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Quickly Save Tab Sessions in Chrome Without Installing Extensions

multiple tabs in Google Chrome

How many tabs are too many?

I often have a bunch of tabs open in Chrome, each sucking away on precious system resources and battery juice, simply because I think that I’m a multitasking ninja.

“I can’t close that yet as I haven’t read it properly,” I’ll reason with myself.

“And as for those other 15 tabs? Well, I’ll get around to seeing if I’m done with them in a bit.”

Eventually I end up with so many tabs on the go that something gives – usually my patience!

‘Many of these tabs are open for a reason – I don’t want to lose them.’

The crux of the issue is that many of these tabs are open for a reason. I might be doing research on a topic, or have stumbled onto some interesting articles that I just don’t have time to read at that precise moment.

There are a number of well-known ways to deal with this ‘problem’, but most involve installing some form of “Tab Saver” extension or signing up for a web service. That doesn’t tickle my fancy.

But I recently learnt that Google Chrome offers a way to save and restore a group of tabs without the need to install anything extra.  Even better, this method will sync with your Chrome account so that the set of tabs you save on one device can be restored on another.

For fellow sufferers of multi-tab-itis, what follows is a partial cure.

Save & Restore Tab Sessions in Google Chrome

The first thing we want to do is create a bookmark folder in which future tab sessions will be stored. Now, you can skip this step if you want, but it helps keep things organised.

Right-click on the Bookmarks Bar (you can create it in the bookmarks menu if you wish, but I find having it readily accessible from the Bookmarks Bar is a plus) and choose ‘Add Folder…‘.

A modal dialog will appear asking you to give it a name. Don’t get too fancy; I titled mine ‘Saved Tabs’.

Screen Shot 2013-10-11 at 13.21.22

When you next need (or want) to save a set of open tabs you need only right-click on the tab bar (aim for a specific tab if it helps) and choose the ‘Bookmark All Tabs option.

Screen Shot 2013-10-10 at 21.37.00

Upon clicking this option the following bookmark dialog will appear:

Screen Shot 2013-10-10 at 21.37.41

First, label the group of tabs with something memorable – e.g. the date or a theme. Then select the folder you created earlier. Finally, hit ‘OK’ to save them.

With your tabs now saved you can close or exit Chrome safely with the knowledge that you’ll be able to pick up right where you left off. If you have bookmark sync enabled, you’ll even be able to restore them from another computer.

Restoring Tabs

Restoring tabs from a saved session is easy: right-click on the appropriate folder in Saved Tabs and choose the ‘Open All Bookmarks’ option to load them in the current window, or ‘Open All Bookmarks in New Window‘ to have them launch in a new Chrome window.

Screen Shot 2013-10-10 at 21.37.48

Simple.

  • toddh

    Great tip, thanks!

  • Chuck Cortes

    Great tip, only downside is that you have to delete the bookmarks if you dont plan on opening them again and want to save new ones. Its a good tip but Session Buddy is still a better option even if it requires to install an extension. It automatically saves the tabs, saves more than one set and can even save them permanently. The only thing it needs is a cloud storage option.

    • clarealice77

      Hey Chuck, no you can save as many folders and sub folders of tabs as you want… That enables you to right-click on only a specific folder /set of tabs and open that only.

  • Devon Garber

    You sound like me with Chrome on my Nexus 4.

  • Jennifer J. Majors

    Thanks for the tip!! I use chrome or torch browser (which is technically a chrome browser too) so it should work for both…I think. Nice answer to a problem I oftne have!

  • ando

    shit, i thought this would be something different, i’ve been doing this for a while now

  • Jansen

    middle mouse button click on the bookmark folder also opens all the saved pages in it

  • Lakshmi Narayanan

    Actually there is a setting in chrome to load the tabs from previous time (Continue where I left off) on startup. This does the same.

    • ctchrisf

      never works unless chrome chrashes. If I close chrome and restart only one window will be restored.

      • nitesh bhutani

        true ….tabs are loaded only when crome crashes..!

        • Incognito

          This is probably because you are using mac and you pressed the red close button instead of ‘quit’ on the popup menu on dock

  • Moaz Ibrahim

    That was a life saver! , running on 30 tabs at the moment! , made my day! Yeaaay!

