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4 killer tab search tricks for Chrome and Microsoft Edge

Before you open yet another browser tab, try these tools instead.


We’ve all, at some point in our computing lives, dealt with browser tab overload. But instead of giving into that helpless feeling—and loading yet another version of a tab you’ve probably got open already—consider the alternativ­es. These days, there are lots of ways to quickly sift through your open or recently closed browser tabs, sparing you the tedium of having to click through each one to find what you’re looking for.

Here are four tricks you can use in Chrome, Edge, and other Chromium-based browsers to instantly get back to what you’re looking for.


Over the summer, Google added a nifty tab search tool to its browser, one that you can operate exclusivel­y with keyboard shortcuts. Just press Ctrl+shift-a, and you’ll see a list of open tabs in the browser’s top-right corner,

along with a search box and any tabs you’ve closed recently. (You’ll also see some recently closed tabs, provided you don’t have too many open ones.) Type the title of the page you’re looking for, then hit Enter, and you’ll immediatel­y jump over to the appropriat­e tab.

If you ever forget how to open this menu with your keyboard, just click the little down arrow to the left of the minimize window icon. That’ll bring up the same tab search menu, with the correspond­ing keyboard shortcut at the top.

Note that both Chrome and Microsoft Edge offer a separate “Switch to this tab” button from inside the main address bar, but you can’t activate this button with just your keyboard, unlike the dedicated search menu.


For an even better search experience that works in practicall­y every major browser, check out Tab Hare ( go. pcworld.com/tbhr), a free extension for Chrome, other Chromium-based browsers (such as Microsoft Edge), Firefox, and Safari.

After installing the extension, press Ctrl+shiftSpace to bring up a search window. Type the name of the tab you’re trying to find, then use the arrow keys and Enter to pick it from the results list. There’s also a handy “previous tab” feature, which lets you toggle between two recent tabs by pressing Ctrl+shift-u. (Sadly, this feature doesn’t work in Edge, because it conflicts with Microsoft’s Read Aloud text-tospeech function—more on this shortly.)

Compared to Chrome’s search tool, Hare is better at locating tabs even when your query doesn’t exactly match the page title, and its placement at the center of the screen makes it easier to use. While it’s not the only browser extension of this kind, I like how unbloated it is compared to other tab

search tools, which often try to stuff in unnecessar­y features. It’s an extension that does one thing well.


With Microsoft Edge on Windows 10, you can quickly switch between recent tabs without having to hunt for them in your browser bar. Just press Alt+tab as you normally would to switch apps, and your five most recent tabs will appear in the Windows multitaski­ng menu.

If five tabs feels like too many—or too few—for your Alt+tab menu, head to Windows Settings > System > Multitaski­ng and look for the Alt-tab section. From here you can choose to show just your three most recent tabs or all of them.


Earlier, I mentioned how Chrome’s tab search feature includes a list of recently closed tabs as well. While this is a useful feature, it only shows your eight most recently closed tabs, and it can be hard to look through if you’ve also got a lot of other tabs open already. Likewise, features like Reopen Closed Tab in Chrome can only recover one page at a time.

As an alternativ­e, check out a free extension called Tabbie for Chrome and Edge. It adds a button to your browser toolbar that shows all the tabs you’ve recently closed in a pop-up menu, and it lets you recover closed windows as well. You can also customize how many tabs appear here and see how many minutes ago you closed each one. While you could always just wade through your browser’s history list to recover old tabs, Tabbie does the same job with far less hassle.

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