How-To Geek

Close Tab Quickly with a Shortcut Key in Firefox

Firefox has a ton of shortcut keys, but this is one of the most useful. I had written before about how to select a specific tab with a keyboard hotkey, which I use to easily switch back to my RSS reader of choice (Google Reader).

Today I was wondering how I could quickly close a tab that I had opened. When using Google Reader, using the “v” hotkey will open up the currently selected item in a new tab. I wanted a simpler way to close the tab than having to hit Ctrl+F4, which is a little more difficult to use.

Here’s the shortcut key to quickly close a tab in Firefox:

Ctrl + W

This key combination is much easier to use.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 12/5/06

Comments (23)

  1. Mathias

    This one also works in IE7.
    Then there is also Ctrl+T, that one creates a new tab. And Ctrl+R (this one reloads current tab).

  2. David Hucklesby

    Thank you for pointing these out, HTG and Mathias.

    In the days before pointing devices, I learned a lot of these shortcuts, and still use them. Interestingly, Microsoft and IBM collaborated early in creating a whole set of user interface “standards.” Sadly, Microsoft themselves then abandoned many of them.

    These shortcuts do work in (some) other browsers and applications, not just FF.



  4. george

    how can I get rid of the “Welcome to Firefox” tab at every boot into Firefox?

  5. Webdog

    Is there a keyboard shortcut, or way to create one for use in Firefox, that will “Close Other tabs”? More often than not, that is the keyboard shortcut I need for closing tabbed windows in Firefox.

  6. Yas

    – a pretty complete list of keybord shortcuts for firefox

  7. tj

    Wow. To find a shortcut key to work with “v” in google reader was exactly what I was looking for. Thanks

  8. Wyrd

    You should try it in other contexts/programs too. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I can tell you that it certainly *doesn’t* work in some of the older Microsoft multi-window apps like MS Access. In those, if you want to close a window, you must use Ctrl+F4. If you press Alt+F4 in one of those, you will, of course, close the whole app. HOWEVER, there at least one multi-window app in which Alt+F4 will only close the currently open window rather than the whole program (and Ctrl+F4 won’t work). I think this is because that application was originally several different modules (each a separate program) and it has only been “stitched together” in recent versions. Whereas the Microsoft apps in question were designed to contain multiple windows from very early on.

    I think the Firefox Ctrl+W is there for compatibility with either Mac or *nix. I first learned Command+W to close a window on Macintosh.

    I agree with you–it’s much eaiser than Ctrl+F4. :-)

    Furry cows moo and decompress.

  9. joelpt

    Also, Ctrl-Shift-T works in Firefox and Chrome to un-close the last tab you closed. Often very handy.

  10. Rodney

    Thank you for this! I had a PDF making firefox hang and I fired up Google Chrome, found this post in Google and the CTRL + W tricked worked to make firefox useable again without having to shut the whole browser down.

  11. bingojubes

    OMG! thats one helpful shortcut, cause the FireFox close tab button is so tiny!


    Great info. Thanks for that :) I really like your website

  13. GogoZec

    I have a problem with Firefox 3.0. As soon as I add a page to my bookmarks, the Ctrl+W hotkey no longer works. Also, when I hit Ctrl+D to add a page to my bookmarks, I don’t get the confirmation popup box any more. This is all stuff I first noticed in FF 3.0. The earlier versions never had this problem. Anyone else ever experience this?

  14. JH

    The middle mouse button also is very useful in tabs, clicking a link with it opens the link in a new tab and clicking on a tab in the tab bar with it closes that tab even if it is not in the view.

  15. Used trucks

    Thanks for the information. But i have one problem with firefox can you explain me how to save browsing history and save the pages when we want to close the firefox?

  16. GM

    Control-T no longer works in Firefox to open new tabs on my system. I did not disable it on purpose and cannot find a way to enable it again. I do have a bunch of add-ons installed, but I’ve had them for some time.

    Any ideas as to how to re-enable it ?



  17. geo

    try opera
    with 9.2 keyboard shortcuts selected
    and/or with the activated

    ctrl-alt-w – close all
    ctrl-alt-shift-w – close all but active

  18. mr.geek

    thanx a ton

  19. KOLO


  20. Hugo

    How I could Delete a tab “” that I opened by mistake when my original tab was “Google”


  21. kenpmason

    Ctrl-W works in many places in Windows, including in MS Word, where it closes the current document.

  22. pulkit

    thanx for reopen the last tab closed- ctrl + shift + t…
    very useful

  23. Barrie Walker

    How do I close tabs on Firefox – annoying as it always also open on the previous tab

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