  • Zakidine

    i’ve been doing this for years :(

    • sell_him

      wow you’re fucking amazing!

      • Zakidine

        truth be told, i am!!

  • clarealice77

    Thanks Joey-Elijah this was an awesome tip! You have just made my working week more efficient!

  • helloct

    GREAT POST!

  • Vengatesh TR

    Time saver. Thanks :)

  • IceCold Swede

    TNX! Life saver! Even with 32gb ram chrome sucks soo much memory with 175 tabs open. Now i finally can close some “later reading windows” :)

  • Erika

    Thank you! Much better than installing stuff!

  • Kerny OBryan

    awesome – thank you

  • LA

    Thank you for this!! I’m a nightmare for tabs this is very helpful!

  • stickler87

    But it doesn’t save the tabs’ browsing history, which is what I need! This way, you just get to access the same URL that was bookmarked and not the entire trail of URLs which lead to this URL in your browsing session. Can you please help me with that???

    • Mtn Sunshine

      I use “Open Link in New Tab” to solve that issue ;)

  • Iogui

    Thanks man! It was nice!

  • Rajiv Sen

    Thanks a lot, Joey. :)

  • Gregor

    thanks a lot!!!

  • http://therunnersports.com/ Tyler Arnold

    Gotta love Chrome. Always thinking of the little stuff.

  • Alex

    Nice workaround, but still not as good as tab groups in Firefox. Switching groups is a bit clunky this way, as you have to manually close all your tabs from the previous group. I use Chrome 99% of the time, but really miss tab group functionality and haven’t found an extension that works as well as the native Firefox tab groups (suggestions welcome!). Ideally I’d like the pinned tabs to be present in every group, and unpinned tabs to be able to be switched in and out as groups.

  • Brendon James Gansemer

    Thank you so much for sharing this idea using basic Chrome features. Although I do not share your aversion to downloading an extension for help, this VERY easy workaround completely erases ANY need to download an extension to save a browsing session you want to temporarily close.

  • Sinornithosaurus Millenii

    Wait, what happens if you had previous history on your tabs? Does it get deleted?

  • ChefTalk

    Thanks for posting this I appreciate it.

  • Kevin Dondrea

    Yes, thank you very much. This article is ME :) Sometimes I’ll have tabs open for weeks. I too do research, program and I do support. I make one click fixes for common problems.

  • Stav

    Nice! Too bad this is isn’t the first hit on Google for “chrome save sessions”. It should be, rather than those extensions

  • http://RobinLilfelt.dk/ Robin Lilfelt

    Thank you so much!! It saved my day as well. I agree with the others in here; there should have been an option to save a tab with your tab-history included.

    You’re awesome Joey! (=

    • Mtn Sunshine

      You can use “Open Link in New Tab” to solve that issue ;)

      • http://RobinLilfelt.dk/ Robin Lilfelt

        Yea, but what I would have loved to do is the ability to actually have the tab-history embedded with the bookmark, so you could hold down the back button to see exactly how you got to a certain page. I just think that would help you remember in which context you wanted to save this, such as what you googled.

        I know it might not ever happen, and that the real reason why I (was / kinda still are) having trouble closing down my tabs, is because my bookmarks-folder is a huge mess. Cleaning it up would take such a long time, and the Chrome bookmarks organiser isn’t exactly complete. Things such as tags, would probably make a big difference, if the major browsers started doing this.

        Oh well, I’m sure I’ll figure out a way that works for me, eventually.

        • Mtn Sunshine

          My old Chrome bookmarks are a mess too, as I only save individual ones to Google online bookmarks now. ;) I think I actually use Bookmark All Tabs to do exactly what you want. As I open each new link in a new tab, it maintains the order of how I got there…altho I may delete a page here and there if it was not worth keeping. I separate groups of tabs, if need be, so that I can label each group to find it again (which essentially tagging). Saving the actual google search results tab can also serve as a divider.

