotten. I'm hesitant to mess with config. Mozilla needs to fix this with a simple switch in options.

Hi Garry, there are still bugs to resolve with the new design, but the plan is to do away with the old option. I think it's very unlikely that something temporary will be added to the Options/Preference page.

more options

Are you saying that the plan is to eliminate access to the standard Windows print option, and force Firefox users to the inadequate new print popup window?

more options

That seems to be what jscher2000 is saying. What I was trying to say is that the regular print dialog is very much better that the Foxfire one; and that Foxfire needs a simple switch (not messing with config) in options to allow a user to select which one they prefer.

more options

RJAR said

Are you saying that the plan is to eliminate access to the standard Windows print option, and force Firefox users to the inadequate new print popup window?

Yes, once a new feature is complete, the old one usually is discontinued. What issues are you encountering with the new overlay? Or is the problem the extra click to call up the system dialog?

more options

Garry said

What I was trying to say is that the regular print dialog is very much better that the Foxfire one; and that Foxfire needs a simple switch (not messing with config) in options to allow a user to select which one they prefer.

What don't you like about the new print overlay? What's missing or causing problems?

more options

It doesn't have the flexibility or all the options. Let me reverse your question: What's wrong with the standard Windows print dialog box that Mozilla/Firefox thinks it has to change it? Why does Firefox have to be different than every other program?

more options

RJAR said

It doesn't have the flexibility or all the options.

What kind of flexibility? If you need to set printer preferences, then you need to use the system dialog.

It doesn't have the flexibility or all the options. Let me reverse your question: What's wrong with the standard Windows print dialog box that Mozilla/Firefox thinks it has to change it? Why does Firefox have to be different than every other program?

Other programs vary. Microsoft Office applications use an overlay-style print dialog like the new Firefox display, and other modern web browsers do as well. Acrobat has a custom print dialog with a tiny preview image. Windows Paint still follows the separate preview/setup/print model.

more options

For one, it doesn't have 'print selection'. Also, it takes 2 clicks to print selected pages.

more options

Agree with Garry, and would add current page to the list of omissions. As long as there is a config option to eliminate this "improvement," I guess I can live with it

more options

Garry said

For one, it doesn't have 'print selection'.

It's in a strange place. Instead of being under Pages, it's under Options in the More Settings section:


Edit: Actually, it's faster to right-click the select text and choose Print Selection. You get the correct preview (well, the preview of what Firefox thinks you selected) immediately that way.


Also, it takes 2 clicks to print selected pages.

Two clicks on the Print button? Hmm, I wonder what is going on there.

RJAR said

Agree with Garry, and would add current page to the list of omissions.

It would be nice to have Current Page but since web pages are continuous, I'm not sure how that would be determined. Maybe the page shown in the preview panel (if there are multiple pages, the one that has more showing??). I don't know whether anyone has filed a proposal for this.

Modified by jscher2000

more options

It's only 1 click on the system print page, what 2,3,4 clicks on Foxfire's?

As for print selection, 1 click on system print, 2 clicks on Foxfire's.

I know which I prefer.

more options

Thanks for this answer! I like to use the system default printing dialog too, because I often use different printer settings such as quality preferences or stapling etc. I just find the printer driver dialogs to have more options and since they are specific to the printer model and driver, easier to select exactly what and how I want to print.

more options

Thank you.

I haven't followed this for 6-7 weeks. It seemed I was just (figuratively) banging my head on the wall. I never saw any indication that anyone from Mozilla was paying any attention.

I saw something that they were coming out with a new/updated version, but I didn't see what 'improvements' would be included. Anyone have any idea?

more options

Hi Garry, Firefox 89 is a UI overhaul, I don't think anything has changed with printing.

https://blog.mozilla.org/en/products/firefox/new-firefox-coming-june-1/

more options

THANK YOU!!!!

THIS WAS A HORRIBLE STUPID IDEA AND I ALMOST QUIT FIREFOX AS WELL.

Thanks again, why do they make "improvements" that make the experience worse? I'll never understand that.

No wonder Firefox is dying, but still my favorite.

more options

Wouldn't it be wonderful if someone at Mozilla would at least acknowledge they have seen this discussion!

more options

Hi Garry, the code for the old print experience will probably be deleted once the new one has been completed. With that in mind, I do not expect the current preference to be added to the Options/Preferences/Settings page.

If you think there needs to be a **new** preference for system dialog vs. built-in experience after the old print experience is removed, you could file a new bug now:

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/

Here's a tip for better service: explain why users might find the system dialog more convenient for their needs, but don't rant to the developers about how terrible their work is.

more options

I am not an expert on this, so please correct me if I'm wrong...

The printer dialog box is traditionally something that's generated by the host operating system, yes? If that's generally true, it means that the printer dialog has consistency across all applications. From a user-interface perspective, this is very advantageous. It means that no matter what application I'm printing from, I can expect a consistent set of options, all placed on the screen in a predicable way. That's a really good thing.

Some applications, Photoshop for example, have their own printer dialog boxes because they have certain features that are a necessary part of the print workflow that would never get presented to the user if it weren't for their custom print dialog. However, within this dialog, the user is still able to invoke the standard operating system print dialog by clicking the "Print Settings" button. This can be a bit confusing especially since you're able to change certain print setting (like the number of copies) in both Photoshop's dialog AND the OS's dialog. At least when you change one of those settings that appear in both, it changes it in both. Overall, I'm not a fan of this user experience, but I acknowledge that Photoshop has a multitude settings that it needs to present in a dialog box probably can't be put into the OS's dialog box. So, I think they've done the best they can trying to make the two sets of setting co-exist.

With Firefox, on the other hand, this isn't so obviously the case. I suppose that, when printing from a browser, there are some settings that could be unique to that situation that should be presented to the user. But what are they? Do they truly justify reinventing the entire print dialog box and completely removing the ability for the user to access the OS's dialog box? If there's a case for this, it would behoove Mozilla to make this clear to the user.

What if every application reinvented the wheel with its printer dialog? Do the Mozilla developers believe that having a print dialog that's designed completely differently from application to application provides a better experience to the user? I think that's part of what has folks upset. It may seem to them that Mozilla is putting its own interests ahead of the user's overall user interface experience. If that's the case, (and it may be,) I would argue that the resentment is justified.

I think a better approach would be to follow Adobe's lead. Go ahead and make a print dialog that has the specific print settings that can't be added to a system dialog box but at least give the user the ability to invoke the OS's dialog as part of that process.

And, at the very least, don't roll out a half-baked dialog box with bugs and weird unexpected behavior that either can't be mitigated or can only be mitigated by editing about:config. Unfortunately, Mozilla has a long history of forcing inferior UI down its users' throats. Proton is yet another example of this. I grateful that I can turn it off for now, but I'm certain Mozilla will remove this option too at some point. That one will be the deal breaker for me because Proton is just horrendous in my opinion. It is a mystery to me why an organization that expends so much energy and money marketing itself in an attempt to get new users, regularly anger its existing users to the point where they want to bail. This article is nice explainer: https://www.inc.com/karl-and-bill/its-cheaper-to-keep-em.html

Thanks for reading this.

  1. 1
  2. 2