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Tabbed Browsing in Firefox

        Links:  Link Target Testing,  and  Multiple Tabs Testing
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Tabbed browsing in Firefox lets you load multiple web pages into separate tabs within the same browser window.  While this is very powerful in itself, there are additional benefits that become apparent when used with additional options in Firefox.

Table of Contents for this page: can be generated into the sidebar with (Alt+O) for this page and other webpages by installing the Document Map extension, then from the View menu, click on sidebar and then Document Map.

Tabs Bar   (#tabsbar)

Tabsbar   No visibility or usage problem with only three tabs, no scroller
Tabs Bar

Tabsbar in Firefox 2.0 with a few more tabs [pictured with descriptive titles]
tabs Bar in Fx2

Tabsbar reduced in height with userChrome.css changes (those above/below are earlier)
Tabs Bar

Tabsbar in Firefox 2.0 with lots of tabs compressed with userChrome.css modifications
tabs Bar in Fx2
  Note Red bar below the active tab (10th tab) and Blue under the others.  [Screen View].  (user.js changes, also see additional changes for userChrome.css)

      user_pref("browser.tabs.tabClipWidth", 5);
      user_pref("browser.tabs.tabMinWidth", 0);
In fact widening window for 1024 x 768 monitor you can show 60-90 icons on the tab bar, depending on size of icon, and you have the "list all tabs" drop-down at right that allows you to see all of the icons with titles and can also select from there.  Tab bar icon size is not affected by your customizable toolbar choice of large or small icons,

Start a new tab (#newtab) with

  • File → New Tab (Ctrl+T)
  • Ctrl+Tkeyboard shortcut in Firefox, and other browsers
  • Ctrl+click or Ctrl+Shift+click,  on a link
  • New Tab button from Customize placed on a toolbar
  • Double-click,  on empty space on the tabs bar,
  • Right-click,  on a tab, a link, or a bookmark to bring up a context menu, then click on menu item of your choice, or type the corresponding underscored letter.
  • Drag a link,  or bookmark to empty space on the tabs bar, between two existing tabs, the tabs drop-down arrow ("List all tabs button"), or the new tab icon.
  • Drag a Tab,  Ctrl+Drag a Tab creates a duplicate tab (simply dragging a tab moves the tab) [ref]
  • Alt+Enter,  Open Address (or keyword shortcut) in New Tab from the location bar. according to Help should work from search-bar as well
  • Ctrl+Shift+T,  Restore Recently Closed Tab
  • Use of Tab context menu, if you have installed "Duplicate Tab" or "Multiple Tab Handler".

In addition:
  • Ctrl+Click on Home button starts a new tab with Homepage preloaded.  (Alt+Home (key) loads into current tab)
  • Ctrl+Click on BACK/FORWARD buttons starts a new tab with top entry of the dropdown.
Opening a new tab in foreground from a Link.

Mouse Shortcuts:   (mouse & keyboard)
1)  Ctrl+click on link
2)  Right-click on link
3)  Drag link  to   Tab  (empty or otherwise) |  between two tabs
  | empty part on tab bar | new tab button 
  | tabs dropdown    (see Drag to Tab 
  to drag links, text or files) now part of Firefox 
Mouse  Only:
Middle-click on a link to start in a new tab, unless you have system wide setting 
to something more useful like "Enter"

Right-click (context menu), Open in New Tab

There are extensions  like Perm Tabs Mod,  Tab Mix Plus (humongous)
that protect the current tab  so all you would need to do is click on a link.

Mouse Gestures (probably more than one such extension around)

Keyboard Only:
TAB  or  Shift+Tab to get to a Tab
Ctrl+Enter  to open selected link in a new tab

You can even use middle wheel on the tab bar to start a tab, but I would never waste the wheel-click on an such a trivial shortcut.  Middle-click should be assigned to "Enter", which in Windows would be via Control Panel, Mouse, ....

recommended change:  to have Ctrl+Click,  open a link in a foreground tab and to have Ctrl+Shift+Click open in a background tab simply reverse the default behavior via "Tools → Options → Tabs → (check) When I open a link in a new tab, switch to it immediately" (prior to 2.0 was "Tools → Options → Advanced → Tabbed Browsing → Select new tabs opened from links")

In my opinion there is no better setting for the wheel click than Enter and that is what I have set mine to across all applications (see mouse settings), since you frequently need to hit Enter from dialogs, input areas, location bar, search bar and your hand is already on the mouse.

The active tab is bolded by default.  You can obtain an extension from Mozilla Development to color the active tab a different color from the inactive tabs, and you can also get an extension to turn off bolding if you want to just go by the color.  But it is really better to modify your userChrome.css, see Make the active tab easier to distinguish within the “Firefox Help: Tips &Tricks” page.  See Some Userstyles for Tabs topic later on this page using the "Stylish" extension instead of placing changes directly into userChrome.css

When you realize that you wanted to go back to the previous webpage and keep both readily available, you can drag the logo of the current page to the tab bar then go back to the previous tab and use BACK button (ALT+ArrowLT, or the left side thumb mouse button).

If you want to drag a link from IE, from Outlook Express (email), from your desktop or anywhere else you can use Drag to Tab (builtin)You can drag a link to the "List all tabs" button in the same manner as the you would drag something to the New Tab button.  Suggest placing the Firefox “New Tab” button at the right end of the location bar which is easier to drag to than an empty space on a filled up tabs bar.  All or any of those can also be used to drag to your bookmarks, and your personal bookmarks are part of your bookmarks so you can drag them there as well.

  New Tab
Reload Tab
Reload All Tabs
Close Other Tabs
Duplicate Tab ...   –>
Undo Close Tab 
Bookmark This Tab
Bookmark All Tabs
Close Tab
Tabs bar

Drag and drop a link
  from anywhere.


View, Toolbars, Customize drag the "New Tab" button to any toolbar you want, suggest the same row as your location bar, especially if you don't display the tabs if you have only one tab open.

Some of the items shown on the tabs context menu are from the Duplicate Tab extension Multiple Tab extension or possibly now builtin to Firefox. Table)

Firefox Smart Location Bar
* Bookmarks only
^ History (not bookmarks)
+ Tagged
# Title
@ Url
~ Typed
$ Tabs (bug 480350)

Included with Firefox, are these options in the tab's context menu
    New Tab, Reload Tab, Reload All Tabs, Close Other Tabs, Bookmark to Tab, Bookmark all Tabs, Close Tab, Undo Close Tab.

