How to Manage Unwieldy Sessions in Chrome and Firefox

When Firefox first revolutionized the way we browse the Web with the addition of multiple tabs in the same window, people thought it was a godsend. Of course, it wasn’t long before the novelty of being able to open multiple pages in a single browser wore off, and many users were stuck with dozens, even hundreds, of unwieldy tabs open at the same time.

Power users found themselves buried under mountains of pages, but luckily major browsers like Firefox and Chrome both come with third-party add-ons that can help you reign in these browsing sessions and better organize your tabs in an efficient and visually friendly manner.

Firefox natively comes with the ability to save your sessions if the browser accidentally crashes out or you reboot with a window open, but the only way to manage your tabs up top is along the horizontal tab bar, which can quickly grow out of control if you have twenty or more tabs open. This makes it impossible to choose the right tab if you have multiple Gmail accounts open in the same window, for example, without clicking through each one and hoping you get the right pick on the first go.

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This is where extensions like Tree Tabs come in handy. Tree Tabs visually splits up all your tabs in a vertical sidebar that lets you easily categorize which tabs belong in which groups by simply dragging and dropping them in their specified location. Say, for example, you’re doing research on dinosaurs. For every tab you have open on that subject, you can drag those pages underneath the master page (in this example, the primary Google search). From there you can even create more sub-trees underneath pages, creating even more organization as you go deeper into your research.

Tree Tabs also lets you save your sessions on the fly, create entire groups of tabs at once that can be closed or opened at will, and even provides a handy search tool that will let you search through all opened and saved tabs for the exact phrase you were looking for. For anyone who finds themselves lost in the depths of 20+ tab hell, there are few other extensions as functional and helpful as Tab Trees for Firefox.

Other helpful tab organizers and session managers like Session Sync are more basic in their implementation but also require a lot less maintenance overall. Session Sync automatically autosaves your sessions periodically and will back them up into the folder of your choosing.

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This makes it easier to guarantee that Firefox won’t accidentally overwrite older sessions and also lets you scroll through an archive of all your autosaved sessions to find the right one in case of a power outage or accidental shutdown.

Like Tree Tabs, Tab Outliner for Chrome organizes all your open tabs into a simple, visually clean vertical sidebar that lets you take all your tabs and easily drag/drop them into any configuration you choose. Also like Tree Tabs, Tab Outliner doubles as a powerful session manager which makes it simple to create groups of tabs that you want to have opened each time you boot the Chrome browser (a clutch of different Gmail accounts, for example).

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By allowing users to utilize both the tree and subgroup structuring methods, it becomes extremely easy to see exactly which tabs you have open, where they’re grouped, and which ones need to be closed to save on memory space. The only drawback to Tab Outliner is that unlike Tree Tabs, you won’t have a search function that will crawl your open tabs for specific words or phrases that are contained either within the title of a webpage or the content itself.

If you want something a bit lighter and more visually intuitive like a tab/session manager for Chrome, we recommend trying out Peek-a-Tab.

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This extension lets you quickly and easily open up a dropdown menu from the right side of your screen that contains a list of every open tab you have running in your current session, as well as easily preview those tabs by simply hovering over the site title. This makes it a lot easier to understand what you’ve been up to in your session without having to dig through a bunch of text, while also closing any tabs you don’t need en masse with a tightly designed drag-and-drop interface.

2 comments

  1. “Power users found themselves buried under mountains of pages”
    That’s charitable name for those users. Having zillion tabs open does not make one a “power user”. It makes one lazy and disorganized. While having every site you may go to during the day open first thing in the morning and throughout the day may be convenient, it creates a lot of problems. First and foremost, the more tabs that are open, the slower the browser works. The more tabs that are open, the more memory a browser uses. More tabs, higher chance of confusion. Using tab management add-ons and extensions is counter productive. It’s not enough that the dozens of tabs slow down the browser, you then load extensions which run all the time and slow down the browser even more. Wouldn’t it be much simpler to limit oneself to no more than 5 or 10 tabs and to open/close them as needed?

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