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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Switch Tabs faster and search across open Tabs in Firefox

Skill level of tweak: EASY

Ever wanted to manage tabs on your Firefox in a better manner? Want a preview pane for open tabs? Want to switch between tabs faster? Then this small trick will help you. The following about:config tweak will help you to view and search content across tabs and also switch between them quicker. A few posts back i wrote about a tweak on How to start firefox always in private browsing mode which also uses about:config's options. For the uninitiated, about:config is an under the hood page in the Firefox browser where you can tweak the default settings.

In the Address bar, type about:config .

In the search box on this page,  type browser.ctrlTab.previews

Change the value of this option to true (default is false)

Now close the about:config page. I would recommend restarting firefox after this.

This tab preview feature works when two or more tabs are open i.e a minimum of 3 tabs must be open. Well, that makes sense since tabs are difficult to manage only when they are more in number.

After you have at least 3 tabs open, press ctrl-tab. This will bring up a new floating pane in the centre of your browser which looks strikingly similar to the windows Alt-Tab pane.

It works very much the same as your Alt-tab feature of windows. Holding the ctrl button, keep pressing the tab button to switch tabs.

Also pressing shift-ctrl-tab will open a pane showing all open tabs.Just click on a tab to go to that tab.Middle clicking on a tab closes it. And, this works even if one tab is open unlike the above said ctrl-tab option.

Another interesting option is the ability to search for keywords across tabs. This is a bit different from the Ctrl-F feature which searches for content in the current tab.

I am unable to see the reason why Firefox disabled this option by default.

Note: Even though there is a search feature in the tab preview pane, its still hit or miss. Seems like the reason why Firefox decided to disable it. The tab switching works well though.

There is also an add-on called fox tab which does the trick. But then, it is not as lite and comes with too many options which can confuse the user. The above tweak gives a simple yet useful solution.