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How to search open tabs in Firefox

Firefox displays only a handful of open tabs at the same time in the tabbar of the browser. The browser reduces the width of open tabs up to a certain point and adds scroll buttons to the tab bar; this behavior is different to that of Chromium-based browsers such as Google Chrome which reduce the width until tabs are no longer shown on the browser’s tabbar.

Firefox users can change the minimum and maximum tab width used by Firefox to display tabs.

Users of the browser have multiple options when it comes to finding open tabs in the browser. From scrolling the tabbar and using the tab list icon to searching across all open tabs.

Firefox users who don’t want to install an extension for that, Search Multi Tabs is a recent extension that is compatible with Firefox, can run searches from the browser’s address bar directly.

Firefox suggests open tabs when users enter matching phrases into the address bar; what many Firefox users may not know is that Firefox supports a special character that makes the search exclusive.

Instead of searching open tabs, bookmarks, the browsing history, and displaying search suggestions, Firefox would just display matching open tabs.

firefox tab search

All you have to do is start the query with % followed by a space character and then the search phrase. If you want to search for “firefox” across all open tabs, you’d type % firefox to run that search.

Firefox displays matching tabs in the list of results while you type. The listing is updated in real-time as you type; just select one of the results to jump to the tab directly in the browser.

The search works across browser windows. All tabs in all Firefox windows are searched when you use the parameter.

Tip: you can configure Firefox to search Ghacks from the address bar (and other sites).

Mozilla plans to make tab search more visible in future versions of Firefox by adding a “search tabs” entry to the tab listing icon. A click on the option adds % to the address bar and focuses it.

Note that the icon is only displayed if a certain number of tabs is open in Firefox.

While not particularly time saving, as it may be faster to type % in the address bar direct, it may highlight the function to Firefox users who are unaware of it.

Now You: how many tabs have you open in your browser?

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