Fix Tab Overload in Chrome with OneTab

A soda can, showing the tab opener.

If you’re like me, you probably have more than a couple of tabs open on your browser of choice. If you’re a lot like me, then you actually have three different browser windows open with the number of tabs in each window ranging from five to thirty-seven. There are a lot of reasons to have all those tabs open, we tell ourselves: it’s for a blog post; it’s for my research; it’s something that won’t save well in Pocket or Instapaper. And all of those things may be true. But what is also true is that all of these tabs take a toll on your computer’s performance.

What you real need is the ability to get all of these tabs summarized into one handy place. A way to keep them as a list without having to copy and paste URLs, so you can get back to what you want to read when you have the time. What you need, it turns out, is OneTab. OneTab is a free, simple extension for the Chrome browser. The five-second installation adds a button to the browser tool bar, and with a single click of that button, OneTab boils down all of your tabs into — you guessed it — one tab. The list of tabs is clickable, so you can easily re-open whichever one you would like, all the while keeping your memory usage minimal.

OneTab screenshot


But OneTab has a few more tricks up its sleeve. With one click, you can re-open all your tabs or delete them all. If you want to share your tabs with others, a single click will publish the group as a web page. Finally, you can export the URLs (which gives you a big text block of the URLs to copy and paste) as well as import URLs. What this means is that you can export a list of URLs on one instance of Chrome, email the list to yourself, and then open it on another computer. That’s a pretty handy trick, if you’re not already using Chrome’s syncing features.

I’ve written previously about the Tab Groups feature in Firefox, which lets you group and re-arrange your tabs so your not looking at so many of them at once. But this feature doesn’t really help with the memory load, and it’s not implemented nearly as elegantly as OneTab has done. I move back and forth between Firefox and Chrome on a regular basis, depending on which computer I’m using, but OneTab makes a pretty compelling case for working in Chrome a little more often. Thanks to Tim Carmody and Alexis Madrigal for drawing my attention to it!

How do you manage all of your tabs? Is OneTab something that you’d find useful? Let us know in the comments!

Lead image: Stay-on-tab / Daniel Novta / CC BY 2.0

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