Three Tips for Firefox 4: Tabbed Browsing Made Easy With Tab Groups And Other Features

Firefox 4 is the latest version of Mozilla's web browser and they have added various new features in the user interface to make web browsing a lot easier! The internet is still changing and the way we experience the web is being improved as well.

In this article I'll share three tips to make tabbed browsing a lot easier. Tabbed browsing is the ability to have several webpages open in tabs in one browser window. This is now a common feature in web browsers: you can open as many webpages as you like in multiple tabs.

The new options and improvements in Firefox 4 give you greater control over your tabs: you can now modify what they look like, how to organize them and it has also become a easier to find a tab when you can't find it.

Tip 1: Use 'Pin as App Tab'

Firefox 4 has a new feature that allows you to turn a tab into an app tab.

What does that mean? This removes the title and also the close button of that tab. Instead you will only see the image or icon that is associated with that webpage (usually the logo of the website).

How to turn a tab into an app tab:

  1. Right-click the tab.
  2. Click on 'Pin as App Tab'.

How to turn an app tab back into a normal tab:

  1. To turn an app tab back into a normal tab, right-click again and click 'Unpin Tab'.

Why should I use this feature?

As the name 'app tab' suggests, this feature is most useful when you use it with web applications, such as Hotmail or Gmail. You can now visit your webmail, login to your account and then turn that tab into an app tab. This will keep the tab open all the time. There is no close button next to it but you can still close it by right-clicking and selecting 'Close Tab' (or turn it back into a normal tab).

There is no reason for permanently open tabs to take up much space on the screen. You are going to use these tabs often and you simply want them to be there. You don't want to close the tab because it is a web application, not a webpage that you will only view for a few minutes.

The app tab features makes it possible to have all these web applications open and easily accessible. I can now be active on many websites while still having a good overview of my tabs!

Tip 2: Group your tabs

Another new feature in Firefox 4 is the ability to group your tabs, also known as Panorama. You can group tabs together and load them at once. You can easily switch between the tabs in one group to the tabs in another group without closing your browser. You can have a set of tabs for work related websites and also a set of tabs for your favorite websites.

I have written an entire article on how to use this feature. You should learn more about grouping your tabs in Firefox 4 because I think it is very useful. Many people nowadays have many tabs open at the same time and managing them is hard if you don't make use of groups.

Tip 3: Can't find a tab? Type some words in the address bar

Another cool new feature is the ability to find an open tab by typing in some words in the address bar of Firefox 4. If you have an open tab with those words in the title, it will appear in the list underneath the address bar.

Let's say that you have dozens of tabs open and you're looking for a tab with a particular word in the title of a webpage. In Firefox 3 you would see all the webpages that you have visited in the past with that word.

Now you will also see open tabs that contain that word. These have the words 'Switch to Tab' underneath them. Select it and Firefox 4 will make that tab the active tab. So now you can use the address bar to search for all webpages that you have visited with that word - and if they are currently open, you can switch to that tab right away.

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Do you use Firefox 4? Share your browsing experience! 4 comments

karenfreemansmith profile image

karenfreemansmith 5 years ago from Oregon

I only use IE because I'm too lazy to download and install another web browser. Have you written anything comparing the two? What makes it worth the download? (I already have tabs...) I know a lot of people seem to prefer Firefox, just wondering why.


simeonvisser profile image

simeonvisser 5 years ago Author

@karenfreemansmith:

I haven't written anything to compare the various web browsers out there but it is well worth it to try another browser. Many people like Firefox because you can install plugins, it is a much better browser if you are into web development, it follows the web standards more strictly than Internet Explorer and I feel the whole experience is just better.

But many people also seem to like Google Chrome nowadays. If you have a Mac computer then it is very likely that you'll run the Safari browser instead.

IE is the default browser on Microsoft Windows and that's mainly why it has such a large market share. Perhaps IE is the right choice for you, I can't tell you but you won't know until you try other browsers. Some of the tips above really make a difference if you have many tabs open. Which browser is best for you also depends on how much you're browsing online and what you do online.

These browsers are all free so you can install them and if you don't like them then there is no harm done.


Johan 5 years ago

Is it possible to disable the Group Your Tabs feature - I find it makes closing and opening new tabs very sluggish.


simeonvisser profile image

simeonvisser 5 years ago Author

I don't if the feature can be disabled. If someone knows then please post it here, it would be greatly appreciated. I'll try to have a look too.

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