Google Chrome is the most popular browser on the planet, and it’s also riddled with tab management problems. Let’s fix it with extensions.
Google Chrome is the most popular browser on the planet, and it’s also riddled with tab management problems. Let’s fix it with extensions that solve tab overload.
None of this is news, and that’s why developers keep making extensions to fix tab overload in Chrome. Here are six new extensions (some of which work with other browsers too) that will greatly enhance tab management in Chrome.
1. Mark Tab Manager (Chrome): Automatically Group All Tabs of a Website
After years of users requesting it, Google now finally lets you create tab groups in Chrome. It’s a great way to reduce tab clutter and quickly find a tab you need. But the current option is only manual, which means you have to do the grouping each time.
Mark Tab Manager is the options Google should have created, as it automatically creates a tab group out of all open tabs of any website. Once it groups all tabs, it puts the site’s name as the label and adds a unique color.
Any new tab you open with a website that already has a group will be automatically moved to be added to that group. You can also filter tabs by subdomain, choose to arrange them alphabetically or not, and hide or show the tab count.
Of course, Mark Tab Manager only affects tabs in the current window. Any tabs you open in other windows won’t be automatically grouped in the first window.
Download: Mark Tab Manager for Chrome (Free)
2. Acid Tabs (Chrome): Create Custom Rules for Automatic Tab Grouping
While Mark Tab Manager auto-creates tab groups for any website, Acid Tabs takes it to the next step. You get to set custom rules to add tabs to a certain group automatically, with URL parameters.
For example, you could create a tab group called Social, and set “facebook.com”, “twitter.com”, “pinterest.com” and other websites as part of its rules. So any tab you open that contains a URL with those keywords will automatically be added to the Social group.
Once you make these rules, you can also set the order of the tab groups in Acid Tabs. Just use the arrow keys at the right to choose how they will appear, and add a background color for the group.
Download: Acid Tabs for Chrome (Free)
3. Tile Tabs WE (Chrome, Firefox): Simple Tab Tiling for Side-by-Side View
Some browsers like Vivaldi offer tab tiling as a built-in feature, so you can view multiple tabs side-by-side, horizontally or vertically. Chrome and Firefox don’t come with this ability out of the box, but the Tile Tabs WE extension is close enough to get it done.
The extension offers a few default layouts of two, three, four, or six tabs tiled horizontally or vertically. Naturally, each choice will split your screen into windows that take up that much real estate. You can even choose to tile all tabs of a window in one click, but that might be extra messy.
Another option is to create custom tile layouts. So in case you want tiles of different sizes, make such a layout and save it to your Tile Tabs WE profile. Next time you need it, it’ll be a click away.
Tile Tabs WE achieves its feat by turning each tab into a separate window, resized for the layout you choose. So you get the title bar, URL bar, and other artifacts (like a bookmarks bar) taking up screen space in each tile. It’s an unfortunate byproduct with no real workaround right now.
4. SplitUp! (Chrome, Firefox): Powerful Tab Manager to Organize, Save, and Move Tabs
SplitUp! is one of the most powerful tab managers we’ve seen to manage tab overload on Chrome and Firefox, or Chromium-based browsers. It takes a while to load up when you first start it, but once it’s loaded, it gives features of several of the best Chrome extensions for tab management in one window. Here are a few of the main highlights:
All tabs appear as a list and are separated by the windows they are in.
- You can select multiple tabs and apply the same action to them, such as moving tabs from one window to another or closing them in bulk.
- You can also rename the windows and color-code them, which is helpful as all browser apps will show as a window.
- Search all open tabs to find the one you’re looking for.
- Quickly mute and unmute any tabs playing audio.
- Save tab lists from a window for later, or download all open URLs, mimicking the ability of favorite extensions like OneTab.
- Save Tab sessions to restart later.
If you often have many tabs open and run multiple Chrome windows, SplitUp! is the extension you need. Try it out for a week, you might never go back.
5. Tabouleh (Chrome, Firefox, Safari): Fast Tab Switching for Keyboard Shortcuts
Most browsers have basic tab navigation shortcuts that greatly speed up how you use it. But they are still considerably limiting when you’re going through 20 tabs or more, which is a common scenario nowadays. Tabouleh brings fast tab switching with keyboard shortcuts.
There are four main benefits:
- Ctrl / Cmd + Shift + 1 opens the Tabouleh drop-down panel.
- In the drop-down panel, you can see the last eight tabs you have opened or used. Navigate these with the Up and Down arrow keys.
- A handy search bar (where the default cursor is) will search through all tabs quickly.
- And finally, you can switch to the last used tab with Ctrl / Cmd + Shift + 2.
Using this combination of keyboard shortcuts, you should be able to quickly navigate through all your tabs.
6. Smart Mute (Chrome): Set Automatic Tab Mute Rules
If you open three YouTube tabs in Chrome, it will play all videos causing a mix of the audio. You get to mute the entire site, or not. It’s a little silly. Plus, so many sites these days have auto-playing videos, how do you stop those? Smart Mute is the best option.
The extension will automatically mute all tabs except the active tab, as long as the active tab has some audio playing. If not, the last active tab can continue to play audio, and you can toggle it on and off with a click. If you want no noise from any tab you have open or will open in this session, enable ‘Silent Mode’.
Smart Mute also allows you to blacklist and whitelist certain domains, which will then always mute or always play audio from their websites. And in the smartest of all features, you can exclude pinned tabs from being muted, so that a YouTube playlist continues to play when pinned, while other YouTube videos start muted.
Download: Smart Mute for Chrome (Free)
Hopefully, these extensions finally let you take control of your tab overload. However, the simplest tech hack for tab management is often the most ignored. Stop sticking to one window.
You can open multiple windows of any browser, or open two separate browsers. Designate a purpose for each window, and use tabs in it accordingly. Try it out if you haven’t before, it’ll change how you feel about tabs.
Post writer Mihir Patkar