Thursday, January 21, 2016

Chrome Extensions: Browser Tabaholics Unite

I'm a big fan of browser tabs because they allow me to run multiple websites simultaneously without having to click back and forth between windows. 

What's a Browser Tab?
This picture shows two tabs I have open {my Twitter page and this blog}:

How to Open a New Tab
Make sure you're in a web browser {I prefer Chrome}. Up by where you type in a web address, find and click the small square on the very right, as shown below:

You'll see "New Tab" to the right, like this:

From there, you can type in any web address or go to any bookmarked link you'd like. It's just like having multiple windows open, but it's easier to click back and forth between multiple pages now. 

How to Deal with Multiple Tabs
Once you know the trick for creating multiple browser tabs, you'll probably use it all the time. And then you'll become a tabaholic like I am, and your web browser will look like this on a normal day: 

Having that many tabs open at a time is bound to slow your computer down a bit, but there are a couple tricks you can use to help. 

This thing is awesome. After you install it, you'll see a funnel-like icon appear with the rest of your extensions:
Whenever you find yourself with too many tabs open, just click the OneTab funnel icon. Every tab you have open will be condensed into one, like this:

Click any of the titles of the webpages to open them again, or click "restore all" at the top of the page to open them all back up again. Rename the collection of tabs for convenience; you can see that I named the one above "Winter Blog Post" because it was a collection of resources for this post

Notice there is a menu under the time stamp. One of the options in that menu is the ability to share share all the links in a collection as a web page -- this is really handy for sharing several links with students if you didn't want to use, say, Symbaloo for that. Clicking "share as web page" generates a QR code that anyone can scan from a mobile device. Try it:
In that menu of options is the word "more." Click on it to reveal...well, more options. :) 

I can name the tab group this way {this is how I titled mine "Winter Blog Post"}, lock or star the tab group, and get to the OneTab help section this way. The help section goes into more detail about what each of these options does, but here's a synopsis:
  • Naming a tab group helps with organization and productivity -- it also allows you to send specific open tabs directly to that group without collecting all open links at once. 
  • Locking a collection helps eliminate the possibility to accidentally deleting it. It also allows you to restore any link and still keep the link in your tab group. 
  • Starring a tab group makes that collection always appear at the top of your list {similar to pinning a tweet on Twitter}. 

Maybe you're the type that opens articles or blog posts with the intention of reviewing them...and then you get caught up in other things and delay browsing those pages for a few days. If so, you can at least suspend those pages -- i.e. let your computer run faster -- until you get a chance to deal with them. 

After you install the extension, you should see a tab like this:

You don't have to do anything else, but I like to customize the extension just a bit. Click here {after you install the extension} to customize. Here's a peek at the options and what I use:

Once a tab suspends, it looks like this:

All you have to do to see the actual page content is click anywhere in the blue portion of the screen. {You can also whitelist that particular website by clicking the link at the very top of the screen, which means that it will no longer suspend automatically.} 

While not mandatory, extensions like these can help make your computer run a little faster if you're addicted to browser tabs. 

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