          I created a new folder in Bookmark Manager called Cmark Tabs (or Saved Tabs) and saved it to my Bookmarks Bar…so that I can choose that location when I bookmark all tabs. I have also saved the Bookmark Manager to the Bookmarks Bar to get to it quickly. The newest folder is always at the bottom of the nested list, so it’s pretty easy to scroll to…or just use the search function to locate the labeled folder. Reorganizing by dragging folders or saved tabs around or nesting works very easily too. I’m sure, too, that you’ll figure out what will work for you…Good Luck!

  • Ryan

    Great tip, very useful!

  • Olivoist

    Thanks for sharing this very usefull and simple tip

  • Brenda

    absolutely simply brilliant, thanks – has saved me hours of frustration trying to search through history for unread tabs

  • Esther

    THANK YOU! i am a tab addict and i’ve been dying to have a trick like this for a long time… it’s a shame it took me this long to google it.

  • john

    Thanks!

  • smartalx

    This isn’t the same thing as saving a tab session since it doesn’t keep the history. You are just bookmarking.

  • theconsultingdramaqueen

    THANK YOU!!! I should’ve googled this ages ago, seeing as I knew how to do it when I used firefox. This helps so much.

  • One

    Or you could try “One Tab”
    http://goo.gl/SSidq

  • Nick

    thank you! very helpful! just what i need :)

  • Nathan Young

    Oh my goodness, this was ridiculously helpful. Thank you so much.

  • Bakka

    cool, easy, sneaky way to save tabs, thx :)
    ctrl shift d to quickly bookmark all open tabs

    • Boolean

      Thanks man.

  • amr_h

    coool man

  • ddd

    This is pointless…Just close your Chrome and when you open it again go to Recently closed tabs it will show you the last opened tabs(it will say Ex. “4 tabs”),you click and voila

    • Matt Mitchell

      What about when you wish to navigate the tabs in the meantime and come back to previous pages later?

    • vivian-li

      But this wouldn’t work if the person just wanted to have those saved tabs and windows closed for the time being while doing other browsing. The method in this article would allow you bring up those saved tabs/windows at a later date when you need it.

  • http://www.marcelopedra.com.ar/blog/ Marcelo Pedra

    and what you would do when you have a dozen chorme windows with 40 open tabs each? huh? I cannot even turn off the computer, this method nor the open recently used tabs is useful to me. I need to be able to completely close Chrome and be able to open it after restart the pc and reopen ALL of the windows and tabs, exactly as I had it…. BTW, I use Great suspender to redue RAM consumption with such a huge amount of open tabs. but still I need a solution to be able to safely close the browser and restart the computer or even play a game without the RAM struggle.

  • 1Deni1

    thank you for the info :D

  • Joseph Michael Dunn

    The only thing that Chrome doesn’t have (or does) is that you can’t make your bookmarks private and connected to your Google account via your Gmail account so that if you take a coffee break and sign out of Gmail/Google no one would be able to see and use your bookmarks.

  • markvvaals

    Thanks for this, am a Chrome power user but didn’t know about this work around. Love it, as I aim to keep the amount of extensions limited.

  • Suraj Vinay Mohan

    click settings.. Under … ‘On Startup’ …. highlight –>> Continue where you left off

    • Xiaomin Yu

      this is what I look for

    • Guney

      This is also useful but with this option you can only save the last window you close. Doesn’t work if you have 2 windows with 10 tabs in each.

  • NadsH

    I love this tip, this is certainly very helpful and I was looking for something just like the Sublimetext save as project functionality. This is good for grouping although what I would love is ability to store tabs as group or Project and be able to seamlessly open and close the entire project

  • Ana Soles

    Genial :D

  • vivian-li

    Exactly the information I needed! I too am a severe sufferer of “multi-tabilitis” — more often than not I have 40+ tabs going at once. I can’t ever close them ’cause I do need the information for longer, so until now I’ve developed the nasty habit of keeping my laptop on almost 24/7. Geez, what a troglodyte I was.

  • Local_Case

    Thanks man! Awesome!

  • Nitin Bodke

    Thanks a ton!

  • Snorri Kristjánsson

    Great! Thank you so much :)

  • moabird

    Thanks for this! At this very moment I have exactly 44 tabs open, now I have a solution to browse further without the clutter. ^^

  • Ray Lombardy

    this is great…have had multi-tab-itis for years. Never realizing the solution wa so simple. Thanks for this!