The Ultimate Guide to Chrome Tab Management

Person sitting at a table with a laptop that shows a Chrome browser on the homepage.

Most people spend the majority of their time working in a browser. However, if you want to be productive, you need to be able to master your tabs. In this post, I will show you some Chrome tab management tips and tricks that you can use to become faster and more efficient when working online.

Open a New Tab

Let’s start with something easy. Most people know you can open a new tab by clicking the plus sign in the tab bar, but you can also use Ctrl + T on a PC or Cmd + T on a Mac. To open a new tab next to the one you are working on, right-click on your current tab, and select, New tab to the right.

If you want to open a link in a new tab, hold down Ctrl (PC) or Cmd (Mac) and then click on the link. Alternatively, you can right-click on the link and select, Open in a new tab, or click the scroll wheel button on your mouse if you have one.

Rearrange Chrome Tabs

You can rearrange the order of your tabs, simply by clicking and dragging the tabs into the order that you want them. It’s a quick easy way to manually sort your tabs so that the like tabs are together.

screenshot of four open tabs on the chrome web browser. the active tab is

Switch Between Tabs

To quickly switch between tabs in Chrome you can use Ctrl + Tab. This cycles you through your open tabs from left to right. To go the other way, use Ctrl + Shift + Tab. Another keyboard trick is to use Ctrl or Cmd + the number keys. For instance. Ctrl+1 will take you to the first tab on your window, Ctrl+2 will take you to the second tab, and so forth. Ctrl or Cmd + 9 will take you to the furthest tab to the right, regardless of how many tabs you have open.

If neither of those methods works for you, PC users can use Ctrl + Pg Up to move left to right through their tabs, or Ctrl + Pg Dn to go right to left. Mac users can use Cmd + Option + left or right arrows to do the same thing.

Pin Tabs in Chrome

Pinned tabs are a quick and easy way to keep your most-used sites open in your browser. Things like email, calendar, or a to-do app are popular choices for pinned tabs. Simply right-click on the tab you want to pin and select, Pin, to add it to your pinned tabs.

screenshot of the context menu when you right click on a tab in Chrome. The word Pin is highlighted to illustrate where to pin a tab.

Open Tabs on Startup

This one is similar to pinned tabs, but if there are a set number of websites that you would always like to appear when you launch Chrome, you can set these in advance by choosing the ones you want. Simply click the three dots in the top right-hand corner and then choose Settings. On the sidebar, select On startup and then Open a specific set of pages. Now, add the sites you would like to load when you launch Chrome. If you find that your pinned tabs are not saving after you close Chrome, pin the tabs you want, and then choose “Continue where you left off” to keep those pinned tabs alive.

screenshot of Chrome settings that show where to set the pages you would like Chrome to open every time you open the browser.

Search for Tabs in Chrome

If you find yourself drowning in tabs and can’t find the one that you are looking for, you can search for it by typing some keywords into the address bar. If your keyword search matches any of the words in the title of an open tab, you will see, Switch to tab, next to the list of results you get in the address bar. Click this to switch to the tab you were looking for.

You can also click the down arrow in the top right-hand corner to reveal a search box that you can use to search through your open tabs.

screenshot showing how to use the Chrome address bar to search through your open tabs.

The Best Ways to Close Tabs

You can close a tab by clicking the X on the right of the tab or by pressing Ctrl +W on Windows or Cmd + W on a Mac. You can also close all the tabs except the one you are working in by right-clicking on a tab and selecting, Close other tabs. Similarly, you can close all tabs to the right of the one you are working on from the same right-click menu.

screenshot showing the options for closing a tab that you get from the context menu when you right-click on a Chrome tab. Options are Close, Close other tabs and Close tabs to the right.

Reopening Closed Tabs

We’ve all closed tabs by mistake. Thankfully, there are lots of great ways to reopen closed tabs and bring back a website you were looking at earlier. For instance, in the top right-hand corner of Chrome, you will see a down arrow. Clicking it reveals a list of open and recently closed tabs. Select the one you want to restore to your tab bar. You can also click the three dots in the top right-hand corner and select History to reveal a similar list of websites.

