Google chrome

How to Use Tab Groups in Google Chrome

Google’s Chrome web browser helped define the style of tabbed browsing we all use now. Over the course of a day, many of you will open dozens or even hundreds of tabs. Whether it’s a page you like to regularly check for updates, a recipe you want to save for dinner that night, or a slew of work-related tabs you’re planning to come back the next day, you can build up a massive collection very quickly.

Of course, you can browse through them, mark what you need, and discard the rest. But, there’s a faster and easier way that lets you keep all your precious tabs while keeping them organized into easy-to-use groups. Even better, it’s built right into Chrome. Let us show you how to use Chrome’s tab groups to organize your treasure trove of browser tabs once and for all.

How to Use Tab Groups in Google Chrome

The Google Chrome logo on a laptop

Google’s own example of tab groups in action

ZDNet

  • Materials needed: Any PC (Windows or macOS) or Chromebook running a recent version of the Google Chrome browser

Step 1: Start creating your first group

Chrome's tab group interface

Regardless of the operating system you are using, the required dialog will be essentially the same as this, although the type of click required to access it may vary

Michael Gariffo

To get started, you’ll need to create your first tab group. It’s easy to do. Simply navigate to any open tab you want to include in the new group and right-click or two-finger click, depending on whether you’re using a mouse or trackpad, and whether you’re on Windows, macOS, or Chrome OS . Once you’ve done that, search for the Add a tab to the new group option (highlighted in the red box above).

Step 2: Name and customize your group

The tab configuration interface in Google Chrome

This is the main hub for controlling, naming and color-coding your tab groups

Michael Gariffo

Once you have clicked Add a tab to the new group the dialog box seen above will appear. First, you’ll want to name your group. Pick something representative of what you’ll keep there, like “Work” for your remote work tabs, “Shopping” for your search for holiday gifts, or “Entertainment” for your favorite streaming sites. Once you’ve chosen a name and typed it in, you can also choose a color for the group. These are very useful for quickly finding and identifying tab groups in your peripheral vision, especially if you are consistent with what color you associate with which group types (red for work and blue for entertainment, for example ).

Step 3: Add more tabs to existing groups or create new ones

Chrome tab grouping interface with two groups created

The organization process may take a few minutes the first time, but it will save you tons of wasted time later.

Michael Gariffo

Once you’ve created at least one group, you can start organizing your tabs. When you’re ready to start organizing, find the next tab you want to group and right-click it. You will see a new option named Add tab to group, with a submenu appearing. In this submenu, you can either add it to one of your existing groups or create a new group with this as the first tab. Alternatively, you can simply grab a tab with your mouse and drag it into the group, dropping it among the existing tabs in the group. Creating the subsequent groups you want works exactly like the process explained in step 2.

Last Step: Review and Organize Your Tab Groups

An organized set of four tab groups with one expanded, in Google Chrome

Michael Gariffo

Once you have all the tabs you want to group into their respective categories, you’re pretty much done. But, there are a few things you need to know to get the most out of tab groups:

  • Collapse and expand groups – You will notice that each tab in an open group will have that group’s color-coded tint wrapped around its tab (if active) or below it (if hidden). You can collapse or expand groups by simply clicking on them with the left mouse button. Collapse the groups you are not currently using is a great way to save space on your tab bar, leaving your expanded group and ungrouped tabs still large enough to easily read.
  • Move groups – Tab groups behave very similarly to individual tabs for the purpose of moving them to their current window or dragging them to a new window. You can do this by simply left-clicking, dragging and dropping the group into the desired position in your current window or another available Chrome window. However, you cannot place a group inside another group.
  • Removing tabs from groups and ungrouping – Whenever you right click on a tab that is already in a group, you will see an option named Remove tab from group. This is a quick and easy way to ungroup any tabs you want to keep, but no longer want to group. You can also right-click a group and click Ungroup which will eliminate the group itself, but keep all of its tabs included.
  • Note about pinning tabs – The option to pin tabs in Chrome is another organizational trick that some of you might appreciate. However, you should know that you cannot include pinned tabs in groups. Pinning an already grouped tab will remove it from its group. Along the same lines, grouping an already pinned tab will unpin it and add it to the group you chose.

FAQs

Not always. Chrome will attempt to save all of your grouped tabs the same way it tries to keep all ungrouped tabs when you crash and need to restart. Of course, this isn’t guaranteed to work 100% of the time, and it’s always a good idea to bookmark, or at least pin, any tabs with extremely important web pages you might have open.

Pinning a tab is still a good, quick way to keep it, with a few unique benefits that tab groups don’t offer:

  1. It removes the close button from the tab itself, making it harder to accidentally close the tab without realizing it.
  2. Pinning a tab keeps it visible at all times (without being hidden in a collapsed group), making it easy to access quickly with a click, if you use it very frequently.
  3. Pinned tabs will persist until individually closed, even if you manually quit Chrome and reopen it or if the browser crashes.

Just think of tab groups and pinned tabs as two tools in your organizational arsenal with similar goals but different characteristics.

Yes. Almost all major browsers now have some form of tab grouping included.

  • Microsoft Edge and Brave – Since both of these browsers are also Chromium-based, like Google Chrome, the interface for grouping tabs within them is essentially the same.
  • Safari – Apple’s proprietary browser supports persistent tab groups that can be organized almost exactly the same as Chrome’s.
  • Opera – Opera has a similar feature called Opera Workspaces which organizes your tabs like Chrome’s tab groups.
  • firefox – Firefox does not currently have a built-in tab grouping feature, but third-party add-ons are available that add the ability to group tabs to the browser.