Enable Tab Search Feature in Google Chrome

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How to enable the Tab Search feature in Google Chrome

Google is constantly trying to improve user's experience with the browser with plenty of open tabs. You may remember the scrollable tabstrip option that we recently reviewed. Here is yet another step in the same direction - the new Tab Search feature that is already available in the stable Chrome 86.

Google Chrome is the most popular web browser which exists for all major platforms like Windows, Android and Linux. It comes with a powerful rendering engine which supports all modern web standards.

Currently, when you open multiple tabs, their width will reduce until you can only see the icon. Further opening tabs will make the icon disappear too. This makes it hard to quickly go to a specific tab. The new Tab Search feature can help in this situation.

It was already known for some time that Google was working on this built-in feature (that doesn't require you to install any extension). It is currently available on Chrome OS out of the box. On Windows , it can be enabled by modifying the Chrome shortcut. Also, starting in Chrome Canary 88.0.4300.0, there is a flag for that.

This post will show you how to enable the Tab Search feature in Google Chrome.

To Enable Tab Search feature in Google Chrome,

  1. Open Google Chrome.
  2. Type chrome://flags/#enable-tab-search in the address bar and press Enter.
  3. Select Enabled from the drop-down list for the Enable Tab Search option.
  4. Restart the browser.

You are done!

The above assumes that you are running Chrome 88.0.4300.0 or later. In older releases, e.g. Chrome 86 stable, you need to modify the browser shortcut.

Enable Tab Search feature in Google Chrome by modifying its shortcut

  1. Close the Chrome browser if you have it open.
  2. Right-click on its shortcut, e.g. in or Desktop, or on other shortcut you have.
  3. Select Properties from the right-click context menu.
  4. In Properties, modify the Target text field by adding the following argument:  --enable-features=TabSearch. Perpend it with a space, e.g. first add a space after chrome.exe to get something like this: "C:\Program Files\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" --enable-features=TabSearch.
  5. Launch the browser with the modified shortcut.

You are done!

After you launch the browser with the modified shortcut, you will notice a new button in the tab row. It will open a search flyout that allows typing the tab name. There is also a hotkey to open it, Ctrl+Shift+E.

The matched tabs will be listed below the search box. You will be able to directly go to a tab by clicking on its name, or close it using the cross icon button next to the tab's name.

The following video demonstrates the Tab Search feature working in Google Chrome 86.

That's it.

Thanks to Leo.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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