Instantbird Contact List Hack

Monday, October 31, 2011
Tags: customizing, Instantbird, programming

A friend of mine asked me if there was a way to have selected contacts in the contact list NOT expand to two lines (where the status goes onto the second line) in Instantbird.

There’s actually no option to do this in Instantbird, but with a little userChrome tweak, we can easily get this behavior (although with a couple caveats). You should be able to add a new folder inside your profile called chrome. Inside of this make a new file called userChrome.css and place the following:

#buddylistbox:focus > contact[selected] {
    -moz-binding: url("chrome://instantbird/content/contact.xml#contact") !important;
    -moz-box-orient: horizontal !important;

Save the file and restart…and that’s it! Now your selected contacts should be on one line, just like your unselected contacts.

I did mention there was a caveat though! If you want to expand a contact (to see all the protocols, etc. that you’ve merged together) you’ll need to use the arrow keys: right arrow expands a contact, left arrow collapses a contact. (You need to do this since the chevron icon that lets you expand/collapse isn’t shown on a non-selected contact.)

(Some more technical details: we’re forcing the standard contact template to be used instead of the contact-big template, even when the contact is expanded; i.e. we’re overwriting the command given blist.css.)