Take control of your Google Chrome tabs

Do you have too many tabs open in your Chrome browser? I know I do, but there are things you can do to help you take control of them without just declaring tab bankruptcy and closing all of them.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Are you close to the point of declaring tab bankruptcy, closing them all and starting 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.

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.

Google Chrome's Task Manager

Did you know that Google Chrome had a 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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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. 

Accidentally closed 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!

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.

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