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Use Tab Groups to organize a lot of tabs

Important: The Tab Groups (Panorama) feature will be removed from Firefox in version 45. For more information, see the Tab Groups feature discontinued article.
Important: The Tab Groups (Panorama) feature has been removed from Firefox. For more information, see the Tab Groups feature discontinued article.

Tab Groups (also known as Panorama) are an easy way to organize a lot of tabs. With Tab Groups, you can visually group related tabs, switch between groups and quickly search through all of your tabs. This article will have you juggling dozens of tabs in no time.

Why should I use Tab Groups?

If you're a tab addict, regularly ending up with more tabs than fit on the Tab Strip, Tab Groups were made for you. They're also great for grouping tabs by task and then switching between them. Try out the steps in the rest of this article – you'll quickly see how useful they are.

How do I create a Tab Group?

If you don't already have a number of tabs open to work with, do it now.

  1. Enter the Tab Groups view by using the keyboard shortcut, Command + Shift + ECtrl + Shift + E.
  2. When you enter the Tab Groups view for the first time, you'll see thumbnail previews of all of your tabs in one group. To make a new group, simply drag one tab out of the group and then drag a second one on top of it. A box will be drawn around them.
    • You can continue adding tabs to that new group and you can create more groups.
    Creating a tab group create tab group fx29
  3. When you are done, just click on a tab to exit the view. You will be returned to Firefox, the tab you clicked on will be active and only the tabs in that group will be visible.
Tip: You can add a Tab Group button to your toolbar to give you easy access. See Customize Firefox controls, buttons and toolbars for instructions.
Panorama button
panorama fx29

How do I switch between Tab Groups?

Switching between tab groups is easy. Just enter the tab groups view by clicking Command + Shift + ECtrl + Shift + E, then click on the tab group you want to view. The tab you clicked on will be active and only the tabs in that group will be visible.

  • You can also use the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl + `control + ` allows you to go to the next Tab Group and Ctrl + Shift + `control + shift + ` to the previous Tab Group.

Try it out: Tab Groups are great for grouping tabs by task. For example, you might have a group of tabs related to searching for a gift and another group for paying your bills online. Try creating groups for things you normally do online and use Tab Groups to switch between them. It's an easy way to stay organized.

How do I search through my tabs?

Quickly find that tab – it's much easier than finding a needle in a haystack.

  1. Enter the Tab Groups view by using the keyboard shortcut, Command + Shift + ECtrl + Shift + E.
  2. Click the search button on the right side of the window to bring up the search box and then just begin typing the name of the tab you're trying to find.
    • Or just start typing and a search will happen automatically.
  3. As you type, the tabs that match your search will be highlighted. Just click on a tab to select it and be returned to Firefox.
    Panorama search panorama search fx29
    • If you have more than one Firefox window open, you may see tabs from other windows that match your search listed at the bottom of the window. Clicking one of those will switch you to that Firefox window, tab and group.

How do I organize my Tab Groups?

Tab Groups can easily be resized, rearranged and named. When you're done with a group you can close it and get rid of all of its tabs at once.

Enter the Tab Groups view by using the keyboard shortcut, Command + Shift + ECtrl + Shift + E.

  • Resizing Tab Groups – Click and drag the resize handle at the bottom-right corner of a group to make it bigger or smaller. As you resize the group the tabs will get bigger and smaller accordingly.
    • If you make the group small enough, the tabs will get stacked on top of one another. Below this stack, a preview button will appear. Click the preview button to see what tabs are in the stack without changing the size of the group.
  • Rearranging Tab Groups – Click and drag on an empty area along the sides or bottom of a group to move it around the screen.
  • Naming Tab Groups – Click next to the pencil icon at the top of a group and type in a name for it. Then just hit ReturnEnter or click on some other area of the window.
  • Closing Tab Groups – Each tab group has a close button in the upper-right corner. Clicking it will close that group and all of its tabs.
    • If you've closed a tab group by accident, you can click the Undo Close Group button to restore it before leaving the Panorama view.

Pinned Tabs in Tab Groups

When you are using Pinned Tabs with Tab Groups, they will be represented by their site's icon on the right side of each tab group.

App Tabs in Panorama pinned tab groups

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Comments
taylorgo

The documentation states that the "List all tabs" button appears at the far end of the tab bar. In my case, after installating Firefox 4, it appeared in the title bar next to the minimize button - this interfered with another utility (ultramon) which also adds a button at this location.

