Apart from addons, the single most influential browser development during the past decade was tabbed browsing, which started as an extension itself. Tabs enable you to easily switch back and forth between open sites, without cluttering the taskbar with multiple open windows. The problem is that you quickly end up with too many tabs and they become hard to navigate.
In this article I have profiled the 5 best Firefox 4 addons to organize tabs, work with them, and hibernate them. These addons can help you to group and manage your tabs, add more vertical or horizontal space to your browser window, and reduce the load Firefox puts on your system resources.
TabGroups Manager is my favorite tab-related extension. As the name suggests, you can create groups for your tabs, accessible via the group tab bar.
When you find yourself with an excess amount of groups that slow you down, you can hibernate selected groups to save system resources. Right-click a group tab and select > Hibernate. You can continue to send (not move) tabs to hibernated groups or move them from one open group to another via the right-click menu. Moreover, you can re-organize groups via the > Group your tabs button.
‘Group your tabs’ is an exciting new Firefox 4 feature, which becomes available with extensions such as TabGroups Manager. When you click the > Group your tabs button, Firefox switches to a separate view. White boxes indicate your open groups and thumbnails show the respective tabs. Among many other things, you can drag and drop the tabs from one group to another. To open a new group, drag a tab to the grey space and to see a group box, drag a second tab on top of it.
A similar extension, TooManyTabs, was recently reviewed by Ann: TooManyTabs Turns Your Firefox Into A Task Management Powerhouse
New Tab King makes use of the empty space in new tabs by filling it with thumbnails of your most used websites and a search bar through which you can search your bookmarks. Much like in Google Chrome, you can pin selected thumbails and re-arrange them via drag & drop.
That alone would be great. However, there is a lot more to discover in New Tab King. Not only can you customize the look of the new tab, via the extension’s options window you can access an incredible array of additional features. Click > [CTRL] + [SHIFT] + [A] to launch the addons window, then find the > Options button for the New Tab King extension.
Strictly speaking, this is not a tabs addon. However, it provides quick access to additional search results when performing a search on Google, Yahoo, or Bing. It thus saves you opening multiple tabs.
To the right of your search engine results you will see a bar with a favicon list of websites, e.g. Amazon, Wikipedia, and Facebook. When hovering over a favicon, results from that specific domain or account will be shown. For example if you are logged into your Google Mail account, it will show show results from your personal mails. The tool comes pre-equipped with a host of sites, but you can customize it and add any domain you frequently search.
For some unknown reason I could not get this extension to work on my Windows XP computer, even after disabling most other extensions and cross-checking compatibility of the rest in Firefox 4 installed under Windows 7. I would think that blocking flash disables this extension. However, that was not the culprit.
Vertical Tabs moves your tabs into the vertical and also allows you to group them. I would recommend this extension for those of you with a high-resolution wide-screen monitor, which allows you to spare a few pixels of horizontal space to gain a better overview of your tabs. It’s great when you do research and open many tabs with identical favicons.
Like TabGroups Manager, Vertical Tabs supports > Group your tabs. Also note the > List all tabs button, which is another highlight of this extension as it provides a search feature.
Vertical Tabs is an experimental extension for Firefox 4 only.
If you don’t have any vertical space to share, you might want to work on your tabs width. This minimalistic extension does only one thing, it allows you to customize the width of your tabs. To shrink tabs indefinitely, set the minimum width to 1.
A stylish alternative to Custom Tab Width is FaviconizeTab. It reduces selected tabs to the size of its Favicon. Note that Custom Tab Width overrides FaviconizeTab, thus you have to decide for one of them.
Need more ideas to manage your tab overload? Have a look at these articles:
- 5 Effective Ways to Deal With the “Too Many Tabs” Syndrome in Firefox
- 7 Ways To Become More Productive With Firefox Tabs
- Too Many Tabs? Firefox Add-ons to manage a TAB JAM
How do you organize and manage your tabs?