Frequent crashes, slow performance, and not being able to find the tab you’re looking for—we’ve all been there. Here are some of the best Firefox extensions for helping you manage tab overload.
Generally, we don’t recommend using any extensions you don’t have to—they can be a privacy nightmare. But until makers of browsers build in some better tab management solutions, we tab hoarders have to rely on extensions to keep us sane. We’ve rounded up some of the best extensions for managing tabs in Firefox. And, while there are a ton of these extensions out there (and everyone has their favorites), we’ve tried to keep our list to well-regarded extensions without reported privacy issues.
Let’s take a look.
Auto Tab Discard: Preserve Your System Resources
Auto Tab Discard does not help you manage or organize your tabs, but it does help you reduce Firefox’s memory usage significantly.
Just a few open tabs in Firefox can consume up to a gigabyte of memory, and it keeps rising as you open more tabs. While all browsers, including Firefox, have memory management built in, having lots of tabs open can still affect performance—in your browser and on your PC.
Auto Tab Discard solves that problem by automatically discarding tabs in the background after a user-defined interval. Discarded tabs are not actually removed, though. The discarded tabs are actually suspended so that they’re not using up any system resources, and are still visible in your browser window. They’re just slightly dimmed and have a grey dot on them to make them easy to distinguish. It works a lot like the popular Chrome extension, The Great Suspender.
Once you switch over to a discarded tab, it’s made active again. Auto Tab Discard also remembers the scroll position of the tab, so you don’t lose your place if you were reading a long article. It’s a neat feature.
You can manually discard tabs by clicking the extension’s icon, and then choosing the “Discard This Tab (Forced)” option. You can also do things like discard all inactive tabs, or discard all tabs in the current window or other windows, which is pretty handy.
You can customize the behavior of Auto Tab Discard by clicking the “Options” button at the bottom of that menu. The options let you control things like how long the extension should wait before discarding inactive tabs and how many inactive tabs it takes to trigger the function. You can also set certain discarding conditions, like not discarding tabs that have media playing or not discarding pinned tabs.
OneTab: Suspend Tabs and Get Them Out Of Your Way
OneTab lets you suspend tabs and get them out of the way so that your browser isn’t so cluttered. It does not automatically suspend tabs the way Auto Tab Discarder does. You have to click the extension button on your address bar to make it happen.
When you do, all the tabs in the current Firefox window are moved to a single tab and presented as a list. You can just click any page on the list to reopen it in a tab. Also, the fact that it only affects the current Firefox window is actually a pretty nice feature.
If you open more tabs in that same window and then activate OneTab again, it saves the new tabs into their own group on that same page, broken up by when you saved them.
You also can send tabs to OneTab by using the context menu on any page. Right-click anywhere on a page, point to the “OneTab” entry, and you’ll see all kinds of fun commands. You can send just the current tab to OneTab, send all tabs except the current one, or send tabs from all open Firefox windows. There’s even an option for adding the current domain to a whitelist to prevent pages from that domain from being sent to OneTab at all.
There is no search option on the OneTab page, but you can use Firefox’s built-in search feature (just hit Ctrl+F on Windows or Command+F on Mac) to search your saved tabs. You can also drag and drop tabs from one session to another to better organize your saved tabs.
There also are plenty of sharing features in OneTab. You can share individual sessions—or all your saved tabs—by creating a unique OneTab URL.
The only drawback of OneTab is that there are no automated backups offline, or to the cloud. You can, however, back up saved tabs manually as a list of URLs and even import them later.
TreeStyle Tab: Navigate Your Tabs Better
TreeStyle Tab doesn’t suspend your tabs, but it does offer an interesting way to browse through your open tabs. You use it by clicking the extension button in the address bar.
That opens up a tree-like navigation pane that shows all the open tabs in that Firefox window. The current tab is highlighted with a blue edge, which makes it easy to spot. The hierarchy is based on where you opened a tab from. If you just open a new tab in Firefox, it shows up at the top level of the hierarchy. If you open a tab from an existing tab (i.e., you right-click a link and open it in a new tab), that tab is shown under the tab from which you opened it.
In the image below, the main How-To Geek page is a top-level tab. All the tabs indented under it are tabs we opened from that main page.
The vertical list makes tab names much easier to see, and you can switch to any open tab by clicking it. You also can drag and drop to move your open tabs around in the hierarchy, and click the “X” button to close a tab.
And while TreeStyle Tab itself doesn’t suspend tabs, it is designed to work with the Auto Tab Discard extenstion we talked about in the previous section. Discarded tabs are dimmed in the tree view.
The tabs are visible on the left by default, but you can also switch them to the right side, and quickly hide and show the entire tree by clicking the extension’s icon in the address bar.
FireFox Multi Account Containers: Manage Tabs with Privacy
Firefox Multi Account Containers is a privacy-focused add-on with a variety of uses. Once you install the extension, you can access it by clicking its button in the address bar.
A few containers are created by default. You can edit those, or create new ones.
So, what’s with the containers? Well, that’s where this extension gets interesting. Each container acts as a separate browser, but still inside the same window. Data from one container (cookies, cache, local storage) is not shared with tabs in any other container.
Here are some interesting examples of things you can do with containers:
- Sign into multiple accounts from the same email provider. For example, you could open your personal email on a tab in the Personal container and your work email on a tab in the work container.
- Shop online and not worry about being re-targeted with ads. Just shop on tabs in the Shopping container, and none of that gets shared with tabs in other containers.
- Browse social networks without being tracked on other websites
- Separate work and personal tasks, literally.
And since you can create your own containers, the possibilities are pretty much endless.
To open a new tab in a specific container, click and hold the new tab button, and then pick a container from a dropdown menu.
Once you open a tab in a container, your address bar shows the container in which that tab resides. You can also set the default container for the current tab from the add-on options so that that page always opens in that container.
Once you have tabs open in multiple containers, the tabs are also color coded for easy identification.
Overall, Firefox Multi Account is a pretty neat way to manage your browsing habits and ultimately, your tabs.
Toby: Organize Saved Tabs and Share Them With Teams
Toby is about a little more than just organizing tabs. You can use it to save, suspend, and organize tabs, yes, but it also serves as a fair replacement for bookmarks.
Toby replaces your new tab page with its own organizational page for managing tabs. Toby uses Collections to organize tabs, and you’ll see those at the left of the page. In the image below, we’ve got collections named “Tech News” and “Work”.
On the right, you’ll see a list of all open tabs in the current Firefox window. You can drag any tab there into a collection to close the tab and save it as part of that collection. You can also click the “Save Session” button to save the whole list of tabs to its own session collection, which you can later reopen all at once or individually. The image below shows all those tabs saved as a session, which is named by the date and time they were saved, by default.
You can open any tab by just clicking it. And the page stays saved in your collection until you remove it manually—they’re more like bookmarks than suspended tabs in that way. You can also open all pages in a collection at once by clicking the “Open x Tabs” button. This is great for reopening a session you saved or reopening a collection of related tabs.
Toby works great as a tab and bookmark manager, but its real strength lies in its sharing and team features. You can share any collection by hitting the Share link to its right (only available once you create an account). You’ll be given the option to get a link you can share with people or share the collection privately with an organization you’ve set up. Organizations can even have dedicated collections for teams.
Of course, you don’t have to work in an organization to use these features. Even if you’re a freelancer, you could create a team for each of your clients, and share collections with them privately.
Those were our picks for the best extensions to manage tabs on Firefox. If you think we missed some, or if you have a favorite, then let us know in the comments.
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