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How to better organize your Arc browsing life with profiles

Too many tabs? Too many accounts? Your browser getting too crowded and complicated? Arc's profile feature offers an elegant solution to chronic disorganization.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
Arc Browser on MacOS.

Arc has become my go-to browser for MacOS.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Do you find yourself struggling to stay organized within your web browser? Too many tabs? Too many accounts? Too much everything that you wind up feeling overwhelmed?

Or maybe you simply need to put a wall up between your work and personal browsing. Whatever is driving your need for better organization, the Arc browser can help. Arc makes it easy to create separate profiles and keep things organized.

Also: Why I love Arc browser's Shared Folders - and how they work

What do profiles do? 

Essentially, a profile isolates logins, cookies, browsing history, archive timing, favorites, extensions, and even settings (within arc://settings). You can have a profile for Work, Personal, School, Children -- anything you need.

Arc has a slightly different take on profiles from other browsers. Instead of creating a separate browser profile, you create a profile for your Arc Spaces. This way, not only can you switch quickly between profiles, but you also can include the spaces you've already created for each new profile. By doing this, you don't have to then re-create every space you've already added. But don't worry, when the new profile uses a pre-existing space , it doesn't inherit anything from the profile that created the space . It's as if you've cloned the spaces for the new profile, without the associated data or information.

Let me show you how to create a new Profile in Arc.

How to create a new Arc Profile

What you'll need: To create a new Arc profile, the only thing you'll need Arc installed on either MacOS or Windows. (Come on, Browser Company, port this browser to Linux!) That's it. Let's create your first profile.

1. Open Arc

The first thing to do is open the Arc browser. Once opened, right-click (or two-finger tap) an empty spot in the left sidebar and select Set Profile > New Profile.

The Arc browser sidebar right-click menu.

Creating a new profile on Arc Browser.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

2. Name your profile

In the resulting pop-up, give your new profile a name and click Next.

Naming a new Arc profile.

Make sure to give the new profile a meaningful name.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

3. Add spaces

You will then be prompted to add any previously created spaces to your new profile. From this window, you can select any/all spaces you want to add. If you don't want to add any, simply click Create Profile. You can then create any necessary spaces from within the profile.

The Spaces add window for a new Arc profile.

You can select as few or many Spaces as you like.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Switching profiles

Now that you've created a new profile, how do you switch? Simple. Right-click (or two-finger tap) an empty spot in the left sidebar and, from the resulting pop-up menu, select Set Profile and then select the profile you want to use.

The Set Profile menu in Arc Browser.

Not only is this how you switch profiles, it's also how you know which profile you're currently using.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

When you switch to the new profile, you should see none of the tabs you had open in any of the spaces with the first profile have transferred. This is by design, so all of your information is isolated from profile to profile. One caveat to switching profiles is there's no indication of which one you are using. The only way to tell is to right-click the sidebar, click Set Profile, and check to see which profile you're currently using.

Also: How to use Spaces in Arc browser for a much-improved tab experience

I like how Arc browser has employed profiles because it not only makes them easier to use, but they're also more efficient. Where some browsers require a restart to switch profiles (or use a separate tool), Arc isolates profiles to spaces, so you can switch effortlessly. This smart design is another reason I've adopted Arc as my default on MacOS.

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