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You need a browser with vertical tabs - here's why and 5 options to try

Warning: Once you migrate to vertical tabs, you may never want to go back.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
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Tab management on browsers can be tricky. 

We've all dealt with the frustration (and shame) of tab overload at some point. You might think you've tried everything to cure it, but have you tried vertical tabs?

Vertical tabs move the tab bar of your browser to either the left or right side of the window. With vertical tabs, you can not only better see what tab is what but you also often get more options for grouping tabs together and some browsers even allow you to create workspaces.

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For me, vertical tabs are all about a cleaner browser window, thanks to more coherent tab organization. This is especially important if a browser doesn't offer a workspace-like feature. Vertical tabs are cleaner, easier to organize, and allow you to keep more tabs open without experiencing tab overwhelm.

But which browsers offer vertical tabs? Let's dig in and find out.

1. Arc browser: The best option

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Not only is Arc browser my default on MacOS (come on, Browser Company, port this baby to Linux) but it's also the best option for vertical tabs… by a long shot. 

Also: How to better organize your Arc browsing life with profiles

But what sets Arc apart with this feature? If It's the ability to open a new tab and then type the URL for a website directly into the tab (instead of the address bar). That unique feature saves me time from having to move the cursor to the address bar. It's a little thing but it makes a difference. 

Plus, I just like having the ability to do everything in the sidebar, instead of having to jump back and forth between browser areas. Arc also includes workspaces and allows you to theme each workspace but swipe to move between them… all in the side panel (where vertical tabs live). It really doesn't get any better than this.

2. Vivaldi

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Once we get past Arc, the Vertical Tabs feature still works in other browsers but it feels a bit less… efficient, less panache-y, less everything. Even so, Vivaldi takes the next slot because it also offers Workspaces. Not only can you move your tabs to the sidebar but you can also organize them with Workspaces. 

Also: How to use Vivaldi Workspace Rules to automate website workspace categorization

This combo is a brilliant way to keep tabs on your tabs. Not only can you categorize your tabs (with Workspaces) but you can move them to the left or right side of the browser window so you can more easily see what's what. Vivaldi also has a sweet feature that will automatically theme the sidebar based on the primary color of the site that has focus. This is pretty cool, especially when you want a more immersive look and feel for your browser. 

3. Microsoft Edge

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Edge does a really good job of managing vertical tabs. Combined with Edge's automatic tab organization feature, you can get some seriously good organization going on. With those two combined, you not only have tabs in your sidebar, but Edge will categorize them into groups (and it's shockingly good at it). 

Also: I made Microsoft Edge my default browser because of these three killer features

Another handy feature is that Edge allows you to auto-hide the vertical tabs bar, for an even cleaner browser look. To hide the sidebar, click the left-pointing arrow in the top-right corner of the sidebar. To reveal the sidebar (and your vertical tabs), hover your cursor over the left edge of the browser and there you go.

4. Brave

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Yep, Brave's got 'em. Of course, it does because Brave is overflowing with features.  And like most other browsers, Brave allows you to pin tabs to the top of the vertical tabs sidebar. The difference is that Brave does a better job of displaying those pinned tabs than most. 

Also: 7 features that make Brave such a good browser

Similar to Edge, when you pin a tab to the Brave sidebar, it shows up as a small icon (whereas browsers like Vivaldi pin the full tab to the top). This makes it easier to save space in the sidebar, so you have more room for unpinned tabs.

5. Safari (sort of)

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Although Safari does offer vertical tabs, there's no way to hide the top tab bar, which means you get tabs both on top and at the side of your browser. And, in reality, this isn't a true vertical tab bar feature but a part of the Tab Group feature. I'm not of fan of Safari's attempt at vertical tabs but it gets the nod because the Tab Group feature is pretty good.

And that's the list. All other browsers (such as Firefox and Chrome) require the installation of add-ons to achieve vertical tabs or they don't support the feature at all. If you're looking to really get the most out of browser tabs, I highly recommend trying one of these browsers and seeing just how much better life is with vertical tabs.

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