To move the "list all tabs" button back to the tabs bar, go into "about:config" as the URL. Change the "browser.tabs.drawintitlebar" from true to false. The "list all tabs" button now appears on the far side of the tab bar as documented (no need to restart FF)

jhawkinson

Is there a reason this article does not mention the keyboard command for switching tab groups, Control-~ and Control-Shift-~? [do those work on macs?]

Tab Groups are already fairly difficult to discover, but their navigation seems almost completely undiscoverable, which is a shame. But all the more reason to document them. [Is there someone else they should be documented? ]

This seems especially important given the difficulties associated with Control-Shift-E (discussed to death in bugzilla 592183, 624588, and a dozen more).

See /forums/knowledge-base-articles/704824 for related discussions about this article.

wolfzombie

Great tip, especially if you want to move the tabs out of the title bar as well. Here is another option that will leave the Tabs in the title bar, but allow you to move just the Tab Groups icon.

  • Right click a toolbar and click "Customize"
  • Drag the Tab Groups icon to any area you like
  • Click "Done"

KB articles only describe the default settings. The Tab Group icon on the Title Bar is not the default setting.

To move it, see Customize Firefox controls, buttons and toolbars.

I added a troubleshooting section that links to the Troubleshooting Session Restore section, removed unrelated keywords. It needs review.

I added the shortcuts to switch between Tab Groups. It needs review.

Finally, I decided to add this case in the new troubleshooting section. It needs review.

Looking at https://support.mozilla.com/en-US/kb/what-are-tab-groups/review/15501 instances of "tab strip" were changed to "Tab Strip". Why?

I agree this initial capitalization is helpful and consistent with other articles. I've approved this change along with the others in the latest revision.

inkle

I've look through and cant seem to find the Save button for the Group Tabs, is there a function like that existing?

I would like to group all my tabs, then be able to close down firefox, and start up the next time and immediately load up the Group Tabs that I've previously saved.

Thanks.

SimonH

I have not found what you seek. Not even a bookmark type of thing.

I have FF set to start up with "Show my windows and tabs from last time."

I suppose that would not be sufficient for you?

lenstern

I agree. Sessions are not always ended with a normal shutdown, so it would be nice to recall groups of tabs. Like start-up scripts.

gulmunthos

What i find works is if you make one tab group then make a new tab and put it in a separate group, it saves it. I haven't tested this through a shutdown, so we'll see if that works. The problem that i am having though is that when you close the browser, it will remain on the last page if you reopen FF before shutting down.

gulmunthos

Just tested my theory with a restart and it worked well. So, all you need to do to save a tab group is to make another tab group and work from there.

lenstern

Okay! I'll keep testing it. Thanks for the tip, gulmunthos.

lenstern

To be honest, I really don't see a huge advantage to using Tab Groups. If you happen to close a window then it's gone forever so the initial intent of the group - having a set of tabs you work with frequently readily available - is lost. Why not just open two windows with two sets of tabs and toggle between them? Let me know what you think.

gulmunthos

Well, that tab groups could be useful if you check things like daily web comics or news sites. That way you can have them all in the group, just open the group and check each one out then close it back up.

The answer is already in the troubleshooting section. I rejected it.

greasemonkey

Was looking through this article and found this statement in the "How do I switch between tab groups" section.

"For those of you who have a compatible keyboard layout"...

This raised a question in my mind: What is a "compatible keyboard layout?" Possibly it means PC vs. Mac, or something similar, but I just tried that keyboard shortcut on a PC and it didn't work. I have a feeling that I'm not the only one with that question. It needs to be addressed.

' must be a hotkey (no Ctrl, no Shift, no Alt, no Alt Gr to hit it). If we start to describe that, we are going to have a copy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keyboard_layout.

If you think you can explain it in a concise way, feel free to edit the article.

greasemonkey

I didn't know the explanation was so long. In the interest of being brief, and not confusing the user, perhaps that statement should be eliminated. I made that change, if you don't like it feel free to reject it.

greasemonkey said

that statement should be eliminated.

