Consider how much browsing you do in a given day. In a given week. In a given month. Now, think of how many open tabs Google Chrome has seen during all of that time. It’s pretty outrageous, right? Not too long ago, you would have required a different window entirely for each separate browsing instance you were running, but tabbed browsing has by and large changed the game.
Google Chrome gets some flak for being a memory hog, but it’s also one of the most robust tabbed browsing experiences you’ll find. This also means that tabbed browsing can get a bit out of hand when you’re working in Chrome. Today, we’ll show you how to backtrack your tabbed browsing progress, so that you can reopen a recently closed tab in the Google Chrome web browser.
After all, there was a good reason for you to have that seventeenth tab open in Chrome, right? Right?
Human beings love to flaunt their prowess as avid multitaskers, but the truth of the matter is that there’s only so much that our minds can handle at a time before we start to focus a little bit less on each of the tasks at hand. It isn’t a weakness. It’s just the biology of our brains, really. Therefore, it can actually be a good thing to close out some of those open browsing tabs, before our experience becomes a little bit degraded overall.
It makes sense in practice, but there are also scenarios where you accidentally close a tab. And once you’ve done that, panic can start to set in. Do you remember how to get back to that site? What was the URL? What was that open tab, in the first place? As you second guess yourself further and further, you start to question what the purpose of that tab even was. Was it something hilarious on Imgur? Or was it a piece of research that you need for the school paper that you’re working on?
Thankfully, modern web browsers come equipped with numerous handy shortcuts that allow us to navigate difficulties just like these. The only problem is that people tend not to know about them when we actually need them. After all, it’s not like anyone is freely offering to teach Google Chrome 101, right? Well, that’s precisely what we’re going to do, today, albeit in a small, digestible dose.
There are actually numerous small tasks and commands that you can execute with only a couple of keystrokes, as long as you know how they work. We’ll show you how to reopen tabs that you’ve closed and a few other clever things that will greatly help you to streamline your Chrome experience.
More than just the multitasker’s dream tabbed browsing has become the way that we effectively experience the internet. It’s not a trend any longer, so much as a foundational feature built into every single web browser that you use. Therefore, it’s somewhat impossible to avoid!
Like any inherent feature that dictates your online activity, there are pro’s and con’s associated with it. Before we spill the beans on a plethora of ways to take control of your browsing experience through tabbed browsing, let’s have a look at the good and the bad.
The Pro’s and Con’s
Obviously, the major benefit of tabbed browsing is the fact that it’s easier for you to navigate everything that you want to see online, at once. You no longer have to have all of your content piled up in a series of separate windows at the bottom of your screen. That was cumbersome. This is streamlined and easy. You can flip from your email inbox to a purchasing queue for airline tickets in less than a second, and that’s just handy.
It’s also easier on your computer’s hardware, believe it or not! Even though tabbed browsers (and Google Chrome, specifically) get a bad reputation for being memory hogs, the only reason that they have is due to the ways that people use them. Back in the day when each separate browsing instance needed its own window, your computer’s poor RAM would never have been able to keep up. Now (with some effort) it can!
However, that reputation still exists, and as we mentioned above, tabbed browsing has sort of tricked us all into thinking we’re better multitaskers than we are. People pile up twenty tabs at once and then wonder why their computer is out of memory. They have their brain working at twenty, separate tasks, and then wonder why they feel anxious when they’re doing anything online. Draw your own conclusions on this one, but it’s a clear detriment of the way that we use tabbed browsing; not necessarily the fault of the feature, itself.
Keyboard Commands for Google Chrome
How do we make tabbed browsing an inherently good thing, then? By taking control of it, just as you would with any other piece of software! Google Chrome is an incredibly flexible internet browser, and there’s a reason that many choose it as their primary portal to online activity.
The following are useful keyboard commands that will help you to manipulate your browsing tabs. Use ’em, learn ’em, and actually become that better multitasker that you already think you are!
Reopen Closed Tabs
Okay, here’s the big one. If you want to reopen a recently closed tab, all that you need to do is press Ctrl + Shift + T. You can use it any number of times to sequentially reopen tabs that have been recently closed.
Now, there are a few limitations to this. If it’s a tab you closed yesterday? Last week? Last month? You’re out of luck. But if it’s one that you accidentally closed a few minutes ago or something that was open in your browser earlier in the day, there’s a good chance that it’ll still be cached in your browser’s memory, and therefore able to be recalled. Keep in mind that when the tab reopens, it will be right where you left it, when it was closed! Even if it was nestled amidst a bunch of other tabs.
Open Link in a New Tab
One of the other major benefits of tabbed browsing is being able to click on a link, and not lose the site that you’re currently on. However, not every website link is tagged to open up in a new tab, when you click it. Don’t worry; we have a keyboard command, for that.
If you want to open a link in a new tab, just hover over the link and press Ctrl + Left mouse click. Regardless of whether the link was coded to open in your current tab or a new one, it will open in a brand new tab, leaving your current page as-is.
Sometimes, the finger that you use to spin your mouse’s scroll wheel gets tired. Or maybe the two-finger swiping on your laptop’s trackpad is driving you batty. If this is the case, we have a keyboard command that will allow you to page down on a website without an excess of constant motion with your fingers.
The answer? Spacebar! It really is that easy. You can try it on this page if you want to. Just watch out for data-entry queues; if you’ve clicked on any, your spacebar pressing will register there, rather than as a browser command.
Cycle Through Open Tabs
Sure, you can click along the top of your browser and move through all of the tabs you have open, but haven’t you always wanted an easier way? There’s a keyboard command that will allow you to effortlessly flip between your tabs, no clicking required.
Simply press Ctrl + Tab to move from left to right along the open tabs in your browser. If you want to be more productive and tabbed browsing is part of your workflow, this one is critical!
Additionally, if you have strong hand-eye coordination, you can combine Ctrl with any of the 1-9 keys on your keyboard to switch to corresponding tabs. The furthest left corresponds with 1 and continues on as such.
Toggle Between Browser Windows
This isn’t necessarily a tabbed browsing trick, but it is a way to cycle between browser elements, so we’re going to tack it on here at the end, anyway. If you have a separate browser window open (which is still a viable, organized way to work) you can use this keyboard command to move between open windows without any unnecessary fiddling with your operating system’s functions.
If you hold down Alt + Tab, you will switch between open windows, either back and forth between two, or sequentially through all of those that you have open!
The end goal of all of this, of course, is to make you a better browser! Using Google Chrome, you can utilize these keyboard commands to reopen closed tabs, cycle through existing tabs, and so much more! If you have a question about any of the tips and tricks featured in this article, be sure to let us know in the comments, below!