I’ll admit it, I have an addiction to browser tabs. It seems as though at any given time of the day I have 20+ tabs open in my web browser. Even though I use various tools like Read it Later and bookmarks to save pages that are important or that I want to access later, I still end up with too many tabs open in my browser. How about you?
As you probably already know, this is a very common issue among those who work within a browser all day long or those who surf the web for hours at a time. It can become quite a frustrating situation because the more tabs you have open, the smaller the tab becomes. Soon you’re unable to read any of the text on the tab at all and you might not even be able to see the favicon. So how do you know which tab is which?
Well, you could manually look through each tab until you come across the one you’re looking for, but that’s such a pain and it’s very time-consuming. Another issue is that each tab uses up memory on your computer. The more tabs you have open, the more memory is used and the slower your browser becomes; that’s no fun either. So what’s the solution? Extensions of course!
So let’s look at 15 useful Chrome extensions to help you keep your sanity and create a better-tabbed browsing experience.
TooManyTabs is an advanced tab manager that lets you view all of your open tabs in “bird’s eye view” and suspend tabs that are not currently needed. Suspending tabs allows you to free up the memory that they’re using and also helps to free up space in your tab bar. Whenever you need to access that tab again, simply open up TooManyTabs and restore it. The interface has numerous customization options, which include custom themes.
TabJump is known as the “Intelligent Tab Navigator” and that it is. It lets you restore recently closed tabs, view and navigate to related tabs, and view and navigate to frequently used tabs. There is also a lock feature which lets you lock tabs on an individual basis in order to prevent accidental closing.
With Tab Menu, you don’t have to worry about not being able to read your tabs because it will display all of your open tabs in a vertical menu. You can also through your tabs and close out tabs right from the menu. As you’ll see below, there are quite a few extensions that work in this fashion.
Download Tab Menu Chrome Extension
Tab Manager lets you view, access and delete all your open tabs in 3 different layouts. You can view your tabs as a list or minimize the list so that only the favicon is viewable. Tab Manager even lets you see your tabs that are open in another browser window and you can move tabs back and forth between windows. There’s also an integrated search bar which makes it easier to find open tabs.
“Tab Extract helps you easily re-organize your tabs according to the subject or site, or quickly find a tab, or easily remove multiple tabs.” You use it by simply typing “ex” into your address bar followed by a space (or by clicking the tab button) and then entering your keyword(s). All of your open tabs that match the keyword(s) will be moved into their own window. It helps to merge tabs within the same window and multiple windows that you may have open as well.
Tab Glutton works pretty much like Tab Menu (mentioned above), except it has a cuter icon and it displays the number of tabs you have open right on the browser icon. Again, you can search through your tabs and also close tabs right from the vertical tab menu.
Tabs Plus is a very advanced tab manager with numerous features. It lets you view all of your open tabs by thumbnail and sort them as needed. You can reorder them via drag-and-drop and click on a thumbnail to navigate to the desired tab. The live search feature lets you see corresponding tabs that match your search as you’re typing. Tabs Plus does a full text search too, meaning it will search through the entire text of the pages in each tab. You can also group all of your tabs together by keyword and open them up into their own window. Lastly, you can bookmark tabs and save them into their own folder for later use.
Revolver is a creative way to look through your tabs because it turns them into a slideshow. It rotates through your open tabs at a rate that you specify, until you decide to stop it. You can also choose to reload each tab whenever it’s shown (this is enabled by default).
Tab Switch Plus
Tabs Switch Plus is almost identical to Tab Menu and Tab Glutton (both mentioned above) except it doesn’t include a search bar. It’s meant to be a quick and easy way to switch back and forth between open tabs. You can also close tabs right from the vertical tab menu.
Unlike other extensions listed, Tab Organizer opens in its own pop-up window. It shows you all of your open windows and the tabs open within each. You can search through and close out tabs as well as open new windows. You can also drag-and-drop tabs between windows. There is a very useful sort feature so that you can sort your tabs (by URL and title) and windows (by name and number of tabs). Lastly, there is an integrated macros feature for those who want to “make tedious tasks like moving or closing tabs much easier.”
Alum let’s “open non-overlapping windows to take up full-screen area; you can then rotate tabs between windows.” It helps organize browser windows into tab groups or “work zones” and switch between them as needed. Under options you can create your own “grid layout” and Alum will automatically arrange your windows into that layout with the click of a button. You can have as many columns and rows of windows as needed and arrange them any way you like. This works especially well if you have a larger, widescreen monitor.
Update: This extension is now discontinued. Here is the alternative for the same.
Tabs Expose is a lot like Tabs Plus (mentioned above) and was created to mimic the Mac OS X Expose feature. It gives you a thumbnail preview of your opened tabs. You can rearrange and navigate to any open tab or close out tabs all from within the interface. There is also a customizable hotkey that you can use to open up Tab Expose in a new tab instead of from the browser icon.
Update: This extension is not available on Chrome Store. An alternative to this is given below:
Switch to Tab
Switch to Tab lets you use Chrome’s omnibox to search through and switch between your open tabs. To use it, simply type “sw” into the address bar and press the tab key. You can then enter your keyword(s) to find a specific tab and navigate to it. This extension may remind you of Tab Extract (mentioned above), but that one is used to open up like tabs into a new window as opposed to letting you navigate between them (like this extension).
Tabs Saver lets you save your opened tabs and arrange them into groups. The only catch is that it groups tabs together by the window that they’re in; so each window becomes its own group. This means you’ll have to separate your tabs into windows before saving. You can also delete tabs separately or as an entire group within the interface.
Tab Explorer is very simple: it shows your open tabs in a popup for selection. Much like the vertical tab menus listed above, it makes it easier to see the tabs you have open and navigate to the one you need. Tabs are displayed in rows of 4 (this is not customizable).
Which One Is Best?
Honestly only you can answer this question. The extension(s) you choose to use should, of course, be according to your preference and the way you use the web. There are some that are quick and easy, some that are a little more advanced, and some that are an all-in-one solution with numerous features.
So you tell us, which one is best for you? Which extension do you prefer to use to help you improve your tabbed browsing experience?