I disagree. For my keyboard layout which is not en-US, it doesn't work. A confused warning is better than no warning so that I know nothing is wrong with my settings.

greasemonkey

Well, I have an en-US keyboard layout, and that shortcut doesn't work for me either. I'm wondering what keyboard layout it does work for. I do agree that a confusing warning is better than no warning, but if the keyboard shortcut only works for a select group of people, it doesn't seem worth it to include that shortcut in general documentation. Perhaps that could go into a localized version? I'm not sure if it's possible, but I'm trying to trim the fat and make this article suitable for a more general audience. If we confuse people with stuff that doesn't work for them anyway, they're not going to like it.

greasemonkey said

Well, I have an en-US keyboard layout, and that shortcut doesn't work for me either.

It should. Mozilla developers use the en-US keyboard layout so all shortcuts work at least on it.

greasemonkey

I think that we should find out who this keyboard shortcut works for, and specifically list that in the article. For example, if this is a US only keyboard shortcut we should list that. If it works for US, and UK keyboards that should be used as well. I just think that "compatible keyboard layout" is a little to ambiguous for the average user. Can you help me get in touch with a developer, or somebody that would know what keyboard this shortcut works with. Thanks for the feedback scoobidiver.

Michael Verdi approved a revision without a reference to the compatible keyboard.

greasemonkey said

I think that we should find out who this keyboard shortcut works for, and specifically list that in the article.

It's documented here, but will make the article unreadable even if the content is right.

I tested the shortcut and it works, at least on my US keyboards. The article gives you instructions for switching tab groups via the UI so this is secondary.

kjetilho

I really think this introductory article should state that the shortcut only works on US keyboards. Furthermore, I think non-US keyboards should have a working shortcut, preferably one which works ergonomically similar to Ctrl-`, ie. the key above the TAB key. On my Norwegian keyboard, that is the pipe key ("|"). After all, the key ` was chosen due to ergonomics, not mnemonics.

Suggested text *iff* the shortcut gets localised:

The keyboard shortcut, Ctrl + ` allows you to go to the next Tab Group and Ctrl + Shift + ` to the previous Tab Group. On non-US keyboards, the key above the Tab key will be used instead of `.

Iff not:

On US keyboards, the shortcut Ctrl + ` takes you to the next Tab Group and Ctrl + Shift + ` to the previous Tab Group.

kjetilho said

I really think this introductory article should state that the shortcut only works on US keyboards.

This info is wrong as it works also for some other keyboard layouts

Furthermore, I think non-US keyboards should have a working shortcut, preferably one which works ergonomically similar to Ctrl-`, ie. the key above the TAB key.

We are not Mozilla developers, but contributors to the support website.
There are already many bugs overlapping each others for that, Bug 591935 - ctrl+(shift+)+` for switching between groups is not good for some locales, Bug 626594 - shortcut for switching tab groups is badly accessible on many non-US keyboard layouts, and Bug 645371 - "Switch to next/previous tab group" shortcut should be a <key> and <command>

On non-US keyboards, the key above the Tab key will be used instead of `.

It doesn't work on my French keyboard layout.

greasemonkey

When I first looked at this article 4 days ago and say that one statement, I had no idea that it was going to get the entire SUMO community involved to explain it. I still have no idea why my shortcut doesn't work, but Michael's does so I'll just accept it. Thanks for putting up with my stubbornness scoobidiver, and thanks for researching all of that.

xxsawer

I think there should be mentioned, that when you start using the tab group feature for the first time, it changes you the preference "When Firefox starts" to "Show My Windows and Tabs from last time".

natri23

How do u join two groups of tabs? (without having to drag tabs 1 by 1 ofcourse)

zipguy

I tried it with Control Key, but to no avail. It would be good for me!

zipguy

It is called Mastering the Tab Group Editor. My article mentions this in the introduction and for the magnifying glass "Search" function. After it gets reviewed I'll let you know what happens. I think it's a pretty good article, which could replace a small part of this using screenshots,

zipguy

My article has been approved.

I'm thinking about having a go at editing this one, in an attempt to improve it.

zipguy

I think this is about the best I can do for it, so far. I understand that there is a size arguement on this one. One side wants it as small as possible. Another side wants more screenshots which makes it larger. This arguement will not stop. I tried to make it as small as I could, while adding content.

What I tried to do, granted with screenshots not as good so far, is explain some of it better, in pictures, and still keep it as small as possible.

It's highly rated as helpful. But how many people are actually using the tab group editor (panorama). When it's better, how come we don't have many complaints about bugs in the editor, if a lot more people are using it. How come we don't have lots of people who want more features or improvements in it? I do on both.

There are bugs in it, have you been using it routinely? I think that what lots of people have responded, is that they like the article, but are still not using the tab group editor.