The "Duplicate Tab" extension adds these to the tab's context menu
    Merge Windows, Duplicate Tab to New Window, Duplicate Tab.

Close button where you want it is in Browser.tabs.closeButtons *, Firefox defaults to putting it on the tab, you can put it to the far right of the tabs bar with a preference.  Addition preferences for tab widths and such can be found in fx2 - about:config preferences on my home page. Firefox is eliminating the configuration option in Firefox 31. Obviously you will need an extension at that time.

Tabs can be dragged to another position on the tabs bar.

Missing tabs bar:  Tools, Options, Tabs, chose Tabs & all other options.

For more information on other Toolbars and Menus (particularly Context Menus), see Right-Click Menus and Toolbars in Firefox (onsite).

List of advantages of Tabbed Browsing   (#advantages)

Multiple Tabs (#multitabs)

Opening a bookmark in a new tab (#bookmark2tab)

Mouse You can use Ctrl+Click on a bookmark to bring up in a new tab.
Read a mini presentation on opening bookmarks and links into new tabs (2007-07-01)

Opening a link in a new tab (#link2tab)

  1. Ctrl+click (for me Ctrl+Shift+click)   see my tabs.htm page (this page)
  2. Drag the link to the empty part of the tabs bar
  3. Drag the link to the "Open a new tab" button, which you can install looks like a file folder (sheet of paper) with a green plus on it use customize to move it to far right of the location bar
  4. Right-click on link and choose "Open link in new Tab".

Opening a new tab (#newtab)

  1. Ctrl+T
  2. double click on the empty part of the tabs bar
  3. click on the "Open a new tab" button

Keyboard Shortcuts pertaining to tabbed browsing or to the TAB key (#keyboard)

Most keyboard shortcuts are the same in all of the browsers, but the TAB shortcuts did not exist in Internet Explorer (IE6).  Now all browsers have tabs.  For a more complete list of keyboard shortcuts see Firefox and other Browser Keyboard Shortcuts (Comparison Table).

Command FirefoxInternet Explorer (IE6)
 Close Tab   [x] Middle-click on Tab
 [avoid middle-click]
 Feature Not Available
 New Tab Double-Click on Tab Bar 
 (on empty area)
 Feature Not Available
 Open in Background Tab   Ctrl+Left-click 
 Feature Not Available 
 Open in Foreground Tab  Ctrl+Shift+Left-click
 Feature Not Available 
 Open in New Window Shift+Left-click  Shift+Left-click
Mouse Shortcuts related to tabs
    By default, Ctrl+Left-click opens the link in a background tab (which will keep you navigating on the page you clicked the link on)

and Ctrl+Shift+Left-click opens the link in a foreground tab (immediate).

Recommended change:  In order to reverse this behavior, select Tools → Options → Tabs → [x] When I open a link in a new tab, switch to it immediately.
browser.­tabs.­load­In­Background change setting to False to set focus on new tabs opened from links (load in foreground)

By default, Ctrl+Left-click opens the link in a background tab (which will keep you navigating on the page you clicked the link on) and Shift+Ctrl+Left-click opens the link in a foreground tab.  In order to reverse this behavior, select Tools → Options → Tabs → [x] When I open a link in a new tab, switch to it immediately (Fx 2.0).

browser.tabs.loadBookmarksInBackground, default is False
browser.tabs.loadDivertedInBackground, default is False
browser.tabs.loadInBackground, default is True, mine is set to False to reverse behavior of shortcuts
browser.tabs.loadOnNewTab, default is 0
duplicatetab.newtab.focus, default is true
ipv6ident.newtab, default is false, mine is set to true (used by "ShowIP" extension)

Keyboard shortcuts for Browser Tabs (#keyboardwithtab)

I know I have confused keyboard shortcuts [badly revised] and mouse shortcuts in the past, but the following is from Firefox help and the shortcuts in yellow below are very important and that is the reason they are in yellow, but they sure seem like mouse shortcuts to me. 
Command FirefoxInternet Explorer (IE6)
 Close Tab Ctrl+W
 Feature Not Available
 Close Window Ctrl+Shift+W
 New Tab Ctrl+T Feature Not Available 
 Next Tab Ctrl+Tab
 Feature Not Available
 New Window Ctrl+N Ctrl+N
 Open Link in New Tab Ctrl+Click  Feature Not Available
 Open Link in New Window  Shift+Click Shift+Click
 Open Address in New Tab Alt+Click  Feature Not Available
 Previous Tab Ctrl+Shift+Tab
 Feature Not Available
 Select Tab [1 to 9]  Ctrl+[1 to 9]  Feature Not Available
Keyboard Shortcuts related to tabs (you can tab to a link)

Open Link in New Tab, and in New Window is also available in the context menu (right-click menu).

You can use the HTML section below as a sandbox to test the use shortcut keys related to tabs.

Mouse on Toolbar Icons (#mouseontoolbar)

MouseToolbar Button Shortcuts -- Firefox
 Open Back page in New Tab Ctrl+BackButton
 Open Back page in New Window Shift+BackButton
 Open Forward page in New Tab Ctrl+ForwardButton
 Open Forward page in New Window Shift+ForwardButton
 Open Home page in New Tab Ctrl+HomeButton
 Open Home page in New Window Shift+HomeButton
For More information on these and on keyboard shortcuts for Firefox and other browsers, see Browser Keyboard Shortcuts (Table) on another page.

Middle-click   (#middleclick)

I use the middle-click for “Enter” in my Default *** Mouse Settings, which I consider much better than the usage shown in the mouse shortcuts table above.  Besides I want a more definite thing to close a tab rather than something that could occur accidentally so I use the [x] button on the tabs bar to close or Ctrl+W (also available on the context menu for a tab.

Do not install any extension that would override your choice of middle-click on your mouse.  A wheel click should be set to ENTER because that is the most useful setting for a person using the mouse especially for those using the mouse with their right hand, and using the important keyboard shortcuts [badly revised] almost all of which use the left hand.

