Fixing Firefox 3.6's tab blunder

Fixing Firefox 3.6's tab blunder

Summary: I've been playing around with a beta build of Firefox's 3.6 browser for some time, and while it's been completely stable, its new tab behaviour has annoyed me.

TOPICS: Browser, Patents

I've been playing around with a beta build of Firefox's 3.6 browser for some time, and while it's been completely stable, its new tab behaviour has annoyed me.

When opening a link in a new tab, by default the tab will appear next to or near the tab in which the link was selected. Think Internet Explorer or Chrome tab behaviour.

Since IE, Chrome and now Firefox do this, it'll probably become de facto for browsers, but if you wish to remain a new-tab Luddite like me and restore Firefox's previous tab behaviour (where all new tabs appear on the far right of the tab bar), follow the following steps:

  1. Type into the address bar about:config and hit enter.

    The about:config page should look something like this.

  2. Once there, enter into the filter browser.tabs.insertRelatedAfterCurrent
  3. When you see the browser.tabs.insertRelatedAfterCurrent entry, double click on it to toggle the entry from true to false.

And you're done. Enjoy your new browser experience of knowing where to find the tabs you opened.

Topics: Browser, Patents


Chris started his journalistic adventure in 2006 as the Editor of Builder AU after originally joining CBS as a programmer. After a Canadian sojourn, he returned in 2011 as the Editor of TechRepublic Australia, and is now the Australian Editor of ZDNet.

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  • New tabs

    Sounds like you are whinging for the sake of whinging.
  • New tabs should be on the far right

    Not that I've used Firefox 3.6 but I agree that new tabs should be on the far right. They should be interspersed with existing tabs.
  • TabKit

    Stop whining like a spoiled child and install the TabKit addon.
    It actually makes tabs useful (compared to any browser's default tab behavior anyway) and much better uses the real estate of the widescreen monitors everyone now has.
  • You can make it do what you want it to...

    So what, exactly, is the problem?
  • What whinging?

    Chris, like a lot of us have a pet hate for tabs opening up right next to the tab you're in.

    I set my first few tabs out the same way each time, email, google wave, twitter and facebook...the rest can be whatever. This happens in chrome (which I use) and I am forever moving tabs around.

    But for firefox users Chris has had his beef and also found a solution so why pick on the author?

    One feature i'd really like with using the shortuct "ctrl+tab" in firefox (and chrome/ie) is the ability to toggle between 2 tabs like opera does. So many times I need to copy/paste from one tab to another, or simply reference another tab, and will need to manually cycle through to each tab or manually click :)
  • Pot, meet kettle!

    I think it's a bit rich that this commentator says that he's whinging. Especially given he's merely expressing a personal preference - and not only that he's given a solution to the issue!

    A case of the pot calling the kettle black methinks.
  • He's not whining?

    He's not actually whining... perhaps it might be good to read the article as he gives a solution to something that he doesn't have a preference for.

    And on the plus side of things, he doesn't have to install addon.
  • <ctrl>+<shift>+<tab>

    <ctrl>+<tab> cycles forward one tab
    <ctrl>+<shift>+<tab> cycles backward one tab
  • The word "blunder" is the issue

    Just because the author has personal preference for tabs open on the far right it doesn't make Firefox's decision to open them elsewhere a blunder. It is pure sensationalism and detracts from an otherwise good article.
  • <ctrl>+<1,2,3,4...>

    you can hit ctrl and the tab number to get to the tabs you need.

    eg: if you want to copy and paste from tab 2 to tab 4, hit ctrl+2, then ctrl+4
  • Nice tip!

    Thank's for the tip, 'was already hating the new tab behavior.

  • Very helpful

    Thanks for the tip, this was driving me nuts, losing tabs all over the place. Now everything appears where I expect it. Thanks

    Dude, this too was annoying the heck out of me.
    I went straight to the about:config, but had no clue what I was looking for - But thanks to you I can go back to the normal way of tab'in.

    I open many windows due to my work and website research, so I normally like to have fresh links show at the end and then I can quickly close the current page and go to the next tab, instead of the new one I just opened.

  • You're the issue

    It was a blunder. Just because you have a personal preference for being wrong does not mean that his facts detract from his excellent article.
  • Thanks!

    I upgraded to Firefox 3.6 yesterday, and this was one of the first things I noticed. I kept getting lost when I was opening new tabs, not finding them where I expected. I thought I might have been going nuts... but nope :P

    As far as the other commenters go, I don't think there's anything wrong with calling this a "blunder". Honestly, it's kinda frustrating because it wasn't even in the changelog that I could see. I've been using Firefox for a long time, and I don't see why they had to just silently change the way tabs work.

    Oh well. Progress has to be made, I suppose. In some circumstances, the new behavior is more logical, but in other circumstances it doesn't make sense. At least for now I can enjoy the old behavior that I'm accustomed to :)
  • how to turn off tab?

    In Firefox 3.6 I am unable to turn off tab.
    I did the Tools-options-tabs-
    [x] open new windows in a new tabs instead.

    Well, it did not work. Firefox ALWAYS open new tab and does not open new window.

    What gives?
  • Thank you

    Thank you so much for solving this for me. It seemed like a huge step back in tab behavior, as it makes it more difficult for me to open a large number of tabs in a correct order.
  • Appreciate the tip.

    Thank you! and I love not needing another memory sucking, system resource hogging add-on to fix that.
  • Turning off tabs

    That option forces all links that would open in new windows to open in new tabs instead, as you've found out ;)

    What you probably want to do is disable that option and shift-click links so they open in a new window :)