Nine smart ways to use tabs in Chrome

Tabbed browsing has been around for a while, but developers are still finding new ways to get the most out of them. Chrome has quite a few extensions that can make browsing easier.

Rob Lightner
Rob Lightner is a tech and gaming writer based in Seattle. He has reviewed games, gadgets, and technical manuals, written copy for space travel gear, and composed horoscopes for cats.
Rob Lightner
3 min read

Tabbed browsing is popular for good reason--it makes it much simpler to keep multiple pages open and readily available. Of course, it can also eat up system memory and create headaches for those who can't quite remember where they stashed that one vital info page. Fortunately, smart developers are working on extensions to make tabbed browsing much easier. Here are some of the coolest tabbed browsing extensions I've found:

  • Save and restore multiple tabs across multiple computers. If you browse from multiple computers (or you're just wary of data loss), then TabCloud is a blessing. It lets you back up tabbed browsing sessions and restore them from any computer. It's simple, it works quite well and it is quite flexible.

  • TabCloud
  • Hide all tabs quickly. It may all be perfectly innocent, but sometimes you need to hide your open tabs quickly. Check out "How to hide all browser tabs with one click" by Nicole Cozma to learn how to use the wonderful PanicButton extension.
  • Automatically reload a tab a set time after closing it. Page Snooze is perfect for sites that you only need to check in on daily or weekly. Just click the Page Snooze icon and set the length of time you want your current tab to be gone, between one day and two weeks. After the time has elapsed, the tab snaps back into position. It's easy to manage your sleeping tabs from the options page.

  • Page Snooze
    Page Snooze
  • Change the default New Tab. When you open a new tab in Chrome, you see either Chrome Apps or your most visited pages, These are handy tools, but they're not for everyone. New Tab Redirect is a simple extension that lets you choose a different landing page for new tabs, from popular sites to user-specified URLs or local files.
  • View pages as if using Firefox or IE. Some Web sites just don't interact well with Chrome, and some users need to see how pages will look in other browsers. Mozilla Gecko Tab lets you open pages as if using Firefox, and IE Tab lets you do pretend you're using Internet Explorer. They're fairly straightforward, and while you may want to check with the real deal if your job depends on it, they're good substitutes.

  • IE Tab
    IE Tab
  • Prevent closing multiple tabs. It's easy to avoid the frustration of accidentally closing a window full of tabs. Check out Nicole Cozma's "How to prevent closing multiple tabs in Chrome" to get the lowdown on Window Close Protector.
  • Reload all tabs. Maybe your network went down briefly, maybe you just want to check scores or stock prices, but sometimes you need to reload all your tabs at once. It's easy with Reload All Tabs. It's somewhat flexible, but its basic functionality is what makes it a winner.
  • Mute background tabs. MuteTab lets you avoid the hassle of hunting down that one tab that's blaring out a lecture or music or whatnot. I wrote it up here.
  • Merge tabs in multiple windows. Some tabs are set to open in new windows, and sometimes we just find ourselves with more Chrome windows than we know what to do with. JoinTabs lets you merge all open windows into one, or customize your merge so that some windows remain one. It's much easier than merging them manually, which can take forever if you've let your situation deteriorate.