With the middle-click assigned to Enter there is no need for space wasting buttons like the <Go> button, a <Search> button or any need to remove hand from mouse when you paste by clicking with right hand, Ctrl+V with left hand, and Enter with the middle button.  Many dialog boxes can be answered with Enter without moving the mouse, so hitting Enter on the mouse make a lot of sense.  Pasting to location bar or search bar is easily completed by hitting Enter so there is no need to move your hand off the mouse or to move either hand, just middle-click control for Enter on the mouse.  Test that middle-click is is assigned to Enter by clicking on this Javascript link then middle click to invoke [OK] button (should work regardless of cursor position within current Firefox window or invoked dialog.)

Shortcuts involving the TAB key (#tabkey)

The Tab key can be used to move from one link to another on the page, providing the ability to choose a link without using the mouse.  Shift+Tab to go through links in opposite direction. [Firefox shortcut]  Order can be changed within an HTML Table with TABINDEX.

Alt+Tab key go through the Windows or select a window.  Shift+Alt+Tab to go through in opposite direction.  Useful for when going through email to collect links to look at shortly. [Windows shortcut]

Ctrl+Tab key go to Next Tab or use Ctrl+PageDown.  Ctrl+Shift selects previous browser tab or use Ctrl+PageUp.  (also see Mozilla HELP article Keyboard shortcuts, or for comparison and help across several browsers see keyboard on this site)

Tab in focus means you clicked on the tab and the dots around the text appear within the tab, and provides previous tab with Ctrl+LtArrow or Ctrl+UpArrow, and next tab with Ctrl+RtArrow or Ctrl+DnArrow, and also provides for moving the focused tab to the first position with Ctrl+Home.

Keyword shortcuts and bookmarklets involving tabs (#kws)

Also see:  Firefox Keyword Shortcuts, which contains a subtopic on multiple tab keyword, also have a large list of all my public keywrd shortcuts (327KB, 830 keyword shortcuts or links).
keyworddescription (suggest including keyword at beginning of description)
NT:-- Open in New Tab (NT:)
javascript:(function(){var a=document.getElementsByTagName('a');for(var i=0,j=a.length;i=0)continue;if(a[i].href.indexOf('#')>=0)continue;a[i].setAttribute('target','_blank');var img=document.createElement('img');img.setAttribute('class', 'new-window');img.setAttribute('src','data:image/gif;base64,'+'R0lGODlhEAAMALMLAL66tBISEjExMdTQyBoaGjs7OyUlJWZmZgAAAMzMzP///////wAAAAAAAAAAAAAA'+'ACH5BAEAAAsALAAAAAAQAAwAAAQ/cMlZqr2Tps13yVJBjOT4gYairqohCTDMsu4iHHgwr7UA/LqdopZS'+'DBBIpGG5lBQH0GgtU9xNJ9XZ1cnsNicRADs=');img.setAttribute('style','width:16px!important;height:12px!important;border:none!important;background:pink;');a[i].appendChild(img);}})();
NT: (modified) to skip links to bookmarklets and links with fragment-id
ST:-- Open in Same Tab (ST:)

Large Screens (#largescreens)

The purpose of a large screen is to be able to run several applications at the same time so that all can be viewed at the same time.  It is not to spread a Firefox window to the four corners of the screen.  Your size of the font you use and the width of column(s) should be what is comfortable to you, but the rest of the space on the screen is not up for grabs.  In fact as you get into wider screens it is even more important to place a limitation on the use of sidepanels, advertising, banners etc. just so that you can make the window narrower to see more things.

The Find bar can prevent a Firefox window from being narrowed, so you might exit the find and then reinvoke it after the window has been narrowed.

The Split Browser extension allows you to view several Firefox windows within your Firefox Window, in fact each split window can have it's own tabs.

Windows Vista has some provisions for layers of screens (3-D) that you can switch from one to the other, don't know if they are like separate monitors\ or running separate virtual operating systems. (Future: once I have more information it will probably appear on my Vista page).

Multiple Windows (#multiwindows)

Even though you use mainly tabs there is still good reason to use multiple windows as well, such as to isolate a group of pages for a subtask, possible a set of Google Search related pages.

Speeding up Browsing with Tabs (#speedup)

Blogs (#blogs)

With a folder of blogs in your Bookmarks Bar you can start a new window (Ctrl+W) click on the folder then on the last item “Open in Tabs” to open all of the blogs you are interested in at once, a definite advantage on a dial-up phone line, but also advantageous on high speed access and allows you to look at each.  When finished looking at a blog, check the toolbar BACK and FORWARD icons -- if there are no forward or back for that tab, simply exit out of that tab and you are done with that tab as you can simply close that tab ([x] without worry about previous surfing within that tab; otherwise, quickly use the Back button to back through the links for the tab, or Right-click on the Back or Forward buttons to bring up a lists of links visited within this tab. 

summary:  Speeds up selecting a group of web sites.  If you want to stop looking at any blogs simply close the entire window.

Reading for Speed (#speed)

Speed:  adding more tabs while continuing to view current article — Hold Ctrl+Shift then click on link.  Depending on your tab preferences there may be slight variations in this shortcut, but this is how it works for me.   For example with my preferences Ctrl+click places link in a new tab, it is possible to be configured that simply clicking on a link creates a new tab, but you would still have the means to create a new tab without leaving your current tab.

Presentation (#presentation)

You can put together a presentation with a sequence of tabs, then bookmark all of the tabs into a folder with an extension.  You might be able to even play the results back through a digital projector without even having a computer connected if it accepts media card if you make screen shots of the presentation.

Other Use of Tabs

Email with Outlook Express (#email)

Click on a link and the link will open as a tab on the active Firefox window.  The advantage here is that while the link is loading, simply click on the email's window and click on an additional link, repeat as wanted.  All of the links will be downloading and will probably all be available by the time you've read the first one.

I do not know why OE is picking up Firefox when IE is the default for .htm, .html and others, but it is exactly what I want, the only problem is if it ever stops working or someone wants to duplicate what I use, it might not be duplicated.  I do make a point of not allowing anything to check if it is the default browser.  Actually now a moot point for me since after several months of use, I have made Firefox my default browser.

