This secret Google Chrome trick makes managing multiple browser tabs a breeze

Google Chrome lets you scroll through your tabs with a neat hidden feature

Google Chrome Logo
(Image credit: wccftech)

Google Chrome can be an organizational minefield: managing multiple devices' passwords, needing the likes of iCloud Passwords for Chrome, and simply having a smooth browsing experience without constant hiccups. 

Most of us juggle hundreds of tabs, webpages, and extensions, altogether lost in a sea of digital buttons. If this sounds familiar, then you could be in luck, with Google Chrome's secret tab scrolling function. 

Unlike Safari and Firefox browsers, Google Chrome’s tabstrip has never been scrollable; instead, Google Chrome keeps on reducing the size of tabs until individual favicons are the only distinguishing feature between them. This tends to worsen as the day rolls on and our tab volume grows.

It strains even the most surgical eyes: icons, at once impossible to tell apart, and even disappearing into Google Chrome’s outer margins. It's a thorn in the side of lockdown home working, which often requires not just many active tabs, but several screens to manage them.

But this nifty Google Chrome feature fixes this lapse in functionality. It lets users – in much the same way that Firefox does – enable a hidden flag to make the tabstrip scrollable. It builds on previous tweaks to tab functioning, including Tab Throttling that improves Chrome's speed, memory, and overall browsing prowess. 

The good news is that it doesn’t require any special beta version of Google Chrome or come as part of any wider update, rather it’s available in Chrome's generic version but disabled by default. It’s quite simple to turn on and is achievable through following these steps. 

Enable Google Chrome Scrollable TabStrip

Open Google Chrome on your computer. Hop over to the 'chrome://flags' window. Following this, search for 'Scrollable TabStrip', which should open a drop-down menu next to the Scrollable TabStrip option. 

Toggle it on to activate the function. If you also enable the 'Scrollable TabStrip' Buttons in Google Chrome, it lets you further customize the function by letting you use your mouse wheel to cycle through tabs, also letting you use the arrow buttons that appear in the tabstrip to scroll.

Finally, relaunch Google Chrome to prime and implement the changed settings. 

Tab Scrolling

And just like that: a scrollable utopia is unlocked. When you hit a certain amount of tabs, Google Chrome shrinks them in width to provide extra capacity before converting them to be automatically scrollable. 

It currently works on Windows and macOS. It helps to boost security by lessening the risk of misplaced clicks on incorrect tabs. Although Google Chrome has employed recent password security fixes, no browser is immune to a determined phishing attack, or a chaotic interface that helps camouflage malicious payloads. 

The scrollable feature should fly on the Apple Macbook Air (M1, 2020); strangely enough, it isn't confirmed as working on Chrome OS, so you might want to hold off from the allure of a new Chromebook from our best Chromebook guide for now.

As far as T3 is concerned, any news that increases the user-experience on Google Chrome is good news. We'd fully advise switching this on unless you can keep your tabs in an orderly form – much easier said than done with our increasing reliance on digital for managing our lives.

Source: XDA Developers

Luke Wilson
Luke Wilson

Luke covers all things tech at T3. Disc golf enthusiast, keen jogger, and fond of all things outdoors (when not indoors messing around with gadgets)