If you want to resurrect a tab that you just closed, try Ctrl or Cmd + Shift + T or simply right-click on an open space on your tab bar and select, Reopen closed tab.

screenshot of the recently closed tab menu that you get when you click the arrow in the top right-hand corner of the Chrome browser window.

Managing Multiple Windows

You can make any tab its own Chrome window by dragging it down and off your tab bar. If you have several tabs that you want to move to a new window, hold down the Ctrl key (PC) or the Cmd key (Mac) and then click on all the tabs that you want to use in a new window. Once selected, you can drag them off the tab bar to create a new window. You can also right-click on the tab and select, Move to new window.

When you create a new window of tabs, it is a good idea to name it so you know what you are working with. You can rename a Chrome window by right-clicking on any open space along the tab bar and selecting, Name window. Once named, you can move tabs between windows by right-clicking on a tab and selecting, Move tab to another window. From here, you can choose the name of the window you want to move it to by clicking on it.

You can navigate quickly between Chrome windows by pressing Alt +Tab to see an overview of all your open windows. If you name your windows, you will see the names listed when you hit Alt + Tab.

screenshot showing how to name a window in Chrome by right clicking on the tab bar and selecting Name window.

Group Tabs in Chrome

Some people like to group their tabs in multiple windows, but Chrome does have a grouping feature for tabs that can help you work in just one window. To start a new tab group, right-click on a tab and select, Add tab to new group. Next, choose a name and color for your tab group.

You can create as many tabs groups as you need and send tabs to and from your groups by right-clicking on the tab and selecting, Add tab to group. You can rearrange tab groups by dragging and dropping them into the order you want, and tabs within a tab group can be organized the same way.

screenshot showing the contet menu you get when you right click on a tab in Chrome. Add tab to new group is highlighted on the screenshot.

Save Tabs in Chrome

One way to save tabs in Chrome is to bookmark them. You can bookmark all open tabs in a window by right-clicking on an empty space on the tab bar and selecting, Bookmark all tabs. This will add all the open tabs to a folder in your Chrome bookmarks. If you don’t need all your tabs bookmarked, hold down the Ctrl key on a PC and select the ones you want to bookmark. When you are ready to resume working on your saved tabs, simply right-click on the folder and select, Open all.

Other options for saving Chrome tabs include extensions like Toby or OneTab. These handy tools will let you save a tab session exactly as it is, close your browser, and then resume your session at a later date. This is a useful alternative to bookmarking tabs if you have a lot of bookmarks and have a habit of losing things. Just remember, your tabs are not your to-do list! 😉

screenshot showing the context menu you get when you right click on the Chrome tab bar. Bookmark all tabs is highlighted.

Find Tabs on Other Devices

If you use Chrome on multiple devices, you can take advantage of Chrome’s sync feature to pull up a tab you were looking at on another device. To get started, press Ctrl or Cmd + H to open your History. Then select, Tabs from other devices, from the sidebar. From here, you will be able to see any open tabs from devices that you have signed into Chrome with.

If you need to, you can send a tab to another device so that it is ready and waiting for you the next time you use it. To do this, right-click on any webpage and select, Send to your devices. You can do this whenever you need to, so long as you are when you are signed in and have sync enabled to Chrome on multiple devices.

Create Tab Apps in Chrome

One way to minimize the number of open tabs you have could be to make a tab into a Chrome app. It’s quick and easy to do, and it works well with most modern websites like Gmail, Facebook, and Twitter. Here’s how it works:

  1. Navigate to the website you want to turn into an app
  2. Click the three dots in the top right-hanc corner of Chrome
  3. Select, More tools > Create Shortcut (Mac) or Add to taskbar (Windows)

When you have followed these steps, you will have an app-like icon in the Dock of your Mac or on the taskbar in Windows and you can use this to launch a full screen version of the website you saved.

2 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide to Chrome Tab Management”

  1. What about rearranging “Open Tabs on Startup” since i might want to add a new tab in the middle such as i did today ? Chrome doesn’t seem to allow this except by closing all tabs, opening chrome fresh, adding/rearranging tabs, and the saving the current open pages as your startup pages.

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