LockerGnome and other newsletters with lots of links:
Your newsletter as email would be the rightmost item on your Windows taskbar.  Now open another Firefox window from your quick launch, so the browser window is to the right of the email newsletter.  Click on a link in the email and it will open a new tab in the browser, to get back immediately to the email to add more tabs to your browser use the Windows shortcut to switch windows -- Alt+TAB (left hand), and choose another link in the email (right hand, left click on mouse).  When you have all of your links: delete the newsletter, and start with leftmost tab in the browser.  When finished reading an article, delete the browser Tab using the [x] to right of the tab bar (you won't have to look to see which tab is the open one).

Another choice:  Click on the link and then instead of Alt+TAB, click on the browser in the taskbar to minimize browser window and continue picking out links in the email.  Actually you can switch by clicking on the email on the taskbar or on the open browser on the taskbar.

Best choice:  align the email at least one inch to the left of where the browser window comes up.  Click on the email window to switch back to the email and continue finding links to look at (later).  You will not see the vertical scrollbar in your mail browser unless you click back, so use the mouse wheel instead to advance to next page when needed.  So all you need to do is left click on email body to return to email, then click on a link in the email, or use the wheel to scroll forward to the next screen within the email.

Google Search Preferences (#google)

Google Preferences (as seen from a Google Search look for Preferences), for me that would be: q=why&hl=en &lr=lang_en&newwindow=1 &c2coff=1
        Google uses a country suffix for other countries (non US).
    Results Window   [x] Open search results in a new browser window (target="_new"). You will want to set the about:config variable to true.
    While there suggest also increasing your results per page to 100.

The following examples apply to other pages as well, but since Google produces a lot of results the demonstration is very effective here:

Start a Google Search in a new window, click on a link you are interested in or drag the link to after the last tab on the tab bar, return to the first tab with the search and continue picking additional links of interest. 

Profile and Chrome modifications   (#profile)

If you are not familiar with user.js in your profile directory, and the chrome subdirectory containing userChrome.css and userContent.css you might might want to read about them before continuing. 

Listings of my some of my own profile files not necessarily current can be found as follows:  (links are to .txt copies)
  prefs.jsuser.jschrome/userChrome.css,  and chrome/userContent.js 

♦ userChrome.css   (#userchrome)

You can skip over this section, and go directly to the next topic, which uses the Stylish extension to simplify installation and testing of style changes.

userChrome code changes for Bookmarks Bar with folders in blue, and filenames in red; and Tabs Bar underlining as inactive tab, active tab, and unread tabs, and a smaller font size on all toolbars.

This is just a portion of my userChrome.css, but this part applies to Tabs (picture and more information).  More information on colors.  Firefox users would do well to install the ColorZilla extension for checking color within the body of a webpage, even if you can't check the color of tabs.  For Windows users Color Detector ( will detect the color of any pixel on the screen.

/* CHOICE -- curved Tabs (uses default image, narrow range viewing)  ****
.tabbrowser-tabs, .tab-image-left, .tab-image-middle, .tab-image-right {
   -moz-opacity: 0.95 !important;   /* .9 hint, .8 too faded */ /*  
   background-color: transparent !important;}      ****/

/* CHOICE -- Flat Tabs (no image obscuring of text) */
.tabbrowser-tabs, .tab-image-left, .tab-image-middle, .tab-image-right {
   background-image: none !important;       
   background-color: transparent !important;} 

/* Change color of active tab */
tab[selected="true"] {
   -moz-appearance: none !important;
   background-color: #FFFFFF !important;
   border-left: solid 1px #FF0000   !important;
   border-bottom: solid 2px #FF0000   !important;
   font-size: 80%  !important;
   color: #000000 !important; }

/* Change color of normal tabs */
tab:not([selected="true"]) {
   background-color: #EBEBEB!important;
   border-left: solid 1px #0066CC   !important;
   border-right: solid 1px  !important;
   border-bottom: 2px solid #0066CC   !important;
   font-size: 80%  !important;
   color: black !important; }/* Default color of unread tab */

/* Change color for text and underline of unread tabs */
#content tab:not([selected]) {
  color: #005500 !important;
  border-bottom: 2px solid #00BB00  !important;

 * pack all tabs as densely as we can;
 * also define various tab decorations
 * as referenced 2006-12-17 by Tony Mechelynck
 *************************************** */
.tabbrowser-tabs *|tab
  { margin:             0px             !important
  ; border-width:       1px             
  ; border-style:       solid           !important
  ; -moz-border-radius: 2px 2px 0px 0px !important
  ; border-collapse:    collapse        !important
  ; padding:            0px             !important
  ; text-align:         left            !important

/* Change width of tabs*  -- also requires 
   browser.tabs.tabMinWidth  set to 0 in about:config */
.tabbrowser-tabs *|tab {
    height:    14px !important;
    min-width: 8px !important }
.tab-close-button, .tab-close-button-placeholder {
    height: 14px !important; padding:0px; margin:0px;}
.tabs-closebutton { height:14px !important; } 
.tabs-closebutton {padding:0px 0px 0px 0px  !important; 
    margin:0px 0px 0px 0px  !important; }
Additional personal changes to userChrome.css can be seen in code
References to source of code are included throughout, but the most comprehensive site appears to be [list].   Changes in my own userChrome.css code include:  change to flat tabs from curved tabs, lighten all tabs especially the active tab, red bar below active tab, and blue bar below inactive tabs, green bar below unread tabs,  pack all tabs closely, change height of tabs and their font, widen the search box, make sidebar width flexible.  Includes add vertical scrollbars to bookmarks, context menu, and all menus as described at  Remove Go History menu, Go buttons, widen bookmarks menus, identify nofollow and new page links, and change height of bookmarks bar, statusbar, and tabs bar.
Changes to Bookmarks toolbar remove file/folder icons, change folder names to blue, and filenames to red.  Changes do not affect the dropdowns where you will still see the folder/file icons.  The bookmarks drop down width was increased. See these three topics in the userChrome.css code.
/* Make bookmark folders items bold (900) and navy blue (#0000EE)*/
/* make bookmark file items on toolbar red */
/* remove folder/file icons from bookmarks toolbar -- */
related:  Changing Firefox windows back to classic mode - MozillaZine Knowledge Base
      Chrome element names and IDs - MozillaZine Knowledge Base
Style Properties
The following lists some of the custom style properties that Mozilla supports.

