Drowning in tabs? Here's how to make Google Chrome work for you

It's so easy to keep on opening tabs only to find yourself cast adrift in an ocean of webpages, not able to navigate yourself back to the information you need.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Contributing Writer

Are you lost in a sea of tabs? It's so easy to keep on opening tab after tab with little thought for the consequences only to find yourself with dozens -- if not hundreds -- open and no clue where anything is then to nuke everything from orbit, close all the tabs and promise to never let things get out of control again.

I've been there, and the odd thing is that within a few weeks, I was ready to do the same thing because I had too many tabs open again! 

Fortunately, there's a better way, and Google Chrome comes with tools to help you deal with tab overload.

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The right-click

The first thing worth exploring is how to work with tabs using the right-click. 

Try it now. Right-click on a tab and look at the options you have available. There are some powerful features on offer there:

  • Reload
  • Duplicate
  • Pin Tab
  • Mute Site
  • Close Tab
  • Close Other Tabs
  • Close Tabs to the Right

These can be useful to help combat tab overload. The three I find the most useful are Duplicate, Pin Tab, and Mute Site. I've also started to learn to use Close Tabs to the Right, by moving less useful tabs to the right and then using this as a mass way to close them.

Google seems to be getting ready to shake up how tabs work, so it might be worthwhile bearing this in mind.

Closed your browser and lost your tabs?

Have you ever accidentally closed Google Chrome and have it shut down all your tabs? There's a way to get it to reload all the tabs that you previously had open. To do this go to Settings (the easiest way to do this is to type chrome://settings/ into the address bar and hit ENTER), then scroll down to On start-up and select Continue where you left off.

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Select multiple tabs

Now we come to one of the coolest features, which is the ability to select multiple tabs in Google Chrome. To do this, hold down CTRL in Windows or Command in Mac, and then click on the tabs you want to pick out of the vast ocean of tabs you have open. 

Why do this? Well, after having selected multiple tabs, you can do things like drag them out into a new window or right-click on them and close them or mute them if they are emitting an annoying noise.

I particularly like grabbing a bunch of tabs related to a single project and dragging them out into a new window. 

Did you accidentally close a tab?

If you've accidentally closed a tab, you can resurrect it by hitting Ctrl-Shift-T on Windows or Command-Shift-T on Mac. It's that easy!

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Use extensions to manage tabs

Another way to wrangle tabs is to use an extension that is designed to help manage tab overload. Three that I find to be good are OneTab, Session Buddy, and The Great Suspender.

Another quite useful extension is Tab Snooze, which allows you to schedule tabs to reopen in the future. Quite an ingenious idea that helps save on tab clutter!

Workona is a service that may be of interest to people who have chronic tab overload because they need a load of tabs open. This essentially turns Google Chrome into an operating system and creates workspaces to keep tabs organized. There's a free version for those who can make do with ten personal workspaces and three shared ones, and a pro version that adds unlimited workspaces for $6 a month.

Google Chrome's Task Manager

Yes, Google Chrome has its own Task Manager. This is a very powerful tool, and you can access it by clicking on the three vertical dots at the top-right of the menu bar, going down to More Tools and then select Task Manager. You can use this tool to see which tabs are using the most system resources and close them if you want. 

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