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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Resizing Browser windows to a Fixed Size

I'm trying my hand at some basic screencasts as a way to provide practical online help for an application. I'm using Jing to capture simple screen video clips and screencast.com to host them.

Video editing software and hosting sites prefer to use standard aspect ratios - either 4:3 or 16:9. If you record video at some other ratio and then convert it you risk losing detail in your video and for screencasts, where you want the text to be crisp, this can be a problem.

I'm trying to record my actions in a browser window and so to maximize my useful screen space while keeping in a preferred aspect ratio I want to do several things. (I'm using Firefox on a Mac - it also works in Safari - not tried it with IE on Windows)

1: Get rid of the Bookmarks toolbar (View -> Toolbars -> Bookmarks Toolbar)
2: Get rid of the Status Bar
3: Keep the Navigation toolbar so viewers can see the URLs I'm typing
4: (The Good Part!) Resize the browser window to a specific width and height.
In the URL entry field enter this line:

This just sets the size directly to one of the standard 4:3 aspect ratio sizes. Other choices might be (800, 600) or (640, 480). I need the larger size to capture all the text in my pages.

It is trivial to create a bookmarklet to do this. First bookmark an arbitrary page. Go into your Bookmarks collection and change the bookmark Title to something like 'Resize Browser' and then replace the URL with the magic command as shown above. Now when you go to that bookmark it will resize your browser.

A very simple solution, very cool...

1 comment:

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