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Is there a way to show tabs on multiple rows in Google Chrome?

After I posted the "How to show tabs on multiple rows in Mozilla Firefox" article, some readers emailed me how to get the same feature in Google Chrome, which seems to be an equally popular browser these days.

Well, let's see how to improve your tabbed browser experience in Google Chrome!

The current design of Google Chrome's app model does not allow you to show tabs on multiple rows. It is designed to allow only a single row for tabs and this cannot be changed with some Chrome extension or hack.

But is there a way to make your tabbed browsing better in Google Chrome? The answer is Yes. There are at least two options to improve it.

The first option is an old, but not so well known feature called Stacked Tabs. It is a built-in Chrome option, so it does not require the installation of any third-party add-ons. After enabling this feature, only the top most tabs of the stack will have captions, the rest will all be stacked under it. This reduces clutter.

How to enable the Stacked Tabs feature in Google Chrome

  1. Type the following in Google Chrome's address bar and then press Enter:
    chrome://flags/#stacked-tab-strip

    This will bring you directly to the required setting.
    Note: There is no user interface support to enable the Stacked Tabs feature in Chrome's regular settings. Congrats, you just discovered one of its hidden features.

  2. Click the Enable link to enable this feature and restart the browser for changes to take effect.

Before:

After:

As you can see, the active tab and the surrounding tabs have readable captions.

Option two: the Tabs Outliner extension

Tabs Outliner is very handy extension to improve your productivity. It adds a button and a popup window which represents tabs under a tree view. The roots of the tree are Google Chrome windows, and the subitems are tabs inside that window. Once you click on the extension button, the popup window will appear and you will be able to navigate to the specific tab with just one single click.

Closing Words

Although it is not possible to get tabs on multiple rows in Google Chrome, the methods described above can significantly improve your productivity if you have lots of tabs open. Depending on your own preferences, you may stick with Tabs Outliner or tweak you browser to use the Stacked Tabs feature. Both options are handy for people who work with large amounts of tabs simultaneously.

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10 thoughts on “Is there a way to show tabs on multiple rows in Google Chrome?

  1. patrick

    The first strategy – changing Chrome’s settings – no longer works. The link you posted to get to Chrome settings leads you to those settings, but Stacked Tabs is no longer a changeable option. It actually no longer appears at all.

    Reply
  2. Jason

    Yea, it would help if you mentioned what Chrome build stream (Stable, Canary, Beta, etc) and version supported this, so I could go hunt it down!

    Reply

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