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How to add tab groups to Firefox for a more organized and efficient experience

Here's how to gain control over your tabs in Firefox with tab groups.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer on
Firefox logo on an open laptop.
CNET

I make no bones about Opera having the single best tab experience of every browser on the market. And although Safari's new tab management options come fairly close to Opera, it's still a clear runner-up.

That doesn't mean other browsers can't compete. And even though they may never achieve the heights Opera has managed, they certainly can make working with tabs considerably easier.

You might be wondering why I constantly harp on tab management in web browsers. One of the reasons is that users like myself tend to work with way too many tabs open. 

It's not unusual for me to have more than 30 tabs open on a daily basis. Without a good tab management solution, that would be seriously problematic. Those tabs would be so tiny, I'd have trouble discerning which was which. With tab management, I can not only see them, but I can organize them in ways that make my daily life considerably more efficient.

Also: What's the most popular web browser?

Although the Firefox browser doesn't (yet) have a built-in tab management solution, there is one add-on, called Tab Workspaces, which does a fairly good job of keeping your tabs organized into categories. 

As I said before, this solution isn't nearly as good as the Opera Workspaces option. One major reason for this is pinned tabs. Unlike both Opera and (now) Safari, when you have pinned tabs in Firefox, they show up in every category in Tab Workspaces. Because of that, Firefox tabs don't get quite as organized and clean as they do with either Opera or Safari.

The feature set for Tab Workspaces includes:

  • Tabs that belong to a specific workspace. 
  • New tabs automatically added to the current workspace.
  • Easy switching between workspaces from the toolbar.
  • Multiple windows with their own workspaces.
  • Easy movement of tabs to another workspace using the right-click menu.
  • Keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+E) to open the workspaces list (you can then press one through nine to move between workspaces from the keyboard)
  • Address bar tab search by typing ws TEXT (where TEXT is your search string).

Also: How to use Safari's Tab Groups feature

How to add tab groups to Firefox for a more organized and efficient experience

If Tab Workspaces sounds like a tool you might want to use, let's get it installed.

Requirements 

The only thing you'll need for this is an updated version of Firefox installed. It doesn't matter what platform you're using, but it does need to be the desktop version. Once you have Firefox ready, let's get Tab Workspaces installed.

1. Open the Firefox add-ons window

Open Firefox and then click the three horizontal line menu button in the top right corner. From the popup menu, click Add-ons and Themes.

2. Locate Tab Workspaces in the add-ons shop

In the resulting window, type Tab Workspaces in the search bar. When the results appear, click the entry by Fonso. 

3. Add Tab Workspaces to Firefox

In the next window, click Add to Firefox. When prompted, click Add and then Okay. You should now see a smiling tab icon in the Firefox toolbar.

The Tab Workspaces add-on page.

Installing Tab Workspaces on Firefox.

Image: Jack Wallen

Also: How to use tab groups in Google Chrome

How to use Tab Workspaces

This is actually quite simple. If you click on the Tab Workspaces icon, you'll see only one default workspace. If, however, you click +, you'll add a new workspace. However, as you add workspaces in this way, they'll be named Workspace 1, Workspace 2, Workspace 3, etc. That's not very efficient. 

To fix this, click Edit Workspaces and, in the resulting window, you can rename those workspaces. To rename a workspace, click the associated pencil icon, give the workspace a new name, and hit Enter on your keyboard.

The Tab Workspaces drop-down.

You get one workspace by default, but adding them is very simple.

Image: Jack Wallen

Once you've finished editing all of your workspace names, click Stop Editing, and you're ready to go.

Once you have your workspaces created, you can click the icon to select the workspace you want to work with. Open tabs as needed for each workspace. If you have a tab that belongs in a different workspace, right-click it and select Send Tab To Workspace > Workspace (where Workspace is the name of the destination workspace).

The Tab Workspaces edit window.

Editing workspaces to fit my needs.

Image: Jack Wallen

And that's all there is to getting your Firefox tabs under control with the Tab Workspaces added. Enjoy that newfound organization.

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