I'm happy with my wording changes which do help the article. It has less confusion of the multiple meanings of the word "tab" by replacing the word "tile" when he's speaking about them in the tab group editor. I've added some really tiny screenshots, that took a while, and more than a few tries. Also, I've added a section called "Is that all there is to it?".

Yes, it's a bit bigger, but not huge.

I think most of the people won't get it, if you don't explain it with pictures. That makes a huge difference, liking it, or using it. In other words, getting users to actually try the tab group editor.

Also, I shortened it a little bit where it needed to be. For example, taking things our like multiple copies of

For those of you who like keyboard shortcuts, you can use .......

and replace them with

(keyboard shortcut .... )

You can have a look at it here: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/tab-groups-organize-tabs/revision/31794 and click on the "+" (plus sign) next to Revision Content to see it.

I've tried hard on it, hope you like it. Let me know here, what you think of it.

Any feedback, of any kind, positive or negative, is welcome!

Just some background about this feature. It was included at the last moment as an "experimental" feature in Firefox 4. The vast majority of users don't open more than eight (I think) tabs ever. So this feature is not aimed at most people. Other than some bug fixes to prevent loosing your tab groups when closing windows in succession to close firefox and some changes to make it LESS discoverable, nothing has been done to this feature. There are ideas for improving it but I've only heard it mentioned as a possible project for an intern.

zipguy

zipguy: I don't think we should change the references to tabs to tiles. The feature is Tab Groups and people should understand that they are manipulating tabs. So calling them tabs is appropriate. Introducing another term can just make things confusing. For example the article says, "you'll see thumbnail previews of all of your tabs." Adding "lets call them tiles" just adds another level of abstraction.

zipguy: also if you skip though the article and miss the part about referring to tabs as tiles it's kinda weird

but they do - they have images of your tabs also your full tab zooms out into the tiny tab zipguy: also a change that the article needs is that they removed that all tabs button - it only shows up when you have a LOT of tabs. which really means the way to get the tab groups button is just to customize your toolbar

======================

tiles are resizeable, by group, and they look different

point taken. But they sure don't look like "tabs" in the editor Only one does in the browser, the one you're seeing, the rest don't

zipguy

Verdi,

I thought about it a lot and agree that, since you are explaining a more than complex task simply, tile(s) should be changed back to tab(s). I've done that.

All I really need to do is re-do the screenshots, and make them a little bit better.

Did you see the section I added to the your article?

Is that all there is to it?

No it's not all of it, these are most of the basics of learning what we call the Tab Group Editor. Try it, it is fun. If you understood all of this, that's great. You are more than halfway there! So what you should do is try applying what you've just learned so far. Try using the Tab Group Editor, and grow accustomed to it

It does have some surprises, and there are some advanced features in it. When you're ready, or in case you see something which is called a stack,

Image:stack icon2 (in Media Gallery)

you should go to lesson two which is called Mastering the Tab Group Editor. It explains these quite well, and will solve the stack problem."

So is it worth re-doing the screenshots or not?

Hey zipguy, I saw the revision with the new section linking to Mastering the Tab Group Editor but I don't think we should include that (or maybe not yet). Here's why:

  1. In the past we included sections like this because we didn't have a related articles block or topics in the sidebar. We built that specifically to handle this use case so we may be able to simplify article but not duplicating this function manually. I'm adding that as a discussion point in the KB meeting tomorrow - https://etherpad.mozilla.org/kb-2012-09-27
  2. I do see in this particular article where we can link to Mastering the Tab Group Editor directly in the text of the article or as part of a particular step but I'd like to wait on that until we truly make it an article about the details or advanced parts of the feature like I brought up here - https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/mastering-tab-group-editor/discuss/4628#post-7721

The "List All Tabs" button is now only shown when you have more tabs than fit on the tab strip so the only sure ways to get into the tab group view is with the keyboard shortcut or by adding the button to your toolbar. The Tab Group button is no longer added automatically when you create your first tab group.

I'm not sure when these changes happened (it's been a while) so we should just make them visible for all Firefox versions. This article doesn't get enough views to make it worth tracking this info down and splitting up the instructions.

jamesking

i really like these comments because i got many answers from this support forum. Thanks 2 all.

Edit by scoobidiver: removed a link to unrelated content.

gullfaraz

I agree. Sessions are not always ended with a normal shutdown, so it would be nice to recall groups of tabs. Like start-up scripts. social media news