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Searching for open tabs among many windows needs improvement

  • 5 replies
  • 1 has this problem
  • Last reply by hmarx2014

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Currently using FF v94.0.1 64-bit (I usually lag an update or two behind to ensure stability -- my highest priority -- and avoid surprises.)

1) I notice that unless there are a sufficient number of tabs opened across a browser window as stretched to a given width, thus triggering the left-right ("<" , ">") tab-scroll arrows to appear, the TAB MENU itself (aka "List all tabs" button, a "v" down-arrow on the far right) is not present. Nor is there an equivalent way to initiate a tab search within the main MENU BAR (FILE, EDIT, VIEW, etc.) that I could find. This restricts access to the SEARCH TABS feature.

This "automatically keep-it-tidy feature" is not really an issue when only a single browser window is open. However, I have many windows (on different topics of interest), each with many tabs.

I can switch to another browser window that has enough open tabs to have triggered the TAB MENU, then search from there. Or I can use the address bar "%" method).

(Actually, I'm pleasantly surprised that Firefox, running on my older PC, is stable with hundreds of tabs open as accumulated over many months. Clearly I should change my habits!)

2) On your support page titled "Search open tabs in Firefox" at , it describes (via examples) using the "List all tabs"/TAB MENU button to access the "Search Tabs" feature. It also outlines using the address bar "%" method.

Unless I misread the article, what it does not make clear, is that the "Search Tabs" feature works the same as "% xyz" in the address bar; whereas using "%xyz" (note the missing space) yields different results (apparently the same as "xyz %"; but "xyz%" yields nothing). Nor does it explain the reason for the different results or the importance/desirability/weirdness of using one method over the other -- it simply presents the examples. I believe this help page could use some expansion/clarification.

3) I noticed that when performing "search tabs" via either the address bar (using "%") or via the TAB MENU, the results do not include any open tabs using "containers" (apparently the same as any open tabs within "private" windows).

I am increasingly using the "container" features by opening then permanently assigning many "sensitive" web sites to one of the container categories. The increased security is a nice idea.

However, with many browser windows open, each with many tabs, this inability to search for and conveniently find open tabs is increasingly frustrating and is nudging me back towards NOT using containers.

Can't some solution be found to maintain the privacy between tabs (and perhaps even private windows) while permitting a tab search to work more thoroughly?

In summary, I simply want to be able to find ALL occurrences of any partial string of searched-for text within ALL tabs in either their title OR address, normal AND container tabs, and preferably in normal AND private windows.

At present I see only a list of 12 results and no means of listing more. Sometimes my "known" open (normal/non-container) tab is not present in that short list (perhaps a preference/sort order is needed for tab titles vs. addresses).

Why not a "List more results", or a selector button to scroll-list "10, 20, 40, 100, ALL", or a button to open and continue with a listing of ALL matching results in a separate pop-up window, etc?

Thanks for all your good and hard work!

All Replies (5)

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You can set browser.tabs.tabmanager.enabled = true on the about:config page to have this button visible permanently at the right end of the Tab bar.

You can open the about:config page via the location/address bar. You can accept the warning and click "I accept the risk!" to continue.


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Hey, thanks -- that solved question/issue #1 -- much appreciated!

Speaking of the left-right tab scrolling ("<" and ">" on the tab row), something I forgot to mention/highlight for those who don't already know (and perhaps is buried in the FF documentation) is that clicking/tapping once results in shifting a couple of tabs, twice for a page-width's set of tabs, three times to reach the first (or last) tab.

Again, this may be basic knowledge/training if I had taken the time to read up on it; but even as a somewhat long-time user I stumbled into this behavior, a nice "discovery".


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Would still like to get a comment/feedback regarding my issue #3 (above): I would like a tab search to list results INCLUDING container tabs (and perhaps private windows, if possible).

Do I have to (re)post this as a separate question/issue since someone already helped me with #1?


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For issue #3, Tab Manager Plus for Firefox might help you.


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Tab Manager Plus seems to be useful -- it finds those "container tabs" among my 717 tabs, thanks! -- but even after restarting Firefox I notice that there are new hesitations and overall responsive is sluggish with my laptop's fan now kicking in often.

This was confirmed by the built-in Settings > More Tools > Task Manager (about:performance) frequently displaying Tab Manager Plus as having the top-most energy impact.

I may have to remove (or disable) this extension and try another. Better would be an update to reduce the impact (if possible).


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