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Crazy font shrinkage with Firefox

Posted on 2016-09-08
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Last Modified: 2016-09-14
One of my users (the boss, in fact) was surprised that while using Firefox with our internal site the fonts on <select> drop-down suddenly reduced in size, see selectSmall image. Normally, the are larger, see selectNormal image. I checked this on my workstation and mine appear correct. Likewise for other workstations in the office. We are both using Windows 7, and Firefox 28.0.2. The .css for the page specifies.
select { font-size: 14pt; font-family: arial }

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Does anyone have any idea what could be wrong?
selectSmall.jpg
selectNormal.jpg
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Question by:jmarkfoley
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by:ThomasMcA2
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Looking at just that screen print, all of the fonts are smaller, not just the drop-down.

What is the zoom percentage in FF? It is usually shown in the status bar at the bottom of the FF window.

If that percentage has been reduced, just hit Ctrl and the plus key to increase it.
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by:ecarbone
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Press Control+0 (zero) to restore the view back to 100%.  (Command-0 on a Mac)

They may have accidentally pressed Control+- or had their finger on the Control key while using the scroll wheel on their mouse.
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by:Dr. Klahn
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Side note:  That version of Firefox is "mature" (current is up around 47) and should probably be replaced with a more recent version at least in the early version 30 range.  There have been numerous security problems corrected in Firefox over the last few years.

Note that versions 30 and up have a somewhat different look-and-feel from older versions.  The "Classic Theme Restorer" plug-in can help with this; and the "Zoom Page" plug-in makes it easier to deal with page scaling.  Surprisingly, on my system Firefox looks better at 80% scale.  There is considerable interaction between the default font size and the scaling, and it took a while to find a combination that looks good.
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by:jmarkfoley
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Thanks for the replies!

ThomasMcA2:
Looking at just that screen print, all of the fonts are smaller, not just the drop-down.
No, in real life the fonts are the same. The apparently difference is that the screen-capture was done on two different machines which rendered the JPGs slightly different in size. If you'll notice, the names in the drop-down go to nearly the right edge of the box in selectNormal.jpg whereas they only extend about 3/4 of the way across the box in selectSmall.jpg. I probably should have scaled both images to be the same size so as not to throw everyone off.

In any case, CTRL-0 had no effect.

Dr. Klahn:
Side note:  That version of Firefox is "mature" (current is up around 47) and should probably be replaced with a more recent version at least in the early version 30 range.  There have been numerous security problems corrected in Firefox over the last few years.
All our workstations have Firefox set to automatically update, which they do regularly. Once again, I've fat-fingered typing on a critical piece of information. Our current version is 48.0.2, not 28.0.2.
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by:ecarbone
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So you're both using the same version of Firefox.
What about the OS? Are you both using Windows? (or is one using a Mac and one is using Windows)?

If Control+zero has no effect, check the following:

1. In Firefox, enter "about:config" into the address bar. Using the Search box at the top of that page, search for "font.minimum-size" and change the value to 0.

2. Tap once on the Alt key to make the menu bar appear temporarily. Click on View > Zoom and select "Reset". Also make sure "Zoom Text Only" is not selected

3. Go to Options > Content > Fonts and see if the default font is the same on both browsers. Also compare the settings in the "Advanced" section (on that same page)
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by:jmarkfoley
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ecarbone:
Expert Comment 2016-09-09 at 10:21:42ID: 41791337
So you're both using the same version of Firefox.
What about the OS? Are you both using Windows? (or is one using a Mac and one is using Windows)?
Yes, same version of Firefox (48.0.2), both/all using Windows 7.
If Control+zero has no effect, check the following:

1. In Firefox, enter "about:config" into the address bar. Using the Search box at the top of that page, search for "font.minimum-size" and change the value to 0.
There are a bunch of "font.minumim-size.xx where 'xx' is a language suffix, e.g. .ar, .el .he. There is no .en. The only one set to non-zero is font.minimum-size.th. These settings are the same on both computers. I've not messed with anything here.
2. Tap once on the Alt key to make the menu bar appear temporarily. Click on View > Zoom and select "Reset". Also make sure "Zoom Text Only" is not selected
Did that, "Zoom Text Only" was not set.
3. Go to Options > Content > Fonts and see if the default font is the same on both browsers. Also compare the settings in the "Advanced" section (on that same page)
Default font is same on both computers: Times New Roman, 16.

I also uninstalled and reinstalled Firefox. No change.
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Dr. Klahn earned 500 total points
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I also uninstalled and reinstalled Firefox. No change.


Were the users' Firefox (hidden) individual preference folders were also deleted?
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by:jmarkfoley
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Were the users' Firefox (hidden) individual preference folders were also deleted?
I wasn't asked that when doing the uninstall, but I doubt it. It seems like favorites, etc. reappeared after I reinstalled. How would I delete hidden preferences?
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by:jmarkfoley
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I found the hidden folders in C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles and C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles. I removed Firefiox, then removed (renames, actually) those folders, reinstalled Firefox and voilla! fonts are back to normal.
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by:Tammy Coffin
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We have recently come across this same issue after one of our users upgraded to the latest version of Firefox. It seems there is a bug in the upgrade which is causing this. I tested it on my PC and uninstalling and deleting the local and roaming profiles fixes it, however the user would then loose all their history, favorites, remembered passwords etc. Is there any way of preserving this, or fixing it without loosing that information, or is there a way of finding out if Firefox plan to do a new release to fix the bug?
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by:jmarkfoley
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Yes, you can save bookmarks. I was able to. Go here to find out where your profiles are stored: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/profiles-where-firefox-stores-user-data#w_how-do-i-find-my-profile. Then here for restoring bookmarks: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/restore-bookmarks-from-backup-or-move-them. I did the manual backup.
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