How to use the Chrome OS tab manager

Google has finally introduced a well-designed, user-friendly tab manager for Chrome OS. Jack Wallen shows you how easy it is to work with.

Chrome OS: How to use the tab manager

Google is all about making Chrome OS as efficient and user-friendly as possible. To date, one thing they've been really hit and miss on is tab management. Yes, there are plenty of tab manager add-ons you can get from the Chrome Web Store, but many of them either offer too many features or don't work as expected. Missing is that user-pleasing middle ground that holds only the features necessary for making the management of too many tabs a feat of simplicity. Don't get me wrong, Google has attempted various iterations of tab management, but have failed miserably.

That ends now, as Google has finally delivered on that promised tab nirvana.

It's not a tab manager for grouping tabs, sharing tabs, renaming or cloning tabs. Google's tab manager has one, and only one, job--to make it easy for you to work when you have a metaphorical metric ton of tabs open--and it works, really well.

Let me show you how easy it is to manage your tabs with this tool.

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What you'll need

This feature is only available on Chrome OS, so you won't find it for Chrome running on a different platform. The feature can only be had on recent updates to the platform. I'm currently running Chrome OS 88.4324.85 and the Tab Manager is there, ready to use.

To find out which version of Chrome OS you're running, simply open Settings and click About Chrome OS--you should see the version number listed at the top of the window (Figure A).

Figure A

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Locating the release number for your Chrome OS device.

To make this even easier, the tab manager requires no installation beyond updating Chrome OS. 

How to use the Chrome OS tab manager

Open Chrome on your Chromebook. If you see a downward-pointing arrow to the right of the New Tab button, the feature is available (Figure B).

Figure B

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The Tab Manager button on Chrome OS.

Click that button, or hit the Ctrl+Shift+a key combination, and a drop-down will appear listing all of your currently opened tabs (Figure C).

Figure C

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All of my currently opened tabs on Chrome.

You have two ways of finding the tab you're looking for: 

  1. You can scroll through the list.
  2. You can search. 

The nice thing about the search is that it'll locate any word in the website's title. For example, if you have a number of sites open that include "news" in their title, you can run a search for "news" to reveal those sites. The search is somewhat fuzzy, so you don't have to be exact with your capitalization. 

Once you find the site you want to work with in the drop-down, click it and it will take focus in the browser. Or, if it's a tab you want to close, click the X associated with the tab (in the Tab Manager drop-down) and the tab will close without having to navigate to it first.

That's all the features you'll find in the Chrome OS Tab Manager. It's bare bones, but gets the job done with a simplicity and ease of use you'd expect from the Chromebook platform.

The Chrome OS Tab Manager isn't going to wow you with its good looks and litany of awe-inspiring features. However, what it will do is make your work more efficiently--especially if you're prone to working with enough open tabs to make it impossible to see what is what at the top of your browser.

This feature should be considered a must-use for all Chromebook power users. Upgrade Chrome OS now, and make your Chromebook experience even better.

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Also see

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Image: Jack Wallen