The Minimalistic Approach To Firefox Tab Overload

Tina Sieber 16-11-2013

Do you have a tendency to open dozens of tabs? You won’t solve the dilemma by installing more and more extensions. Efficient tab management isn’t necessarily about the tools you use, but about your mindset. You can, however, use browser features and add-ons to organize tabs for different projects and better navigate between them. This in turn can help you increase your focus and productivity.


Firefox offers a host of ways to manage tabs and you will find many of them on our Best Firefox Addons The Best Firefox Addons Firefox is famous for its extensions. But which addons are the most useful? Here are the ones we think are best, what they do, and where you can find them. Read More page. Let me show you a minimal setup with native features and key extensions to manage your tabs.

Firefox Tab Management Extensions

Duplicate Tab Closer [No Longer Available]

This is one extension I will recommend to those of you who have dozens of tabs open right now. Before further organizing your tabs, run Duplicate Tab Closer to get rid of any duplicate and empty tabs. The good news is, you won’t have to restart Firefox after installing this extension. Once installed, you’ll find a button in the addon toolbar, typically in the bottom right of the browser; the tooltip says “Close blank and duplicate tabs.” One click and they are all gone.

Duplicte Tab Closer

Before you go ahead, disable this extension; hopefully, you won’t need it again.

Native Firefox Features

Every now and then, Firefox internalizes good extensions and offers them as native feature, one prominent example being the browser session manager. With the major release of Firefox 4 in 2010, two features relevant for managing tabs were introduced: List all tabs and Tab Groups. The former essentially replaces an extension known as Tabs Menu [No Longer Available], while the latter can serve as a simplistic alternative for the more complex TabGroups Manager [No Longer Available].


List All Tabs

To see a list of all your open tabs, click the arrowhead to the left of your open tabs. Rather than vertically scrolling up and down a long row of narrow tabs, you can go through this vertical list and quickly find the tab you’re looking for.

Firefox List All Tabs

The Tabs Menu [No Longer Available] extension differs from this native feature in two ways. (1) It literally appears as a Tabs menu, meaning the main Menu Bar must be enabled, which in turn disables the orange Firefox button. Alternatively, you can click the [ALT] key to temporarily view the Menu Bar. (2) It offers a New Tab and Close Tab option and numeric keyboard shortcuts.

Tabs Menu Firefox Extension


My recommendation is to go with the native feature to save space and system resources.

Tab Groups

You have seen the tiled button to open Tab Groups in prevoius screenshots. Click the tiled button to the left of your open tabs or the respective option in the list of all open tabs. This will take you to a screen with all your tabs stacked in one group. To create a new group, drag a tab out of its current group. To get a better overview you can re-size, re-name, and groups around.

Firefox Tab Groups

See our detailed review of Tab Groups Organize Firefox Open Tabs With Tab Groups It's very easy to lose yourself amidst stacks of open tabs. The more tabs you open, the more difficult it is to keep track of them and to move between opened sites. Mozilla has tried... Read More for a thorough introduction into this powerful Firefox tool.


The idea for this native feature might have come from the TabGroups Manager. The extension, however, adds an additional toolbar with category tabs. The categories in turn give access to the open tabs they contain. To save system resources, single categories can be hibernated.

TabGroups Manager

We have previously introduced TabGroups Manager as a great Firefox addon for tabbed browsing The Best Firefox Addons Firefox is famous for its extensions. But which addons are the most useful? Here are the ones we think are best, what they do, and where you can find them. Read More and as an effective way to deal with too many tabs 5 Effective Ways to Deal With the "Too Many Tabs" Syndrome in Firefox Read More . Tricks of the latter also include using your bookmarks or the Session Manager [No Longer Available] extension to save & store project-related tabs How To Make The Most of Firefox's Session Manager Restoring browser sessions was a milestone in browser development. Meanwhile, all browsers offer this feature to some extent. Firefox allows you to restore previous windows and tabs, but it doesn't come with an elaborate session... Read More until you need them.

The Mindset: Simplify

As I said previously, no number of extensions or features can help you slim down the tabs you have amassed. There is only one way: You have to work your way through them.


The Tab Groups feature should be sufficient to organize your tabs into projects or themes. From there you can focus on one group at a time. Work on your project, jump between tabs using the tab list feature, and either save the entire project or bookmark pages you might need to reference later.

Both a smaller number of open tabs and fewer extensions will save system resources. On top of that, if tabs are tucked away in more manageable groups, you won’t feel as overwhelmed.

How do you manage to keep the number of tabs down? Or have you arranged yourself with tab overload? What is your strategy?

Related topics: GTD, Mozilla Firefox, Tab Management, Time Management.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Frustrated
    August 25, 2016 at 6:12 am

    How can I disable tabs completely?

    • Tina Sieber
      August 25, 2016 at 9:38 am

      Have you tried this extension: [Broken Link Removed]
      If you don't like tabs in general, you could probably force all links to open in a new window.

  2. likefunbutnot
    November 17, 2013 at 4:45 am

    I keep dozens of tabs open. I have done so for more than a decade. It really doesn't bother me. Some of the tabs in question have been carried over from computer to computer and have been open for more than five years. Having lots of open browser tabs really doesn't bother me. I don't see this as a problem.

  3. AriesWarlock
    November 16, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    You know, since I installed one add-on, Mix Tab Plus I believe, a lot of tabs are hidden, greyed out. I have to click on Tab Groups, select one and then the tab appears. Anybody knows how can I turn off this annoying feature?