Fix For Firefox 11 Showing Pictures At Center Of Dark Grey Background

I reviewed the new features in Firefox 11 before it was released but they slipped in one additional ‘fix’ – and it’s been bugging the life out of me ever since.

Specifically, Firefox 11 displays top-level pictures at the center of the screen with a very dark grey background…

As an example, in Firefox 10 and earlier, if you right clicked an image and selected ‘view image’ the picture would be displayed on a white (default) background and was aligned to the top left of the screen – just like Chrome, IE and other browsers.

This also works fine for transparent images (that rely on a white background) such as this Christmas one:


Picture viewed in Firefox 10 And Earlier

However, Firefox 11 displays pictures at the center of the screen on a dark grey background. Apart from looking awful this can render transparent images almost invisible and is a huge step backwards for contrast-impaired people.

The picture below is exactly the same picture in Firefox 11 – both are actual screenshots!


Same picture viewed in Firefox 11

Personally I hate this new style introduced in Firefox 11 and forums are swamped with unhappy users because there is no menu option to change the background color and the center alignment back to how they used to be.

How To Fix Images Displayed At Center Of Screen With Dark Grey Background

As there are no settings in the menu options or about:config (advanced configuration options) to change the background color and alignment, you must either mess about with CSS coding of individual style sheets or just use an add-on.

I like the easy and configurable option so prefer to use the aptly named ‘Old Default Image Style’ addon:

Old Default Image Style Add-on

This addon restores the default image style used for top-level images in all previous versions of Firefox – aligned to top left on a white background by default. It is available from Mozilla addons here and does not require a restart of Firefox.

As soon as the addon is installed, images are displayed exactly as they used to :-)

There are also options for setting a custom background color and for re-centering the image, so if you prefer some combination of the above or a different background color, you can set that too:

Addon Options

To amend options, click on Tools \ Addons in the menu bar then select the Extensions tab. To the right of the Old Default Image Style addon select Options to amend the following:

  • Automatic updates – Default (or On/Off)
  • Remove default stylesheet – ticked by default. This restores the old background/positioning of images – unticking it brings back the FF11 centered/dark screen
  • Custom background color – only set if required (the default is white)
  • Center image – tick if you want images to be centered. This is useful if you want to combine old and new features e.g. center images but on a white background


The new Firefox 11 image style is flawed – it looks poor, does not match standard browser behavior and does not work for transparent images. It is also bad for accessibility as some users really need the ability to change the background color and the new style prevents this.

‘Old Default Image Style’ is an excellent addon that instantly returns Firefox image display back to how it was – and adds easy options to change it back again or just center images if you prefer.

24 Responses to: "Fix For Firefox 11 Showing Pictures At Center Of Dark Grey Background"

  1. bill says:

    Wow, thank you for this add-on info. I design images for the web, and always need to preview them. This change was about the worst change they could’ve made for previewing images.

  2. SueB says:

    Thanks so much for the link. the add-on works like a charm.

    Dont know what firefox were thinking of, it looked so ugly with a black background. i might keep the pictures in the center of the screen for a while though to see if i get used to it

  3. gandalf says:

    spent the last week thinking it was a problem with my laptop until I found this! Now working as before, thanks. Why do they keep changing stuff like thids, was there anyone who actually wanted it???

  4. Luap123 says:

    Excellent work. this was bugging the cr@p out of me. I thought I’d done something to Mac.

  5. FFfan says:

    great, works fine for me – back to normal again,, thanx

  6. JP says:

    Thank you!! The new “style” was positively hideous. I’ll be spreading the word. Cheers!

  7. Paul Sinnett says:

    I mostly agree with your conclusion and I’m using the add-on myself to fix my issues with viewing transparencies. However, there are two wider problems.

    The first is contexts in which installations are frequently reverted to a master disk image (which I suspect will remove any add-ons and user customizations needed to fix this) e.g. schools, universities, libraries, Internet cafe’s, etc. I will have this problem at my own university when their master is upgraded to Firefox 11 unless the IT department include the add-on in the master disk image as well.

    The second is the behaviour and attitude of developers who implemented this change. You can see this playing out in the comments to the bug 376997. Commenters are directed to raise new bugs which are then systematically marked as DUPLICATE and WONTFIX as it is seen as “omgchange backlash” rather than addressing the issues.

    My conclusion: I don’t think this change was particularly bad or ill-considered. But it has introduced problems for some quite common use cases and it ought to be fixed in the out of the box build, not with an add-on patch. And the response to this from the developers has been antagonistic and obstructive.

    • Roy says:

      Great points.

      Universities and businesses etc using images can (probably should) use Firefox ESR (extended support release) instead of the public version. I assume this change wasn’t in the latest 10.0.3 ESR release as it’s not a security fix.

      Totally agree on the ‘ostrich’ mentality of some FF developers – the previous behavior wasn’t a bug anyway and the refusal to listen to constructive criticism or reopen the ‘closed’ fix is unreasonable. It should indeed be fixed (make it optional at least) in FF itself rather than by an addon but I doubt it ever will be – I still use Status-4-evar addon to give me a proper status bar back :-(

  8. Zoey says:

    Thank you so much! After trying with the settings and the about:confing and failing I was starting to panic a little. That new thing was REALLY bothering me to no end.

    I’d like to know where can I mess with firefox’s css, though. The most close things I know are the about:config and the userContent.css… But if that stylesheet didn’t appear, I guess it must be in other place…

    • Roy says:

      You can add a (fairly complex) style to userContent.css to try and fix it but I haven’t seen any which are able to reproduce the previous treatment of top-level images exactly – on every site.

      Whereas the add-on works perfectly and has options to configure and change the defaults… It shouldn’t require an add-on of course – the new image style should have been in FF options (or about:config at least) but until/unless Mozilla change it, the add-on is the way to go

  9. Husam says:

    Thanks for the help, it was really bugging me.

  10. Oliver says:

    Thank you very much for the link to the extension, this was killing me, this horrible fake lightbox imitation, and the death of the images with some form of transparency.

    Pity I have to install yet another extension (Chrome : mach 5. Firefox : 2 kilometers per hour.), but that will have to do.

    Thanks again :)

  11. Thom says:

    many sincere thanks …. this change was ridiculous

  12. anon says:

    Unbelievable how terrible Firefox has become. Time to finally switch to Chrome, I’m not even going to bother with this fix.

    • Roy says:

      Kind of ironic though that some people complain that recent Firefox changes are just copying Chrome whilst others complain that they don’t like the changes so will be switching to, you guessed it, Chrome ;-)

  13. ochriste says:

    you saved me from killing myself by headdesking

  14. Helvetica says:

    Many thanks for this – I had just updated my ancient Firefox because it had become slow and I thought the black background was a bug in my PC… In my particular academic field I had the same problem with my website’s images as your Xmas sleigh example image, particularly because my screen is set to darker than usual to avoid over-glare. So all I was getting were big black rectangles with vaguely brown lines in it.

    • Roy says:

      I do wonder why the developers decided to change this behavior – so many people seem to dislike it! Maybe another contributing factor as to why Chrome is pushing ahead of Firefox.

      There are more major user interface changes planned for the next 2 versions of Firefox… We’ll review when they are due

  15. JustSomeGuy says:

    Hey! Thanks! For me, the change in image behavior is easily the most annoying thing Firefox has done in recent updates. Here’s hoping they get over this constant change thing . . .