Tame your web browser tabs with the Toby ex­ten­sion

Maximum PC - - R&D - –CAR­RIE MAR­SHALL

WE ALL DO IT: We open one web browser tab, then another, then a whole bunch more. Be­fore we know it, our com­puter is wheez­ing un­der the strain of so many open browser tabs, we can’t find the web­site we were look­ing at 10 sec­onds ago, and the tab bar has be­come to­tally in­com­pre­hen­si­ble. And if the browser crashes….

Thank good­ness for Toby. Toby is a browser ex­ten­sion for Chrome, Opera, or Fire­fox that you can use to tame your browser tabs in two ways. First, you can use it to or­ga­nize groups of tabs into “col­lec­tions,” which you can then open with a sin­gle click later. For ex­am­ple, you might have a col­lec­tion for news sites, or for en­ter­tain­ment, or for work stuff. And se­cond, you can use the Toby ex­ten­sion to save all the cur­rently open tabs, so you can ac­cess them again later. As you’ll dis­cover, Toby is very use­ful, but it isn’t hard to set up or use.

1 IN­STALL THE EX­TEN­SION Toby doesn’t work on Mi­crosoft Edge, but it is avail­able for Chrome, Fire­fox, and Opera. The first thing to do is cre­ate an ac­count at http://get­toby.com. This en­ables you to sync your book­marks with Toby’s servers in case of a browser crash (and be­tween dif­fer­ent de­vices, if you have more than one com­puter— which is a use­ful thing to have on its own). In­vite friends to use Toby and you’ll un­lock a dark theme, too, al­though this ob­vi­ously isn’t es­sen­tial to get­ting started, and ac­tu­ally seems like an odd thing to in­clude when you’re us­ing some­thing new for the first time. Click “Add Ex­ten­sion” to in­stall it [ Im­age A]. 2 OPEN SOME SITES The eas­i­est way to get started with Toby is to open a se­lec­tion of web­sites, each one in its own tab. If you click the “New Tab” but­ton to the right of the right­most tab, you should see this screen [ Im­age B]. Your browser may com­plain about the fact that an ex­ten­sion is chang­ing what you’re see­ing when you open a new tab for brows­ing, but that’s fine here, be­cause it’s you that’s chang­ing how you use your browser. Toby isn’t usu­ally shock­ing pink, by the way; this color scheme is just used at the be­gin­ning to help you get started, by high­light­ing the key parts of the in­ter­face. As the prompt sug­gests, click the “+” icon to start your first col­lec­tion. 3 CHOOSE A GOOD NAME You can store mul­ti­ple col­lec­tions of sites, so it’s a good idea to give any col­lec­tion a mean­ing­ful and dis­tinct name, so that it’s clear what sites it con­tains. Try to be spe­cific, too, as your sec­tions will grow as you use it, and generic ti­tles such as “News” can be too all-en­com­pass­ing. Here we’re go­ing to go for “Amaz­ing tech news,” be­cause we’re go­ing to col­lect a se­lec­tion of tech­nol­ogy web­sites. You should see another prompt, this time to drag “How to use Toby” to your new col­lec­tion [ Im­age C]. Drag it just un­der your col­lec­tion’s ti­tle, and the pink hue should dis­ap­pear. 4 START YOUR COL­LEC­TION You should now see the “How to use Toby” tab un­der­neath your col­lec­tion’s ti­tle [ Im­age D]. If you look to the right of the browser win­dow, you’ll see rec­tan­gles for all your other open browser tabs. To add them to the cur­rent col­lec­tion, sim­ply se­lect and drag them one at a time into your “Amaz­ing tech news” sec­tion, just to the right of the “How to use Toby” en­try. Each one should ap­pear in the col­lec­tion with a pre­view of its con­tent. You can change the or­der of the sites by drag­ging them around.

5 FIN­ISH YOUR COL­LEC­TION As you drag a site from the right of the screen, it dis­ap­pears from the list of open tabs, and if you look at the tab bar at the top of the browser win­dow, you’ll see those tabs have closed, too. That’s en­tirely de­lib­er­ate: Toby’s goal is to close tabs un­til you ac­tu­ally need them. It can be a lit­tle hard to see, but there’s an “Open Tabs” link at the right of your col­lec­tion [ Im­age E]. Click­ing this but­ton opens all the tabs from that col­lec­tion. Press­ing it again opens all the tabs a se­cond time—al­though this has no use­ful ben­e­fit, it does high­light how Toby works. You can close those tabs us­ing the list on the right, or by sim­ply clos­ing the tabs as nor­mal. 6 MAKE SOME MORE You can have dif­fer­ent col­lec­tions for all kinds of things and group them by sub­ject—as we’ve done here [ Im­age F]— or on a per-job or per-task ba­sis. So, for ex­am­ple, if you were re­search­ing a project, you might cre­ate a col­lec­tion for all your re­search doc­u­ments. You can edit the col­lec­tion’s ti­tle or delete it al­to­gether by click­ing the icon with three ver­ti­cal dots at the right of the col­lec­tion. This can be use­ful as the nu­ances of your col­lec­tions ap­pear—as you drill down into par­tic­u­lar sub­jects, say, but want to keep the orig­i­nal group­ing. 7 USE YOUR COL­LEC­TION Once you’ve cre­ated one or more col­lec­tions, you’ll see them listed when­ever you open a new browser tab. You can then click the “Open Tabs” link to open the con­tents of that col­lec­tion [ Im­age G], or you can click the “Share” link to send the tabs to some­body else. The lit­tle ar­rows next to the “Share” link en­able you to re-or­der your col­lec­tions on the “New Tab” screen by mov­ing them up or down. 8 SAVE YOUR SES­SION Toby has another ex­cel­lent trick up its sleeve: It adds a lit­tle icon to the far-right of Chrome’s ad­dress bar that en­ables you to open Toby or save the tabs in your cur­rent ses­sion [ Im­age H]. That lat­ter op­tion saves all your open browser tabs, so you can re­turn and re­launch them later. There’s also a handy search field that you can use to find some­thing spe­cific in your saved col­lec­tions.

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