What is Tabbed Browsing ?
Outdated material; included only for historical reference
I admit that I was a little slow to appreciate the attraction of
tabbed browsers. At least part of the reason for that is that
Mozilla pages don't explain tabs very well - there seems to be an
implicit assumption that you'll just immediately understand both
how to use tabs and why you'd want to.
The "how" is the easiest part. There are several ways to create
tabs - once you have a browser that has this feature. If you are
using Firefox or some other tab capable browser, right clicking on
a link lets you choose "Open Link in New Tab". You can do the same
thing with Bookmarks - right click, and choose the new tab option.
That's great, but if you are new to this, you are probably confused
already because unless you look carefully, it doesn't seem like
anything special happened when you did that: the page opened, and
So let's do it a different way, at least at first. Choose File
-> New Tab. This opens a blank page, with a tab that says
"(Untitled)", and now you are much more apt to notice the tab to
its left that has the title of your other page (the page you
started at). Click on that tab, and you are back at your first
page. Click on the "(Untitled)" tab again, and you return to the
blank page. Now, while in the blank tab, either type something into
the browser address box or pull down and select a bookmark. Your
page appears, and the "(Untitled)" tab gets a label from that
You probably didn't notice these tabs when you just did the
right click, but now that you understand what happens, you can open
new tabs with whatever seems more natural too you. With some
browsers, you can set a preference so that all links clicked open
in a new tab rather than replacing the existing window or opening a
But so what?
OK, so it is easy to open pages in tabs. What's the big deal?
Why do people talk about this like they just discovered chocolate
ice cream? Well, if you are a serious web user, you probably always
have three or four pages open at once and are switching back and
forth between them. Without tabs, you use the Window menu, or your
task bar. There's no tremendous advantage of tabs over those
methods, but if you try tabs for a while, you might find that you
like them better. But here's something you can only do with tabs:
bookmark a whole set at once. If you have a favorite set of pages
you always have open, you can bookmark the whole set at once and
reopen all of them in tabs with one click. So, for example, I have
my home page, Gmail, Google Groups, and my Adsense page saved as a
group. One click, and they are all open, ready for me. I can click
to move betwwen them, or just use CTRL-PageUp and CTRL-PageDown -
that's much more convenient than windows. Of course I still can use
browser windows, and I do : I have another, different set of tabbed
pages in a separate browser window.
More recently, Firefox added the ability to have a set of tabs
as your "Home" page - that makes it very easy to have all your
favorite pages load when Firefox opens. However, it does mean
that you can't click the Home icon again without opening another set
of the same pages, doubling every one if the original set is still open.
That's why tabbed browsing is important, and why more and more
browsers have the feature or will be adding it soon. Even the next version
of Internet Explorer will finally add tabs.
Got something to add? Send me email.
Increase ad revenue 50-250% with Ezoic
More Articles by Tony Lawrence
Find me on Google+
© 2009-11-07 Tony Lawrence