Firefox + Mac Help
March 2, 2007 10:24 PM   Subscribe

MacBook Pro/Firefox: Just got a shiny new MacBook Pro. Downloaded Firefox...font is WAY too small. Why isn't it like this on my desktop or my girlfriends PC?

I did the content menu/increase font option. But find that it only works on some web pages, not all (i.e. I have to squint to read metafilter).

Also, the menu bar font is really tiny as well.

Why is this happening and what can I do to fix it?

Any suggestions/fixes would be great.

Added diffculty: Not all that familiar with html, css, or any other such codes.
posted by ryecatcher to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I am having the same problem, ryecatcher. I just bought my first Mac (a MacBook) and everything is so tiny. I know that you can push Apple + to make the size of the font larger on websites. But how do you make everything bigger, including menus, the little "x" to close a tab, etc.

And why don't websites automatically stretch all the way across a screen? I have a flat panel monitor on my PC that is just as wide as the screen on my MacBook (although the PC screen is a square, not widescreen) and websites--like for example--stretch all the way across the screen on the flat panel. On my Mac, if I push Apple + to make the text larger, the actual width of the website won't increase. So I have like 2-4 inches of white space in a window. So annoying. Thanks for posting your question.
posted by HotPatatta at 10:45 PM on March 2, 2007

The Macbook Pro is designed to accommodate professional users who require a lot of screen real estate for their applications. Think graphic designers, video editors, etc.

The LCD panels in the most recent generation MacBook Pros are thus fairly high resolution (which corresponds to the "tiny fonts" that you're seeing.) The screen is locked to one "native" resolution; you may be able to lower the display resolution in Control Panel, but everything will look fuzzy. There's no good way to fix this, really.

For what it's worth, MacBooks (as opposed to MacBook Pros) which are more consumer-oriented, have lower-resolution displays; everything on the screen looks "bigger" on such a display. You could always flip your new MacBook Pro on eBay (or even return it if it's still returnable) and get a MacBook in its stead.
posted by killdevil at 11:00 PM on March 2, 2007

I wouldn't trade out just yet. The next version of OS X is going to have resolution independence to fix this very problem (scroll down to resolution independence) :

Most people think Leopard will be released sometime this month.
posted by ill3 at 11:21 PM on March 2, 2007

from the menu: view - text size - increase (at least that is how it works in the windows version) and this worked in Metafilter for me.
posted by caddis at 12:56 AM on March 3, 2007

Clarification: the menu font is only too small in FireFox, but it's fine in other applications/the operating system generally?
posted by AmbroseChapel at 1:22 AM on March 3, 2007

Other temporary solution for viewing Metafilter: Go to Preferences (up at the top of this page) and change the font size to something like 18 or 20.
posted by Ike_Arumba at 4:12 AM on March 3, 2007

ill3 has it. Leopard will let you size the menus and GUI components to match your needs.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:01 AM on March 3, 2007

In Firefox preferences you can set a minimum font size. I have mine set on 11 px for the same reason. In professional apps I like the fonts small but I like to give my eyes a rest when I am browsing!


Firefox > Preferences > Content > Advanced.
posted by miss tea at 6:33 AM on March 3, 2007

i don't have an answer but some of you are missing the point -- the font in the *application* is too small as well, which is odd.
posted by o2b at 7:04 AM on March 3, 2007

Would ryecatcher post a screen shot of the Firefox window next to a Safari window please?

I'm wondering if they perhaps installed a different Firefox theme?
posted by Kip at 7:20 AM on March 3, 2007

Response by poster: Let me know how to post a screenshot and I will.

Also, it's the application (all applications)where the font is appearing to small.

But it's really only when browsing that it bothers me...

Miss Tea -- I tried your option but size didn't seem to work, only choice of font.

Anyone else have any other ideas? (I'm guessing the Leopard answer might win this thread).
posted by ryecatcher at 8:42 AM on March 3, 2007

Response by poster: A bonus question:

Although Safari seems to have the same problem, is it worth downloading Opera, Camino, etc. to see if that changes things? Or is this just an across the board annoyance?
posted by ryecatcher at 9:49 AM on March 3, 2007


To take a picture, hold down apple-shift-3. If your sound is turned on, you will hear a click and your desktop should have a photo on it called Picture 1.png. Post that.

Killdevil is right. You'll want to:
Go to the Apple menu
Select System Preferences
Click "Displays".
Try clicking another resolution like 800x600.

The screen will refresh and you'll see a new resolution. 800x600 will probably not work for you either, but you should find a happy medium.

And Leopard isn't coming out this month.
posted by jragon at 11:06 AM on March 3, 2007

What I've most recently heard is that Leopard is definitely not ready yet, and won't be for some time.
posted by Malor at 12:05 PM on March 3, 2007

If you're willing to download the Apple Developer Tools (free but requires registration), they include an application called Quartz Debug that, among other things, lets you set the User Interface Resolution just like Leopard will for ordinary users. Well, not just like: First, any magnification level that's not a 1/4 step (i.e. 1.25x, 1.5x, etc.) leaves ugly black lines everywhere. Second, it doesn't persist accross restarts. And finally, there's no application support for it in Tiger, so it makes most apps just look blurry.

Also, in FireFox, in the 'about:config' section (instructions here), there's a pref called 'layout.css.dpi' (info here) that if you set to a fairly high number, like say 110 or 120, will zoom many webpages to a more readable size.

OTOH, you might just want to get a pair of light reading glasses, and not have to worry about it any more.
posted by boaz at 2:10 PM on March 3, 2007

Also, it's the application (all applications)where the font is appearing to small.

Sounds like you are indeed being stymied by the higher resolution mentioned by killdevil. See if you prefer the results you get by doing this:

Go to System Preferences. (You can get there from the Apple menu.)

Choose Displays.

You'll see a list of resolutions, things like "1024 x 768". The one with the highest numbers will be highlighted. Try clicking on the next highest, instead. Do you like the results?
posted by redfoxtail at 9:28 PM on March 3, 2007

Response by poster: No, way too blurry. But thanks.

posted by ryecatcher at 12:06 AM on March 4, 2007

Use apple +/- until Leopard comes out which is apparently not soon.
posted by ill3 at 12:42 AM on March 4, 2007

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