Convert Chrome tabs to a list to save memory and your sanity

With the OneTab extension for Chrome, you can better manage that clutter of open tabs, saving system memory in the process.

Matt Elliott Senior Editor
Matt Elliott is a senior editor at CNET with a focus on laptops and streaming services. Matt has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing laptops. He has worked for CNET in New York and San Francisco and now lives in New Hampshire. When he's not writing about laptops, Matt likes to play and watch sports. He loves to play tennis and hates the number of streaming services he has to subscribe to in order to watch the various sports he wants to watch.
Expertise Laptops, desktops, all-in-one PCs, streaming devices, streaming platforms
Matt Elliott
3 min read

By the end of the workday, my Internet research and wanderings leave me with dozens upon dozens of open tabs. This trail of tabs is confusing to navigate and leaves my laptop feeling sluggish. If you use tabs as temporary bookmarks as I do and use Chrome, I suggest you give OneTab a whirl. This Chrome extension lets you convert all of your open tabs into a list, which lets you reopen each tab individually, restore all at once, or share all as a Web page. Managing a multitude of tabs via OneTab's lists is easier than juggling the tabs themselves, and it saves memory resources in the process.

After installing OneTab from its Web site or the Chrome Web Store, you'll see that a button with a small, blue funnel gets added to the right of the URL bar. Clicking the button will close all of your open tabs and open a new Chrome window with these tabs listed as links. I should specify: OneTab grabs all of your nonpinned tabs in a given window; it leaves any pinned tabs as they are, and it doesn't touch any tabs in additional Chrome windows you may have open. For a subsequent tab-filled Chrome window, clicking OneTab adds its tabs as a new list group above the previous list in the same OneTab window you previously created.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

From OneTab's list, you can click to open an individual tab. Doing so, removes it from the list. Hold down Ctrl (Windows) or Command (Mac) while opening a tab will keep it on the list. You can also click and drag to reorder your lists or move a tab from one group to another.

Above each group on the OneTab window are three links to restore all (in a new window), delete all, or create a Web page to share. The Web page looks no different than the list of links to your tabs on the OneTab window, but it provides a URL at the top, making it a highly convenient way to share a group of Web pages.

At the top-right corner of the OneTab window are a group of links. The first, Bring all tabs into OneTab, closes all (nonpinned) tabs in all of your open Chrome windows and, yes, brings them all into OneTab. The next, Share all as Web page, creates a Web page with all of your tabs, instead of just one group. The Export/Import URLs link takes you to a page of the URLs of all of the tabs saved on OneTab.

I don't have any use for the import/export feature, and I doubt I'll use share feature much either. What I like is OneTab's lists, which give me more information at a glance than a dozen of open tabs do, where most of the time all I can see is a mere favicon. OneTab gives you the favicon along with the title of the site or article. OneTab also keeps a tally of your tabs from one Chrome session to the next, though to open it, you have to move any open tabs to it or open a new Chrome window before clicking the button if you just want to access the tabs you saved to OneTab without adding anything new to it.

OneTab claims to save you up to 95 percent of your precious system memory. With no other applications running, I opened two dozen tabs in Chrome, which used 292.5MB of memory. After depositing these tabs into OpenTab, Chrome was using only 60MB, or nearly an 80 percent reduction. More importantly, my system's cooling fan stopped spinning and my system no longer felt like it was running in molasses.

Lastly, OneTab is free and completely ad-free.

Do you have a favorite tab management app or system for your favorite browser? Or do you just use Chrome's Bookmark All Tabs menu option to save a group of tabs? Let me know in the comments below.

(Via Hacker News)