Tips and Tricks to Managing Tabs in Safari

If you are a Mac user, Safari’s deep integration with the Mac OS X operating system makes it the best desktop browser that you can have. While Safari is not as popular as Chrome or Firefox, there are hidden goodies that many users are not aware of – such as the tab management. Here are several tips and tricks to managing tabs in Safari.

Tabbed browsing was introduced in the mid-90s and took off in the early 2000s. The concept radically changed how we browse the web – from browsing a few websites at a time using multiple windows to browsing tons of sites in one window using tons of tabs.

Opening a Tab

It’s the same thing in the Mac realm under Safari. While you can use the point-and-click method to open a new tab, the fastest way to do it is by using a shortcut. The keyboard combination to open a new tab is “Command + T.”

Safari Tabs -mte- open new

Closing a Tab

What about closing an open tab? You can hover your mouse over the open tab and click the “X” button to close the tab, but the “Command + W” keyboard combination is faster.

Re-Opening a Closed Tab

If you accidentally close a tab because you get happy fingers with the “close a tab” shortcut, you can restore the last closed tab by using “Command + Z” (undo). But please note that you can only use this command right after you close the tab. If you’ve done something else after that, the undo command will affect that action instead.

Moving Between Tabs

Another nifty trick that you can do with your open tabs in Safari is to move between them using “Command + Shift + [” (to switch to the left tab) and “Command + Shift + ]” (to switch to the right tab). You can also use “Command + (number 1-9)” to go quickly to one of the first nine opened tabs. For example, if you press “Command + 7”, you will go to your seventh tab.

Opening a Link in a New Tab

And last but not least, if you “Command + Click” a link, it will be opened in a new tab, and the tab will become the focus, while if you do “Command + Shift + Click,” the link will be opened in a background tab. You can also replace the “Command” key with the “Option” key to open the link in a new window instead of a new tab.

This behavior is exactly the opposite in Chrome. If you prefer Safari to behave similar to Chrome, open “Preferences -> Tab” and uncheck the “When a new tab or window opens, make it active” option.

Safari Tabs -mte- Preferences

Pinning Tabs

If you want to make some of the tabs “sticky,” you can pin them. It means that the tabs will always stay at the foremost left of Safari, and they will always be opened every time you open Safari or open a new window.

The concept of a pinned tab would be perfect for the sites that you visit often such as your webmail pages or your blog’s admin area so that these sites will always be available.

To pin a tab you can right-click anywhere on an open page and select “Pin It,” but it would be faster if you right-clicked on the tab of that page. You can also do it via the “Window -> Pin Tab” menu.

Safari Tab -mte- pin tab

If there’s one disadvantage to browsing with tabs, it is that users tend to abuse them to open tons of pages. Even though using tabs is more resource-friendly than using windows, your Mac will feel the beating if you open too many tabs. The computer will slow down as all of the system resources will be used up by the tabs.

Chrome and Firefox users have OneTab, an add-on that can help them convert all the open tabs (or a few of the selected open tabs) into one tab of links to save a lot of system resources. These links can be re-opened again into a tab just by clicking it, grouped into clusters of links, locked so they won’t disappear, and exported into a shareable web page.

While OneTab is not available for Safari, there’s a similar tool called TabLister. Even though it’s not as feature-rich as OneTab, it’s great to temporarily reduce resource usage, especially for those with aged machines, so that it can be used by other application.

Safari Tab -mte- tablister

These tab tips and tricks are just a few of many. If you know of others, please share using the comment below.

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