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.


Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the book, Follow the Geeks.

Editor's Picks