Some Userstyles Mostly for Tabs (#userstyles)

Since I now use Styles within the "Stylish" extension to effect chrome changes instead of userChrome.css you can find better pictures and a different viewpoint on the descriptions by looking at my Toolbars page.

I have separated out some of the things that I have/had in userChrome.css into Stylish styles so that they can be tested independently and without taking Firefox down. 

The idea here is to use minimum real estate Toolbars, so that you have more screen space to use your browser for it's intended purpose of looking at web pages not space hogging graphics on toolbars that you already have a good idea of what they contain.

I use my own styles, most of the time, except that TEST profile is for my TEST profile

Additional suggestions, the following are not mine, nor related to Tabs, but I use them at least occasionally.

Pictures of toolbars before with wasteful usage (even though small icons were chosen), and taken after styling changes for a much better use of screen real estate.
[before]  [after]

Excess space removal from Toolbars (#excessspaceremoval)

Results of eliminating excess space within userChrome.css by making code changes: [modified] Unfortunately the Title Bar is part of Windows and not of Firefox.  There are changes that can be made to the wording on the titlebar, but I don't have any changes to affect just the Firefox title bar.  The toolbars actually overlap but the appearance is very close to what I wanted in my customizations of the toolbars.

Compare to basically unmodified toolbar below (small icons used): [newuser] As you can see the modifications above have saved a lot of space on the toolbars.  The personal bookmark toolbars above show blue folders, and red bookmarks, instead of the wasteful usage seen in a picture on my Vista page.

So far my Fx3 toolbars look like this, with unwanted bottom borders that actually [fx3 customized] interfere with the location bar, and sometimes have to use Ctrl+L just to be able to type into the location bar, or to click on the upper half of the home button to get to Home.  Places is new with Fx3.  The width of the window show is about 1/3 my actual screen width, so both the Search bar and the Location bar actually would have lots of space to work with even at 1/2 the screen width.

Firefox 3:  (very bad things in store for skinning) Firefox 3 icons preview : Mozilla Links, fx3 future diaster possibility Alex Faaborg - » A First Look at Firefox 3’s Icons, Alex Faaborg - » The Shape of Things to Come?, also see New FF3 icons preview - don't like it at all (Lars-Erik Řsterud, 2007-12-15).  The HOME button moved to personal toolbar.  Toolbars become hard to customize: can't move search box up to menu bar (2008-02-06).

userContent.css (#usercontent)

This is just a portion of my userContent.css, but this part applies to Links, and
you will be able to test your changes (after Exiting Firefox completely and restarting). 
I have converted some of what is in my userContent.css to userstyles as I had done for my userChrome.css   (see my userstyles above).
 * Until bugs 103843 and 105547 get fixed, a helpful workaround
 * to highlight some links which would pop up a new window:
:link:hover[target="_blank"], :visited:hover[target="_blank"] {
  color: white !important; background: blue !important;
:link:hover[target="_new"], :visited:hover[target="_new"] {
  color: white !important; background: red !important;

/* Change cursor for links that open in new window  userContent
:link[target="_blank"], :visited[target="_blank"],
:link[target="_new"],   :visited[target="_new"] { 
   cursor:  crosshair; 

/* Change cursor for JavaScript links */ 
a[href^="javascript:"] { 
   cursor: move; }
Additional personal changes to userContent.css can be seen in code.  Also see my userstyles above as much of my userContent.css can be found in styles.

Preferences in about:config or user.js (#userjs)

Look up items of interest in About:config entries - MozillaZine Knowledge Base, for entries in your user.js and/or as found in about:config.  Some items you can filter on to see what you have for tabs vs. windows.,   newtab,   newwindow,   open_newwindow,   openintab,   .tabs.,   windowopen

Safe Mode is a debugging startup mode where all added extensions are disabled and the default theme and toolbar settings are used.  Note, however, that all available plugins are used and any changes made to options and preferences remain in effect in Safe Mode.  So your about:config changes are in effect in Safe Mode.  (also see my profile page.

Rewriting HTML for tabbed browsers (#html)

This area is being worked on, haven't come up with a working set of options to open New Window only (like Ctrl+N) when I want it, or to open New Tab only (like Ctrl+T) when I want it without resorting to use of right click or short cut keys override.  Part of problem is that you cannot tell from a link what it would do without personalized changes to userContent.

Use of target="_new" gets you out of someone's frames (including your own) so that it will not appear to be part of the current site.  Many sites steal content from other sites by masquarading content as their own, which is theft.  So one of those attributes should be used if linking to another site from one with frames. 

With tabbed browsers, now some people don't like these attributes and think that the webpage is taking control of their browsing.

For browsing you can manually force the link to the tab bar by dragging it to the tab bar, all completely under your control.  See

 <base target="_blank">
 <a href="..." >

Open in Multiple Tabs (#openinmultipletabs)

There is more information on my keyword shortcut page (kws.htm), concerning use of JavaScript to open multiple tabs, such as having a keyword shortcut to search two search engines at same time, and also on that page shopping links to search several sites for prices on a wanted item.

Open Multiple Urls in one link on a web page, also takes an extra step here to show that the link will not work if JavaScript is not active.

Test <a href="'tabs.htm');'../ie/bookmarklets.htm');void(0);">open two links</a>
<noscript>(Test will not work because JavaScript is Turned off)</noscript>
Test open two links

Test of Applications   (#application)

Test of Images (#images)

♦ target="..."   tests for Opening Links in same/new window/tab   (#target)

The following list was created to help you test your configuration of Firefox.  Don't know if anyone ever wants to it or not, but there appears to be no shortcut to force Firefox to open in the same (self) tab.  Be prepared for loss of BACK function with use of target=, probably not a problem for new tabs, but for the same tab can be a problem. 
New If you are not getting the experience you want from these tests, you can change your configuration entries with about:config (tutorial), to help you with spot the specific entries you might want to change for these tests, a stripped down version can be found in tabs_config, extracted from About:config entries - MozillaZine Knowledge Base consisting primarily of selected entries for: , , browser.tabs.

