Most Windows users have access to Internet Explorer (IE), Microsoft’s web browser. There are several ways that tabs can be opened within IE, and how you go about it depends on what you are doing at the time. For example, if you view one website and decide you’d like to open a new, blank tab to open a second website, hold down the Control (Ctrl) key and tap T. In the latest version of IE, you can also click the small New Tab icon near the top right of the browser window.
There is another way to open a blank tab. At the top of the Internet Explorer window, right-click an existing tab and choose New Tab from the menu that appears. This will open a new tab in the foreground, just as using the keyboard shortcut does. Alternatively, open a second copy of a website tab that’s already open by right-clicking it and selecting the Duplicate Tab option.
When browsing the internet, it is quite common to stumble across a page that features a few links you would like to investigate. Of course, you can click a link to open the destination website in a new tab, explore the page and then return to the first tab to pick up where you left off – but that can be distracting. Instead, try right-clicking a link and selecting the ‘Open in new tab option’. The linked website will open in the background ready for you to read later.
When opening tabs in this way in IE, notice that colour-coding is used to group them for easier identification – tabs related to links opened from the same site take on the same shade. A tab can be removed from a group easily. Just right-click it and choose Ungroup this tab.
An unneeded tab can be closed by first selecting it and then clicking the cross that appears to the right. Alternatively, right-click the tab and choose Close tab. Entire groups of (colour-coded) tabs can be closed by right-clicking one and then choosing the ‘Close this tab group’ option.
When browsing it’s easy to build up a span of old or unwanted tabs. Closing them by groups (as per Step 5) is an efficient way to tidy up, but there is a way to close all but one tab in one fell swoop. To do this, right-click the tab you would like to retain and choose ‘Close other tabs’ from the pop-up menu.
Something that isn’t immediately obvious is that tabs can be freely moved around and re-arranged into whatever order works best for you. To do this, click a tab with the left mouse button, keep the button pressed and drag the tab to the left or right to change its position in the tab bar. When the tab is in the desired position, release the mouse button and repeat for any other tabs.
In Internet Explorer 9, you are not restricted to moving tabs around within the current browser window. Drag a tab down and away from IE’s tab bar – ensuring you drag far enough down to go past the Favorites bar – and a second, floating browser window will appear. Release the mouse button and the selected tab will be converted into its own browser window. You can open new tabs in this window and convert other tabs to distinct windows in the same way.
Sooner or later you’ll close a tab by accident. Thankfully, previously closed tabs can be easily restored. To do this, hold down Control and Shift and tap T. Alternatively, right-click another, still-open tab and choose the ‘Reopen closed tab’ option from the menu.
It is possible to go further and revive tabs closed earlier still. Right-click an open tab, point to the ‘Recently closed tabs’ option and browse the submenu to find the relevant site – reopening it is a simple case of clicking. If you would like to re-open all of the closed tabs, choose ‘Open all closed tabs’.
For the most part, working with tabs in Firefox is very similar. New tabs can be opened using the same Control and T keyboard shortcut, or by clicking the ‘+’ tab at the end of the tab bar. Tabs can be closed in much the same way – either click the cross on a tab or right-click a tab and select Close. Similar options for closing and restoring tabs are also available.
Later editions of Firefox include a handy feature called App Tabs. This enables you to convert a favourite web service, such as Gmail or Hotmail, into a permanently visible tab that appears on the far left of the tab bar, albeit shrunk down to an icon. To take advantage of this, right-click a tab and select the Pin as App Tab option. Then select the Unpin Tab option to revert to a normal tab.
You will find that things in Google Chrome are also very similar. New tabs can be opened by pressing Control and T at the same time, right-clicking a tab and selecting the New Tab option, or by clicking the small, empty tab at the far right of the tab bar. Just as with Firefox and Internet Explorer, tabs can be re-arranged by dragging them into a new position, or converted to a new window by dragging a tab away from the tab bar.
Chrome has another useful organisational trick. If you want to close a bunch of tabs while keeping others, first group the keepers by dragging them to the left-hand side of the tab bar. Now right-click the right-most tab of this group and choose ‘Close tabs to the right’. If you would like to save tabs for future reference, right-click one of them and choose the ‘Bookmark all tabs’ option.