5 Effective Ways to Deal With the “Too Many Tabs” Syndrome in Firefox

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firefoxlogo 150x150   5 Effective Ways to Deal With the Too Many Tabs Syndrome in FirefoxIf you’re like me, you always have a minimum of 10 tabs open, but usually many more. There are some must-haves like your personal blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Google. But then there are at least 20 more. It’s tab overload!

Having tons of open tabs slows down Firefox. And as the tabs turn Firefox into an MB hungry monster, they also slow down your computer. Even if memory is not an issue, using Firefox with too many tabs just makes it tough to find anything. So what are your options? Just leave as is, discard the tabs, or move them to your helplessly unorganized bookmarks? Bad idea!

Here are some strategies to help you manage your tabs.

1. Make Use Of The Bookmarks Bar

The bookmarks toolbar is a great place to temporarily store information, for example, when you’re researching jobs or hotels for your next vacation. You can just create a folder for the purpose and shovel all links in there when you need a break from researching. When you’re back, right-click onto that folder and select > Open All in Tabs.

TabOverload01   5 Effective Ways to Deal With the Too Many Tabs Syndrome in Firefox

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As you see, I use one letter abbreviations, so that the folder names don’t take up a lot of space. Should you require more space, you can use an extension called Multirow Bookmarks Toolbar. Another extension, Smart Bookmarks Bar can shrink individual links to just the favicon of the respective site.

Another way to store links is using the Read It Later extension, which was reviewed by Mark and more recently by Abhijeet in Get The Awesome Read It Later Extension for Firefox 3.

2. Install Session Manager

Rather than storing your project links in folders, you can manage them with the Session Manager extension. Not only does it automatically save your browsing sessions, even when you crash, you can also save sessions and open them individually from > Tools > Session Manager > Load Session…

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Since you can deselect links from a saved session before opening it, you have full control over the links that will open. That way you can even recover links from a massive sessions that crashed your browser

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Make sure you don’t accidentally replace links in an existing session.

Now that you have temporarily stashed away most of your open tabs, let’s look at ways to actually manage open tabs. There are many extensions that help you deal with an overloaded tab bar. You can organize your tabs, make them smaller, or extend the available space. Here is a small selection of tested add-ons.

3. Group Tabs with TabGroups Manager

This is an ingenious extension. It let’s your group your tabs based on topics. The drawback is that it occupies a little more space. One row shows the category tabs and the second row displays open tabs.

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You cannot rename the Start tab. However, when you remove all tabs from it, it automatically disappears. To remove other categories, click the – on the far left of the category bar.

Through > Tools > Extensions > TabGroups Manager you can access the > Options or rather the Preferences window for this extension. It contains a plethora of settings, for example positioning of the GroupBar, mouse and keyboard commands, settings for session backups, and loads more. In fact, this extension would deserve an entire article to explore all its potential.

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4. Lock and Keep Some Tabs Always Open with Tabberwocky

If there are tabs you always need to be open, you should consider an extension like Tabberwocky which will lock and protect your tabs. It also supports multirow tab bar, tab progress bar, and highlighting of unread tabs, all very useful features for keeping control over your tabs.

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5. Save Tab Bar Space with FaviconizeTab

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To save tab bar space, you can use the FaviconizeTab extension to replace the context menu with the site’s favicon. Here is a comparison between a full-fledged MakeUseOf tab (right) and a faviconized MakeUseOf tab (left).

Other extensions to consider are Tab Mix Plus, ColorfulTabs, or New Tab King. The latter was also reviewed by Karl in his article The Must-see “New Tab King” Addon for Firefox.

More helpful Firefox articles on MakeUseOf:

How many tabs do you have open at any given time? Do you tend to use Firefox with too many tabs? How do you manage?

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18 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

JoM

I use Tree-style Tabs addon
It is a great way to turn cluttered horizontal tab sets into Tree-Folder-ish sort of arrangements. You’ll lose some screen space on whatever end you put it on, but it is a significantly better option then reloading sessions and resorting to bookmarking everything.

Tina

Thanks for sharing JoM!

Reply

JoM

I use Tree-style Tabs addon
It is a great way to turn cluttered horizontal tab sets into Tree-Folder-ish sort of arrangements. You’ll lose some screen space on whatever end you put it on, but it is a significantly better option then reloading sessions and resorting to bookmarking everything.

Reply

Kevin Williams

You should also check out BarTab. It’s an addon that stops firefox from downloading all those tabs when you restart. Just click the tab to load it. Handy when you have to restart with piles of tabs open.

Tina

Thanks for the suggestion Kevin. I will check it out!

Reply

Nat Jay

I like the FaviconizeTab. It’s better than having textual bookmarks that take up too much horizontal space.

Reply

Eric

I prefer usekit.com, it allows me to mark pages with a click, add notes or save parts. And i can get back to it later in the platform without having all this tabs open until my browser craches… I use the plugin which makes it easy to use.

Reply

john

The alternative is to not have dozens of tabs open. Multi-tasking is overrated and you don’t remember 1/2 the time what you were doing with each tab anyway. Start by closing Twitter, Digg, Facebook and your personal blog.
Work efficiently instead of just opening a bunch of crap and looking busy.

Tina

For me it’s not about looking busy, I work from wherever I am (right now Las Vegas) and not from an office. For many people it’s not about multitasking, they may need several tabs for one task. For me it’s about not having to re-open dozens of tabs every time I need them. I just have them open and it saves me time. But everyone’s different. These are all just suggestions. And you just pick and do what works best for you.

Christina Ellis

it’s comments like these that drive me crazy!

Reply

john

The alternative is to not have dozens of tabs open. Multi-tasking is overrated and you don’t remember 1/2 the time what you were doing with each tab anyway. Start by closing Twitter, Digg, Facebook and your personal blog.
Work efficiently instead of just opening a bunch of crap and looking busy.

Reply

Eric

I prefer usekit.com, it allows me to mark pages with a click, add notes or save parts. And i can get back to it later in the platform without having all this tabs open until my browser craches… I use the plugin which makes it easy to use.

Reply

Rich Resnick

I big reason why people keep multiple tabs open is to make searching the web easier. Take a look at http://www.kwiclick.com/. It solves that challenge and will certainly help keep the number of tabs open in check.

Tina

Thank you for sharing Rick!

Reply

Rich Resnick

I big reason why people keep multiple tabs open is to make searching the web easier. Take a look at http://www.kwiclick.com/. It solves that challenge and will certainly help keep the number of tabs open in check.

Reply

Clowner

I use Opera as my default browser and rarely ever use Firefox. Are there any methods in keeping my tabs organized in Opera?

Tina

Clowner,

I’m not using Opera myself, but I will suggest this “story idea” to other authors of MakeUseOf.

Reply

Tina

Clowner,

I’m not using Opera myself, but I will suggest this “story idea” to other authors of MakeUseOf.

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