The use of Frames in HTML documents should be avoided, and are often used to steal web content; nevertheless, you may want to check out use of targets and use of some keyboard shortcuts [badly revised] in frames in

Multiple views of this page in FRAMES

A (anchor), there are a lot of options for anchor statements besides target, but it is only target that will be tested below.

Before testing target=, it would be a good idea to make some profile changes see profile changes above.

The target attribute specifies the name of a frame where a document is to be opened.
Test whether request for new window opens in new window or new tab, can alway override with a keyboard shortcut
Highly recommend installing "Tab Counter" extension (4KB), which Counts the number of open tabs per window and displays the count in the toolbar.

Google search Target= testing
Additional Target= testing
JavaScript Link Tests (#js_tests)

Tool Tips (#tooltips)

Somewhat similar to tooltips on hovering over areas in the above, are items that you might get more information with in a bookmarklet (href:, parentips:, id: -- see boxes at Related items) or with Web Developer (tools, web developer, information, Display Classes & IDs, or Display anchors) which will display on page until you hit Reload (F5).

File extensions styling: (#linkstyles)

Styles to show content types for links:

Test style changes for extension suffixes:  (just for testing appearance)
For the most part these tests are strictly to check out styling of the links, there may or may not be an actual file to link to.

If you made the modifications suggested under usercontent then when you hover over the new window links you would see target="_new" and target="_blank" both with a Precision Select (cross-hair) pointer instead of a Link Select (hand) pointer.  Test:

Nofollow link 2007-05-28, can be identified with No Follow links, mouseover id of other links (DM*) | also covers test of target="_new" and of target="_blank"– (simulated links) which can be done with styles instead of userContent.css.

  • test of target="_blank",

    The Link Alert Extension can provide symbols on mouseover for various types of files [options (picture)]

    Specific File Types or Applications  (#filetypes)

    Specific Problem Sites  (#probsites)

    Problems: (#problems)

    More style formatting solutions or adding more garishness

    The following is from a reply posting by Roland de Ruiter (2006-08-31).
    Current date and time: -- when page was opened/reloaded.

    My window.opener:

    Press first button BEFORE pressing second button from within new window.

    I don't think this is working in the intended fashion, the first button does open a new window, but the second button does not appear to do anything.  According to the reply I should be looking in the Java console for errors. Reset (F5)(need code, no way to test)
    Something more to try:
    :script ReformatPage
    :Synopsis This script responds to the "Reformat the page" hot key
    :Description Repeat "Reformat the page" with the SayString function to the user when activated.  Then it sends Firefox a key command with the TypeKey function. Key Activation: Control+Shift+F5 Key Send:

    References for anchor targets (#anchorref)

    If you want to make all links with _new or _blank start instead in a new tab then change the  browser.tabs.opentabfor.windowopen  from FALSE to TRUE in about:config — You can still override with SHIFT+Click or with Right-click then “Open Link in New Window”.

    If the links are not opening in the manner that you want check out Tools, Options, Tabs (next topic) and About:config for tab (below next topic)

  • Forms Test (#formstest)

    You can test use of keyboard usage of SPACEBAR and TAB key and reverse with SHIFT using Search Bug Report

    Text Area Test (#textarea)


    javascript:alert('words in selection: ' + document.getSelection().split(' ').length)

    Tools, Options, Tabs   (#optionstab)

    Tab preferences described in

    Please keep in mind that these are my choices, and you might want something else, but this might get you started or at least figure out what the differerences are between your options and mine.  (screenshot from Firefox  Firefox 2 has rearranged the same options and changed wording for a more logical arrangement and consistent checkmarks.

    Firefox 2 rearranged TABS layout (#fx2new)

    New Pages should be opened in
          (_) a new Window
          (*) a new Tab
      [x] Warn when closing multiple tabs
      [x] Warn me when opening multiple tabs might slow down Firefox
      [x] Always show the tab bar
      [x] When I open a link in a new tab, switch to it immediately

    [Ok]  [Cancel]  [Help]
    Firefox 1.5.0.* arrangement was

    Open links from other applications in:
          (_) a new window
          (x) a new tab in the most recent window
          (_) the most recent tab/window
      [x] Force links that open new windows to open in:
          (_) the same tab/window as the link
          (x) a new tab
      [_] Hide the tab bar when only one web site is open
      [x] Select new tabs opened from links
      [x] Warn when closing multiple tabs

    [Ok]  [Cancel]  [Help]
    [options tabs] [options tabs]

    Test your changes at Test of Opening Links... (above).

    Firefox 2, Tab Options

    Firefox 2, does not have a tab options tab, so instead use Tools, Options, Advanced, tabs, or use about:config (see 2006-10-01, Nir) equivalent (read about in ) use 3 for new tab use 3 for new tab 2

    About:config for tab (#config)

    These are not necessarily recommendations, as I am trying to get things to work out best for me.  Table was created 2005-02-06 (still valid in Firefox on 2006-08-01 some entries are extraneous) and might not represent actual usage later on.  Generally more concerned with User Set exceptions to defaults.  The change for browser.tabs.insertRelatedAfterCurrent is the fix-up for change made in Firefox 3.6 concerning tab order and is highly recommended.
    StatusTypePreference Name Value
     default integer accessibility.tabfocus  7 
     user set  boolean   browser.tabs.autoHide False 
     default boolean browser.tabs.forceHide  False 
     user set boolean browser.tabs.insertRelatedAfterCurrent  False 
     default boolean  browser.tabs.loadBookmarksInBackground False 
     default boolean  browser.tabs.loadDivertedInBackground False 
     user set boolean  browser.tabs.loadFolderAndReplace  False 
     default integer browser.tabs.loadGroup  1 
     user set boolean  browser.tabs.loadInBackground  False 
     default integer browser.tabs.loadOnNewTab bug 269664  0 
     default boolean  browser.tabs.opentabfor.bookmarks False 
     default boolean  browser.tabs.opentabfor.middleclick True 
     default boolean browser.tabs.opentabfor.urlbar  True 
     user set boolean  browser.tabs.opentabfor.windowopen True 
     user set boolean  browser.tabs.showSingleWindowModePrefs  True 
     default boolean browser.tabs.warnOnClose  True 
     default boolean browser.tabs.warnOnCloseOther  True 
     user set boolean  linkification.settings.Linkify_OpenInTab  True 
     user set boolean  linkification.settings.Linkify_OpenTabInBG   False 
     default integer undoclosetab.cache  3 
     default integer undoclosetab.tabmenu_position  7 
     user set boolean True 
     user set boolean  False 
    See Companion page (tabs_config.htm) for more tabs/windows options/descriptions

    About:config entries - MozillaZine Knowledge Base important article, some entries become obsolete.

