Make Your Chrome Browser Window Narrow for Mobile Web Development

My “go-to” desktop browser for doing web development is the Chrome browser. However, it has one annoying problem for people like me who do responsive web development:  It won’t resize down to 320 pixels wide, the width of an iPhone.  With my Chrome browser on Windows, the minimum width is 500px. On Mac, the minimum is 400px.  This makes it a pain to quickly check mobile layouts during development. You can’t make the Chrome browser window thin enough!

Narrow Chrome browser

Firefox, on the other hand, will get as thin as I need it to!  But, It’s inconvenient to have to use two different browsers during development.

Here are three ways to make your Chrome browser window narrow!

Solution #1: Launch a Resizable Chrome Window

My solution is to launch a narrow adjustable Chrome browser window in JavaScript. I made a script that does just that.  Just paste in the full URL (including “https://”), and it will launch in a 320px wide browser window!

 

This works on Chrome for Mac and Windows. During development, I launch this once, and refresh it using the F5 key.

Note, this assumes your browser scroll bar is 17px wide (it varies between browsers, but that’s what it is on default Chrome). The actual browser launched is 320+17px = 337px wide, resulting in a browser window that is 320px wide.

Solution #2: Chrome Dev Tools Mobile Button

Another solution is to use Chrome’s dev tools console and click the “mobile” icon in the upper left corner:

Chrome dev tools showing mobile icon

Click that icon and the corresponding Chrome window will show a narrow browser window. The downside is that it’s not dynamically resizable like the first solution is.

To enable DevTools in Chrome, click the 3-dot menu in the upper right corner of your Chrome window, then select More Tools -> Developer Tools or press the F12 key.

Solution #3 Chrome Developer Tools in Sidebar

Yet another solution using Chrome DevTools window is to bring up the DevTools window in the sidebar of your browser. When you do this, it squishes the website part of the browser and you can make it as thin as you want. Here’s what that looks like:

To move the DevTools window to the sidebar, click the 3-dot menu in the DevTools window, then select the “Dock to Right” icon as shown above.

Conclusion

Was this useful to you? If so, please let me know in the comments below! – Brian

Featured Image Photo by Goran Ivos on Unsplash.

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Peter Christensen
2 months ago

Ref the problem I mentioned earlier, I was using Chrome on my iPhone and even after deleting cache the .css file isn’t refreshing. But my website and my coding look perfect in Safari, so 4 hours of wasted time later, LOL, it’s not my coding!

Thanks again for your tips!

Peter Christensen
2 months ago

I was all ready to download Firefox when I read Solution #3. Works great! Thanks.

I still have my problem though.

I use a media query for max-width 320 to reduce my font size, and it works great in every responsive web design screen tester I’ve found on the web… but not on my iPhone itself.

And I know my screen size is 320 as I see the number on my screen from this bit of code I use:

<script type=”text/javascript”>test=”<p class=’Text’ style=’text-align:center;font-size:25px’>Screen width: “+window.innerWidth;document.write(test);</script>

Thank you,

Peter

Orcadian
Orcadian
4 months ago

Thanks for this. Solution 1 looks useful but I need a link / bookmark that I can just click on to open a skinny window when I need one. I was not able to right-click copy from your ‘open thin browser window now’ button. Any chance you could make it work like that, please?

michael
michael
4 months ago

wow! am so grateful to you for this generous help… You are a star!

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asfdaf dfgf
5 months ago

#1 is really helpful — thank you for this

Kate
Kate
8 months ago

option 3 is good for me, thanks.

Thankful user
Thankful user
9 months ago

I hope you keep this around for the long term, please don’t shut it down! I’ve been using this tool for years and it is one of a kind. Bless you sir!

JJ
JJ
10 months ago

Hello! I wanna open webpages, use chrome, by shortcut, open as ‘narrow’ window.

Until a few days ago, the width of the chrome window running with the shortcut was under 500px. But now it doesn’t decrease below 500px. Can’t we modify the shortcut to lift the width reduction limit of the chrome window?

I’m so happy to find your JavaScript. However, I want to make the Location Bar disappear, and it would be great if I could modify the Chrome shortcut and open a specific page in a narrow width. If you know how to solve it, can you help me?

Greg
Greg
1 year ago

I used this trick to watch youtube in a miniwindow.

Jacob Smith
Jacob Smith
1 year ago

Thank you so much for making this. I use this almost every day when doing mobile css. It is very very useful. Please never ever take this down. Thank you so much once again!!

Anonymous
Anonymous
2 years ago

am 16 and i have been struggling alot with this thanks alot men

Aella
2 years ago

YOU ARE AWESOME!

andrewsmith
3 years ago

Great post. Surely this post going to help mobile app developers.

wagedu
7 years ago

In the developer window, top left, there’s a mobile icon next to the “search” icon. Use it to toggle in and out of “Device Mode”. There you can shrink the screen as much as you want, while keeping the Developer window as large as you need.
I just found it, and it’s really neat :)
https://developer.chrome.com/devtools/docs/device-mode

Toby
6 years ago
Reply to  wagedu

The ‘mobile icon’ works a treat. I love toggling through the various models.
It seems iPhones up to 5S, and Galaxy phones up to S4, seem to have 320px as their narrowest width.

I feel that most of the custom @media divs I make in CSS are attributed to these ‘320’ screens.
Fortunately the later models aren’t as narrow.

Great thread and post, thanks :)

Brandon
Brandon
7 years ago

Very nice thanks! This will be helpful while taking my many screen shots for testing.

justin
justin
7 years ago

Now for your next trick, highlight in red any items that extend past the viewport and are responsible for the need to horizontally scroll.

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