How to save open tabs on any web browser

Step away from the internet and come back later.
blank internet browser window with three tabs opened
You don't need to lose your place on the internet. DepositPhotos

It’s easy to end up with dozens of tabs open as you browse the internet. But what happens when you need to step away? You probably don’t want to lose the webpages you’re currently looking at when it’s time to stop endlessly browsing.

Thankfully, modern-day browsers include features that can put a pin in your browsing journey and help you come back to it later. You don’t have to leave all those tabs open on your computer until you return (which can quickly get confusing, as well as not being the best idea as far as security and privacy goes).

If you’re overwhelmed with browser tabs and need to take a break or start again, here’s how to put those tabs away in a safe place so you can come back to them later.

Google Chrome

Bookmarks are one way to save your tabs in Chrome. Screenshot: Chrome

If you’re closing down Chrome and want to get back to the same tabs again when it reopens, click the three dots (top right) then choose Settings. Under On start-up, select Continue where you left off. This will keep sessions going even if the browser is closed, but it doesn’t work so well if you want to use Chrome for something else in the meantime, and you want your current tabs to disappear for a while.

Another option is to right-click on a blank area of the tab bar, then choose Bookmark All Tabs. On the dialog that pops up, create a new folder with a name that will remind you what these tabs are for, then save the tabs to them. You can get back to them at any time by clicking the three dots (top right) then Bookmarks and lists.

There’s one more option for Chrome: Right-click on a tab header, choose Add Tab to New Group, and you can create a new group of tabs (right-click on other tab headers to add them to your group). Right-click on the group name in the tab bar, choose Save Group, and it gets added to the bookmarks bar just below—you can then right-click again on the group name and pick Hide group to make it disappear temporarily. Click its entry on the bookmarks bar to bring it back.

Microsoft Edge

Collections is a handy feature in Edge. Screenshot: Edge

Over in Microsoft Edge, click the three dots (top right), then Settings: If you open the Start, home, and new tabs panel, you can select Open tabs from the previous session. This means you won’t lose your tabs when you close and reopen Edge, and will work if you’re just taking a break from your browsing and then coming back to the same task.

For something a bit more comprehensive and flexible, you can save tabs as bookmarks—this means you can close all of the tabs down and come back to them whenever you like in the future. Right-click on a header of one of the open tabs, then choose Add All Tabs to Favorites, then create a folder to hold them in. You can get back to the tabs whenever you like via the three dots (top right) and Favorites.

Microsoft Edge also offers a feature called Collections, which works a bit like a more advanced version of bookmarks. Click the Collections button on the toolbar (two layered rectangles with a plus sign): On the sidebar that appears, you can create new collections and add currently open tabs to them, which can then be brought back whenever they’re needed from the same side panel.

Mozilla Firefox

Firefox can open up with the tabs from the last session. Screenshot: Firefox

If you’re a Firefox user, then you can make sure open tabs persist between browsing sessions by clicking the three lines (top right), choosing Settings, and opening up the General tab. Enable the Open previous windows and tabs option, and everything that you’ve currently got open will stay in place even if you close Firefox.

That’s fine if you’re carrying on with the same project between sessions, but if you want to hide the current group of tabs for a while longer, you can use bookmarks. Right-click on a blank area of the tab header bar, then click Select All Tabs. With that done, right-click on a tab header and choose Bookmark Tabs. Give the tab folder a name you’ll recognize later, and you can get back to your tabs via the three lines (top right) and Bookmarks.

Firefox doesn’t have tab grouping like Chrome, or the Collections feature that Edge offers, but it does have some excellent third-party browser extensions you can make use of. One such extension is Workana, which is a comprehensive way of managing open tabs and sessions—it’s free to use for managing up to five different tab groups.

Apple Safari

You can save open tabs in groups in Safari. Screenshot: Safari

For those of you who browse in Safari on macOS, you can ensure open tabs stay in place: Open the Safari menu and select Settings, then head to the General tab and the Safari opens with menu. Choose All windows from last session to keep your tabs in place.

To keep a group of tabs accessible over a longer period of time, using bookmarks is a better option: If you open the Bookmarks menu, you’ll see you can add all the open tabs to a folder, or all the selected tabs to a folder (use Cmd+Click on a tab header if you need to select multiple tabs). You can save the tabs to a folder, which is then always accessible from the Bookmarks menu.

Safari supports tab groups too, which are very similar to bookmarks, with a few differences (you can open all the tabs in a group at once, for example, but not in a bookmarks folder). Select one or more tabs, right-click on the tab headers, and then choose Move to Tab Group. Even if you then close down these tabs, you can get them back from the Safari sidebar (View and Show Sidebar if you can’t see it).