Too many browser tabs? This impressive extension is my favorite solution

How many browser tabs do you have open right now? If you’re like most people who spend their workday in front of a PC or Mac, the answer is probably “too many to count,” and you’re staring right now at a row of icons that offer only the faintest clue of what’s on the tab associated with each one.

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Good luck remembering what’s on each page when all you can see are favicons for each tab

When tab overload strikes, the usual cure is to declare tab bankruptcy and just start over, which means scrolling through your browser’s history to pick up where you left off or searching frantically to find that factoid you need for the report that’s due before the end of the day.

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Plenty of browser extensions promise to help you manage too-many-tabs syndrome, but most just offer an alternative view of all your open tabs: lists or thumbnails, for example, instead of tiny favicons. My favorite, a remarkable web-based service called Workona, takes a different approach. It offers a simplified way to view and organize browser tabs and bookmarks, then syncs your work across multiple devices, with options to share workspaces with co-workers. I’ve been using it for more than 2 years and it’s enhanced my productivity more than any other tool I use.

Workona

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My favorite solution for keeping browser tabs under control is a browser extension that allows me to organize tabs into groups called workspaces, sync those saved workspaces across devices, share them with team members, and connect cloud-based productivity services for instant access. Extensions are available for Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Firefox on all major desktop platforms, with a mobile app for iOS also available.

Pricing: Workona’s free tier includes the full tab manager and allows you to create up to five workspaces, with unlimited docs, links, tasks, and notes. The Pro version costs $7 per user per month and supports unlimited workspaces with priority support, session backups, and additional premium features

Workona is developed by a small team based in San Mateo, California. Over the last two years I have been impressed by the steady improvements and reliable support. The company is well funded and has a solid roster of corporate clients.

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After you add a cloud app from this list, its icon appears in the sidebar on the left.

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The combination of a cross-platform browser extension and cloud service is uncanny in its ability to remember every open tab. I’ve organized my bookmarks and projects into workspaces, which sync across multiple PCs and Macs. If I shut down the browser, my open tabs are restored when I restart, allowing me to pick up where I left off.

It’s easy to keep projects organized by dragging pages between workspaces, and you can pin frequently-used pages to a workspace and organize them into blocks so that they’re easily accessible even after you close the tab. (Pages you pin to the browser window are available from any workspace.)

The coolest feature is the ability to integrate cloud-based apps into a workspace, allowing you to create a new document, start a Zoom call, or work with an existing project in Github by clicking an icon in the sidebar on the left.

One bonus from Workona’s tab management features is improved performance, as the software suspends tabs in the background so they don’t hog memory. You can configure the maximum number of tabs to allow in memory (by default, this number is set to 25) and automatically restore tabs in a suspended state so that they’re ready to go when needed.

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What really sets Workona apart from plain-vanilla tab management software is its support for collaboration features. You can share a workspace with other members of your organization or use an email link, and you can specify whether your co-workers are able to edit your workspace layout or not. One nice usability tweak for newcomers is a feature that offers to create starter workspaces based on your business type: law firms, for example, get document management templates that can be customized and duplicated for each client. A recent addition to the product offers task lists, integrated neatly into workspaces.

The glue that ties all these features together is an Omnibox-style search box that allows you to find any open tab, workspace, or saved resource. It also includes command-line options to create new resources on the fly. Even with a five-workspace limitation, the free version of Workona can make a major dent in your tab-overload problem.

Alternatives

TooManyTabs: If all you want is tab management in Firefox or Chrome and you’d rather not pay for the privilege, this popular, time-tested extension is your best choice.

Partizion: ZDNet’s Adrian Kingsley-Hughes raved about this Chrome-only extension recently. It offers a subset of Workona’s organizational features at a cost of $4 per month.

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