Emerging Tech

How to use 'Pin Tab' to organize your work in Google Chrome

Google Chrome's "Pin Tab" feature is an often-overlooked option that can help power users organize their work in the browser and manage tab creep.

A lot of power users on the web suffer from tab creep. You get so many browser tabs open that it quickly becomes confusing to find your most-used tabs, such as webmail, social media, and web apps for work.

Google Chrome has a handy little solution that can help with this, and although it's been around for years I've noticed that a lot of users don't realize that it's an option. I'm talking about the "Pin Tab" feature, and if you're not familiar with it, then I'll give you a quick rundown on why it can be useful and how it works.

Since browser tabs spawn from left to right, the first tabs you open are located on the left until you start moving tabs around. As a result, most people tend to keep their most important tabs on the left, either by default since they were the first tabs they opened or by purposefully tucking their most-used tabs over to the left side so that they don't get nudged across the screen as new tabs spawn.

With that in mind, the Chrome browser offers the ability to lock some of your most-used tabs to the left of your browser and shrink the tabs to icon size so that you can fit a bunch of your favorites in a small space. That's the "Pin Tab" feature.

To start using this to organize your tabs, all you have to do is to right-click on a tab in Google Chrome and select the "Pin Tab" option.

You can do this for all of your web apps that you keep open all day. This will anchor all of the them on the left and then you can then move around the pinned tabs among each other and order them how you prefer. One of the other nice things about the Pin Tab feature is that you can't close these tabs by accident since the "X" goes away once you pin them.

That's really all there is to it. This is a handy organizational option for power users who use Chrome. However, there are also a few things you need to remember about pinned tabs:

  • You can't mix pinned and non-pinned tabs. When you're moving around pinned tabs, you can only move them among other pinned tabs on the left side.
  • Any new links that you click to open in a new tab will always open to the right of your entire set of pinned tabs -- even if you're opening a link from within a pinned tab.
  • When you pin a tab, you no longer see the numbered update counts (right) for things such as Gmail, Twitter, and other services that give you a live count on the browser bar of new things going on within the page since the last time you were active on that tab.
  • Once a tab is pinned, you have to right-click on it and select "Unpin Tab" or "Close Tab" in order to be able to get rid of it.

Was this tip useful? Do you have productivity tips of your own to share? Post your comments, feedback, and favorite tips in the discussion below.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

28 comments
peoplegil
peoplegil

I recently discovered and starting using the Pin Tab feature.  I agree it is handy.  A few days ago all the pinned tabs disappeared.  I am almost sure that these tabs have survived through previous restarts.  I do not know what I did to make them go away.  Can you give me any hints so that this does not happen again?  

Marius Dejess
Marius Dejess

In Firefox all the tabs can be re-opened right away; but with Chrome tabs: when they have not been opened for a while, they go away, i.e., they take time to reload.

How does a user keep Chrome tabs on alert to be opened again once the user left-click on any one of them, and even all one by one?

Please notify me by email, mdejess(@)gmail.com.

Marius Dejess

Gorge77777
Gorge77777

There is a gmail labs option which shows unread message count in the fav icon itself. _Unread message icon_  Then when you pin gmail you can still see how many unread messages you have.

Tonowando
Tonowando

a much better feature in Google Chrome , is the Multiple Profiles feature . create as many profiles as you like . each profile keeps it's apps , history ,bookmarks , cookies and login [ passwords ] separate from your other profiles . you can also set your profile to reopen on set tabs or last tabs opened . this Profiles features is great for research and multiple projects . Profiles can be given names or titles of your choice . your searches for home or vacation projects , can be kept separate from you actual searches that are research for your employment . no comparison here , if you want to organize your Chrome browser ? start using the multiple profiles feature .

vinodmerch
vinodmerch

I wonder if Google can work with list box /es. This will be I hope much better

Peter_Pan_7
Peter_Pan_7

As an extension, Tab Mix Plus among others, offers this feature for Firefox with more options and flexibility than this native option in Chrome. I am quite sure it's now also native in Firefox. Once Google will stop sneaking, sharing and selling private information, I will give Chrome a try. It is reported to be faster and lighter than Firefox. But I am also afraid that Google will change GUI without wondering about user needs: they believe to know always what is good for users and to impose their change to users like they do for GMal and Google Apps. I do not use these nice applications just because of that! Cheers from France

laseray
laseray

Opera has the same thing, but you can also group tabs by dragging them over each other. Then you have nice separate bunches that you can expand or contract with a click on a side arrow.

hjxnm01
hjxnm01

When you pin tabs, the tabs reopen the next time you start the browser.

lassiter12
lassiter12

I came here on Firefox, read the story, then checked it out on Ff. Right clicked on the tab, saw pin tab, clicked it, and voila!

Carloslp369
Carloslp369

Wow Very cool, and thanks for sharing.

barthelm
barthelm

I can't believe I never found this before. I am a victim of tab creep so this should help a lot. Do other browsers offer this?

minstrelmike
minstrelmike

That's useful info. I don't spend the time I used to trying out every option presented just to see what it may do for me. Thanx for doing that for us.

Donald.Nagy
Donald.Nagy

This feature - i really like. Don :-) 949 258 3451

Herrenrod
Herrenrod

another cool thing with pinned tabs is that whatever page you have open in them will persist even if you close the browser. The webpages of pinned tabs will re-open when Chrome launches again. Very useful.

Non-techie Talk
Non-techie Talk

I like Pinned Tabs, and use Pinned Tabs, but that next level of tab management for Chrome should be what Opera's already doing - grouped tabs.

DAS01
DAS01

I reckon the feature was cribbed from Firefox... still, good to have it also on Chrome, which I use as well.

Dei401
Dei401

Thanks for sharing this tip. Great!

ssharkins
ssharkins

Thanks! I use Chrome a lot and I do suffer from tab creep -- this is great!

gadutra
gadutra

As much as I know of the existence of this function, I have not used it. Thanks for reminding me.

polvda
polvda

In my version of Chrome there is no option "Pin Tab" in the right-click menu. Windows 7, Chrome 24.0.1312.57 m Am I missing something ?

cliff_baker_1
cliff_baker_1

Useful feature. Just checked Firefox and that has it too (Pin as App Tab)

frylock
frylock

Nice little feature. I also like the "reopen closed tab" option in the right-click menu, saved me a headache a few times.

giscoobe
giscoobe

How to begin to use the profiles feature? I briefly looked, but didn't find it.

polvda
polvda

Sorry, my bad, must have been blind

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