Implement Vertical Tabs within Major Browsers

Tabs are an integral part of some software. Browsing the Internet without tabs would feel like a significant downgrade, and tabs have proven so popular they’re developed as extensions for other programs. Their appearance is widely understood, as is their functionality. They’re towards the top of the window and generally rounded or squared off at the corners.

Vertical tabs change the playing field again, and in this article we’ll show you how to get them in browsers that support them.

We covered Vivaldi in the past, though its default features earmark it for inclusion here. Vivaldi supports vertical tabs as standard despite being a relative of Chromium browsers, which are covered separately.


1. Click the Vivaldi logo button in the upper left corner of the browser window.


2. Move the cursor over the “Tools” sub-menu, and then select Settings.


3. A new window will appear with option categories on the left and specific options on the right. Select Tabs on the left, then look for the “Tabs Position” heading.


4. Select either Left Side or Right Side; the latter is a radical departure by most standards. Regardless of what you choose, the tabs should now be vertical.


Under Tab Options is a tickbox to “Show Tab Thumbnails,” and you can experiment with this feature.

When it comes to vertical tabs, Firefox presents something of a conundrum. There are numerous extensions which appear to have the functionality, but many of them are outdated. Even if you force compatibility, the odds of them working flawlessly aren’t great due to changes in the browser’s code.


We suggest you check the comments on any add-on prior to installing to see whether other users have had positive experiences or not. We elected to use Tab Utilities since it was most recently updated, but other add-ons may be developed or updated in the future.


1. Begin by downloading and installing Tab Utilities from the Mozilla Addons website. Accept the associated prompts and restart the browser.


2. Once Firefox has restarted, you’ll notice new buttons on the left of the browser UI.

3. Click the third new button from the left to bring up the Tab Utilities options.


4. From the options window that appears, you’ll be able to see just how much the extension can do. You’re welcome to tinker with the extension at your leisure, but we’ll skip right ahead to moving the tabs around.


5. Select the “Appearance” heading, and leave it on the first sub-tab.


6. Change the position to either left or right. Like in Vivaldi, moving the tabs to the right side of the browser makes for a big change. Confirm the change, and you should be done.

Chrome and its related browsers have a lot in common, right down to their extension compatibility. Extensions for Chromium-based browsers are more restrictive than those for Firefox, but you can still get vertical tabs.


vTabs works well, though its implementation is a little strange. You’ll want to install the extension from the Chrome Web Store, then right click the icon that appears in the address bar.


From this icon, select “Options,” and you have a variety of options. If you’d like the vertical tabs to appear persistently, we suggest changing their position to “always on.”


Open a new tab – the extension did not appear to work with the tabs we had prior to its installation – and a list of tabs should appear on the left. These can be moved through in the same way as with any other browser.


Beyond the initial setup, vTabs is comparable to the sidebar in Opera due to the breadth and depth of its features, including a built-in “notes” function as well as a button for bringing up your recent tab history.


As you can see, vertical tabs are a rare feature to include as standard and one that you’ll have to put work in for. However, they totally change how you can work with tabs, and they make more efficient use of your screen space. The number of tabs visible at once is greatly increased, though if you’re on a lower resolution display, you may find websites too compressed for your liking.

If you do decide to join us in checking out vertical tabs, let us know your experiences in the comments. Were you happy with the change? Did it take long for you to adjust?