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Enable (vertical) side tabs in Google Chrome [Windows, Mac]

[2011-03-18] hack, computers, chrome
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Warning: Old post, may or may not work, any more.

Tabs for web pages in browsers are usually arranged horizontally, on top of the browser window. This arrangement has two disadvantages: First, with many tabs, it becomes impossible to read their titles. Second, horizontal tabs take up valuable vertical space on widescreen displays. The obvious solution is to arrange them vertically. Firefox has several ways to do this. It is one of three features I still miss from Chrome. But there now is a way to turn on a beta version of this feature in Chrome. This post explains how.

Horizontal tabs: Vertical space is wasted, tab titles become hard to read.
Vertical tabs: Better use of horizontal space on widescreen displays, titles readable even with many tabs. You can tell that it’s a beta feature, because everything still looks a bit ugly.
First step:
  • Windows: Type “about:flags” into the address bar. Enable “Side Tabs”. Restart Chrome [details].
  • Mac
    • Open Chrome from Terminal like this:
      /Applications/Google\\ Chrome -enable-vertical-tabs
    • If you want to make this more permanent: Rename the binary mentioned above (e.g. to “Google Chrome Binary”) and put a shell script that invokes it in its place [details]:
      exec "${0%/*}/Google Chrome Binary" -enable-vertical-tabs "$@"
Second step: Toggle vertical bars via the context menu that opens on a tab.

Related posts:
  1. What keeps me from switching from Firefox to Chrome
  2. Web browsing with tabs