    There is a Companion Page (tabs_config.htm) that shows the specific entries for Tabs and Windows among the many about:config entries that you could change; and also, how some specific suggestions whether you want links to show up in Tabs or in Windows.

    Extensions involving Tabs – right click on tab   (#extensions)

    Sizes are provided for comparison see link and extension for more up to date sizes, and more complete descriptions.  Most of the links below point to the additional information on my home page which might be missed by going directly to the addons site.
    BarTab, reduces memory requirements if you have a lot of tabs open, and prevents Flash files from starting up when restoring a session after crash or shut down.
    Bookmark all Tabs (builtin to Firefox)
    Close Tab By Double Click (2KB), Close current tab by double-clicking it.  Complements builtin creation of a new tab by double-click on empty space on the tab bar.  Does not work if using Multiple Tab Handler extension.
    ColorfulTabs (36KB), Colors every tab in a different color.  Not recommended and would interfere with useful tab styling.
    Copy All URLs (46KB), will create a clipboard list of all titles and URLs of the tabs in the window, or create HTML code for all tabs in the window.  It is invoked from the text body of a page. (Documentation)
    CopyURL Plus (18KB), Copy to clipboard a single link via context menu as a formatted link the document's URL along with the title or the selection. (Documentation)
    Duplicate Tab (56KB), allows you to duplicate the tab to another tab, to another window, or to recombine tabs from another window (merge), and to mark "(*) " tabs with a prefix.  (see the link for Fx3 notes). Multiple Tab Handler has a lot more features.
    Firefox Showcase (238KB), thumbnail views of tabs. (Not recommended, and the real pisser is it will be built-in to Firefox 3.6, and dropping List all tabs(lines))
    FoxTab (440KB), 3D tabbed browsing extension with 5 attractive layouts to choose from to flip through thumbnail views of tabs. Apple-like screen effects. (Not recommended)
    How Many Times Can I Back? (13.3KB), Count of items available using BACK/FORWARD buttons , and/or page number within total pages shown for each tab .
    How'd I get here, go to the page on which you first clicked a link to the current page.[toolbar]. Also see Tab History goes back to the parent with the BACK button.
    Linky (32KB), lets you open or download all or selected links, image links and even web addresses found in the text in separate or different tabs or windows.
    Multiple Tab Handler (23KB), handles multiple tab selections.  Has most of the "Duplicate Tab" features, and lot single and multiple tab features for opening, bookmarking, and closing selected tabs. My own usage details.
    New Tab Homepage, (4KB) loads your homepage when you open a new tab. If you have multiple homepages, the first is chosen. (apparently some people want this as it is in Internet Explorer)
    No-Referrer (3KB), open a link in a new tab, without sending the referrer... [context] as "Open Link in New Tab Without R..."
    Perma Tabs (12KB), turn tabs of your choice into permanent tabs(Alt+P), that can't be closed accidentally, and won't open links into same locked tab.  Not using because conflicts with Customize Google streaming option. (Fx3 is fixed) -- Use the Perma Tabs Mod in Fx3.
    Plain Text to Link (59KB), open plain text link in new tab/window [context menu]
    Tabberwocky (40KB), duplicate, protect, & lock tab, open selected links, multirow tab bar, tab progress bars, new & close tab buttons, tab clicking, tab opening & closing, menu items, and more!  I don't use this, has features that I'm not interested in, but it has features that I do use from other extensions.
    Tab Clicking Options (30KB) (Not updated), Using Multiple Tab Handler and only need/want/use this to close tab with double-click including the last tab. The following actions are in options to invoke by simply clicking on a tab (double click, middle click, ctrl+click, alt+click or shift+click) or the tabbar: - Open a new tab,  - Reload tab,  - Reload all tabs,  - Close tab,  - Close other tabs,  - Close all tabs,  - Duplicate Tab,  - Duplicate Tab in New Window,  - Undo Close Tab,  - Bookmark Tab,  - Bookmark All Tabs
    Tab Control, (5KB), Options: Position new tabs to the right of the current tab, Switch to the left tab when closing the current tab, Set some or all javascript'ed windows to redirect into tabs. (obtain ext at AMO) Built-in to Firefox 3.6.8 see firefox.htm#fx3p6 to revert to normal tabs added at far right.
    Tab Counter (46.9KB, originaly 4KB), adds a tab counter to the toolbars. Suggest placing between tabs drop-down, and close tab button at far right of tabs bar.  16    Yellow background added by style (Tabs Bar Minimal Size).
    Tab History (2KB), New tabs will go BACK to the originating (parent) tab, where there would otherwise be nothing to go back to.
    Tab Mix Plus (564.2KB), not interested for myself, consider it a bloated extension, expect it has and will continue to have a lot of problems.  One item I was interested in can be done with the "NT:" bookmarklet on this page, or with the "Perma Tabs Mod" extension.
    Tab To Window (42KB),Open a tab in a new window. Join a tab to an existing window.
    Tabs Menu, Tabs menu to the main menu that lets you easily change between tabs. Not needed yet seems replacing Tabs List in 3.6 for Showcase tabs must have been decided would have been very bad.
    Tabs Open Relative (5KB), open to the right of the current tab, rather than at the far right of the tab bar, simpler than Tab Mix Plus, but not at all interested in that type of placement for myself.
    Tab Splitter (43KB), by nat_13, Splits you current browser in half (Vert or Horiz) and allows you to view two web pages at once with the ability to use tabs in both browsers.  You can place the browser vertically or horizontal.  (related: Split browser)
    Throbber Button (22KB), puts four links on the throbber than can be opened in the current tab.  Since throbber button no longer used and keyword shortcuts work just fine, no longer of interest.
    Undo Close Tab (builtin), is very useful, builtin since Firefox 2.0

    Related interest: (these pages are in links on my home page)
    Menu Editor extension, allows you to reorganize your context menus such as the Main Context Menu and the Tab Context Menu.  Example of Lesson in changing Tab Context Menu
    Right-click Context Menus available in Firefox, modified by additions of extensions and/or Menu Editor extension.

