Lifehacker Australia editor Angus Kidman recently wrote a post on why you should never have more than nine browser tabs open. That proved quite controversial when it ran on the Lifehacker US site. I’d mount a different argument to Angus: it’s OK to have a lot of tabs open if you use the right tricks and technology to keep them all organised..
“Unload” Items To Save Memory
we haveThe Great SuspenderBarTab Lite X
Organise Tabs Into Groups
Use A Read Later Service
Even faster would be to use our previously mentioned tricks for reading multiple blogs. Sort them all into RSS feeds to keep all your blogs in one tab, then just send the articles you star to your read later service of choice. You’ll never have to open more than one tab, and you’ll be able to read all those articles without having to “find” them again.
Get An Extension Or A Desktop App
Try replacing pinned tabs with extensions, if possible. It keeps them out of the sight, easily accessible and with the added bonus of notifications.
I grouped my emails in the X-notifier extension, feeds in the Google Reader extension, and even my Transmission tab with Remote Transmission extension. The only pinned tab I currently have is Google Music, but soon it will be replaced too.
Of course, you could also offload those things to desktop clients for things like email, as reader geekgirlbarbie argues:
Assuming a few of the tabs are Gmail accounts and Google Reader (I’m guessing, correct me if I’m wrong), and assuming you’re computer is powerful enough, you can easily eliminate a few tabs using Thunderbird, Postbox, Pidgin, or FeedDemon (which honestly is much better for power users than Google Reader). That would eliminate a few of your pinned tabs, leaving more open for browsing and give you a few more powerful features to boot.
There are many other tools and tips out there to manage your overflowing tab bar, but this should help get you started. While I do agree that fewer tabs is often better — and I’ll minimise the number of tabs I open whenever possible — sometimes, having 30 tabs open is OK. You just need to manage them properly to stay sane.
A brief note from Angus: A core part of the Lifehacker ethos is that there’s often more than one way to solve a problem. If you find the notion of nine tabs too restrictive, these are excellent possible solutions — but what’s in common across these approaches and the one I suggested is that all involve managing your behaviour. Wildly flinging tabs open without some kind of plan is asking for performance issues and won’t make you more efficient. Happy browsing!