When posting a question with some code (or generally any question with more detailed description and some explaining) you have to do lots of scrolling when reviewing the changes. While there is huge amount of empty space on both sides.
So many people have wide screens these days, I think they might appreciate the question preview instead of that empty space so there would be way less scrolling.

Also note this suggestion does not say "screw those with lower res. screens".

  • 3
    Three less lines to scroll without the signature... ;-) (But a bit more whitespace to scroll when using proper paragraphs.)
    – Arjan
    Commented Jun 13, 2010 at 10:51
  • As for the signature, that is a legit comment. (Signature removed.) Not so much for the paragraph though, I do paragraphs when I feel there should be one. Nevertheless 3 lines won't do much when you past code with 3-4 methods. Commented Jun 13, 2010 at 15:45

4 Answers 4


The preview being 660 pixels, this would require a viewport of at least 1320 pixels -- when not using any spacing between the editor and the preview, and when totally removing the side bar.

I guess there's still many people with screens too small for that, so if implemented then optionally indeed, please. Stack Overflow visitors in August 2009:

  1920 × 1200    8.40%
  1920 × 1080    1.32%
  1680 × 1050   14.52%            1280 × 1024   24.03%
  1600 × 1200    3.24%            1280 × 800    14.32%
  1440 × 900    11.57%            1152 × 864     1.68%
  1400 × 1050    1.28%            1024 × 768    12.32%
                ------                          ------
                40.33%                          52.35%

(Note that these are screen sizes, not browser sizes. And many might not be running their browser fullscreen.)

  • Lying statistics! I have the fanatic badge and mine isn't even listed :) Commented Jun 13, 2010 at 12:14
  • @Nick, mine won't be listed either, due to blocking Google Analytics... (And as an aside, as explained in the linked blog post: it's the 90% of most reported values.)
    – Arjan
    Commented Jun 13, 2010 at 13:21
  • Optional, yes, but I run 1920x1200 and have always been a little bothered by the enormous amount of wasted space on the sides. 8% of the user base is nothing to sneeze at!
    – Aarobot
    Commented Jun 13, 2010 at 14:04
  • @Aarobot, 8% might have a screen that size, but surely they're not all running their browser maximised! (Today, clicking my browser's zoom buttom on a Mac gets me an optimized viewport of 1009 pixels wide. Looks just fine! Also, the current 660 pixels for the text of the posts makes it easy to read the text, I feel. I really wished web designers would not look at statistics of screen sizes.)
    – Arjan
    Commented Jun 13, 2010 at 14:27
  • And as for the user base: SOFU, quite rightfully so, sneezes at the 7% still using IE6 as well! ;-)
    – Arjan
    Commented Jun 13, 2010 at 14:29
  • 1
    Arjan: Your stats proves my point. If you read the subject it says 'maybe optionally'. Also in the question itself I clearly stated 'so many people', not 'everybody', not even 'majority'. Commented Jun 13, 2010 at 15:47
  • @Arjan: Sure, I'm sure they don't all keep their browsers maximized all the time - neither do I - but that doesn't mean they wouldn't maximize it in order to get a better preview. Window state is not a permanent one-time decision.
    – Aarobot
    Commented Jun 13, 2010 at 16:03
  • 2
    2009... That's like the bronze-age now in terms of internet time Commented Jan 5, 2013 at 23:13
  • @Nick, any new details as for screen size statistics?
    – Arjan
    Commented Jan 6, 2013 at 9:54
  • True, @Tobias, though many tablets have a Stone Age screen resolution. ;-)
    – Arjan
    Commented Jan 6, 2013 at 9:56

For the time being, here's a quick and dirty bookmarklet (or easily saved for Greasemonkey):

  $(".community-option").css("float", "left");
  $("#wmd-container").css("float", "left");
  $("#wmd-preview").css("clear", "none")
    .css("margin-left", "20px")
    .css("float", "left"); 

(Only quickly tested in Safari and Firefox on a Mac. I guess things would look much better when widening the whole page.)


An updated version is available at:


https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/bookmarklets-perform-common-web-page-tasks availed me in installing the bookmarklet.


The lok of SO was purposefully designed to look a certain way. Part of that look is cleanliness and lack of noise. There is meant to be whitespace around the edges so that it will look the same on all browsers and it will also look the same in many window size formats.

The design of the site is always a single column downward. When anything expands, it expands further downward.

Also note this suggestion does not say "screw those with lower res. screens".

Although this may not be your intention, the result of implementing you suggestion would in fact "screw those with lower res. screens", it would also screw those without widescreens. I don't know how Arjan's statistics handle computers with multiple monitors, but I always have my widescreen monitor with my work on it, and I use my smaller monitor for looking up information, including StackOverflow.

Despite Arjan's claim that the preview window is 660px (it is) the div that contains it is 730px. Which means that the doubled size would have to be 1460px. Also, there's the related items panel, which could extend far enough down to interfere with your preview. This is an additional 220px. So now the minimum screen with would have to be 1680px. Further, you introduce two (both bad) design options. Should the preview screen go on the other side of the "related items" column, which would create a strange and intrusive gap between your answer and your preview; or put the related items at the far edge of the screen, which now makes it nearly inaccessible by being wildly far away from the content it pertains to.

Ultimately, this design change would

  1. Destroy visual consistency
  2. Damage aspects of usability (for widescreen users)
  3. Very much screw low res users.

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