    Of possible interest for others that think they want tabs in sidebar:
    Tree Style Tab (71 KB), by SHIMODA Hiroshi, provides tree-style tab bar, like a folder tree of Windows Explorer.  New tabs opened from links (or etc.) are automatically attached to the current tab.  If you often use many many tabs, it will help your web browsing because you can understand relations of tabs.  Other choices include Tab Sidebar and Sidebar Tabs

    More Tab Extensions:  (
    Tabbed Browsing extensions at by name.  Choose extensions carefully, many duplicate what you can do with options/preferences, others actually make tab browsing more difficult, and produce a bloated Firefox.

    Mozilla Addons reimplemented Advanced Search in Firefox 3.0 (2008-06-17) that had been dismantled in March 2007.  While it was gone I had used this for Tab extensions -- the actual search consists of: inurl:firefox install-now -inurl:en-US -inurl:application -inurl:recommended -inurl:versions -inurl:php tabbed-browsing OR intitle:tab OR intitle:tabs

    Copy All URLs (#copyallurls)

    Copies and pastes all urls of open tabs inclusive history in structured and well defined form to and from the clipboard.  Options are too messy, Multiple Tab Handler has a lot more features so am using it instead. Don't really need the sorting of tab information offered here.

    Duplicate Tab   (#duplicatetab)

    Duplicate Tab -- - twanno site for the extension
       Ctrl+Shift+T    to duplicate a tab to a new tab (note conflicts with Reopen closed tab)
                         in the current window
       Ctrl+Shift+N    to duplicate a tab in a new window
       Ctrl+Shift+M    to merge windows in Firefox
    (*) ...
    three of the above actions can be invoked through the tab's context menu or through shortcut-key's.  Ctrl+click on Tab will generate “(*)” prefix to the tab's title (toggles).  Documents preferences usage with conflicting extensions with similar features (Tab Mix Plus, Mouse Gestures)
     Compare to Firefox built-in keys
       Ctrl+T     new tab
       Ctrl+N     new window
       Ctrl+M     new message  (even works with Outlook Express)

    For more information on Extensions see my Firefox page

    Miscellaneous Tab References (#misc)

    Tab Killer   (#tabkiller)

    If you don't want to work with tabs at all, try the Tab Killer extension by SHIMODA Hiroshi, which disables tabbed browsing features of Firefox completely, note even the author of the extension does not believe in suppressing use of tabs and wrote it only for those that don't want tabs.

    Some people want to keep their browsing-style based on SDI applications like Netscape Navigator 4, so, this will help them.  The Tab Killer extension provides an alternative to some people, who want to use Gecko based browser and don't want to use tabbed browsing feature.

    This might also work from a posting (2006-08-27, Penguiniator) plus some by NIR, type about:config into the location bar and in the filter box type browser.tabs and later, set the following:
   set to 2 set to 0 to 1
        (problem converting from Firefox 1.5 to 2.0) set to 2
      browser.tabs.forceHide True
      browser.tabs.opentabfor.middleclick false
      browser.tabs.opentabfor.urlbar false (obsolete)

    Reminder:  about:config configuration entries are explained in and suggest you create a keyword shortcut of "aboutconfig:" to help you locate the documenation quickly.  Don't forget to test you settings with the target link provided on this page.

    Note:  Most users do not normally want to open additional windows in general, so you should also check the other options as well in the Companion Page because even among those who hate tabs there will not be agreement on everything.

    There is a Companion Page (tabs_config.htm) that shows the specific entries for Tabs and Windows among the many about:config entries that you could change; and also, how some specific suggestions whether you want links to show up in Tabs or in Windows.

    After you have made your changes you can test above at target="..."

    Ctrl+N        will open a new window (empty), or options to open home page(s) []
    Shift+click   will open link in a new window

    Dragging a link to the New Window toolbar button will open the link in a new window.
    The context menu for a link provides "Open link in New Window",
    and the context menu for a bookmark provides "Open in New Window" as well.

    Dragging a link to another window, will open the link in the window it is dragged to.

    Bugs of particular interest relating to Tabs (#bugs)

    Some additional points to be worked into this page (#more)

    This is the warning, it does not control saving tabs
    Tools, Options, Tabs
         [x] warn me when closing multiple tabs
    Saving tabs is built-in  to Firefox starting with Fx2,  you are asked when you 
    startup if you want to use the old tabs or start over.  
    If you are on Fx3  and you can remember part of a recently used
    webpage by parts of it's title and parts of its url you can type  words
    into they location bar and look at the autocomplete dropdown
    (nicknamed  AwesomeBar).    Another way to find your recently used
    webpages is through History  (Ctrl+H)  then in the upper right corner
    of the history sidebar  you can  chose an sort order to help  you find
    something along with the use of the search bar on the history sidebar.
    If you want to keep some items around for tabs,  you can use one
    or more of these.
    1)  Home page,  you can have more than one home page
          Tools, Options, Content
    2)  Group pages into a bookmark folder,  then when you left
         click on the folder you can open all of it's bookmarks into tabs,
         with the option at the bottom  "Open All in Tabs".
    3)  You can lock/unlock  a tab so that  you can't delete it without first
          unlocking it  using the tab's context (right-click) menu, if you 
          install the  "Perma Tabs" extension,  currently you  have to install
          the hacked version called  "Perma Tabs Mod" if on Fx 3.0.1
          such things are noted on my home page.
    Another way since you are cataloging some of them is to give your bookmarks
    nicknames by assigning a keyword shortcut of your choice, then you can bring
    up the webpage in a tab anytime (use Alt+Enter to open in a new tab) simply
    by using a keyword.  Some help with keyword shortcuts.  See
     and Keyword addition for Add/Change Bookmark (Fx3)   

    Bookmarklets;  There are a lot of links on this page.  The following BookMarklets (Favelets) will distinguish between internal or external links.  First click on "highlight links",  and then on "int/ext links".  Your browser's Reset button (F5) will reload the original unmodified web page. 
    This page was introduced on January 09, 2005. 
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