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Show HN: Tablist – a chrome extension to copy and paste lists of open tabs (chrome.google.com)
135 points by slymax 82 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 79 comments

I don't understand why a simple export of the list of current tabs open is not a basic, built-in feature of the browser.

I am not asking for management or storage or export or sharing ... or anything interesting at all. I should just be able to go to:


(or whatever) and see a text list of tab URLs. All browsers should have this functionality.

I don't understand a lot of things about browsers, including why they don't log/persist caches of the full content of all history (for full text search at the minimum), why they still send user-agent headers, why they persist all cookies for all domains by default, et c.

It's making me rather cynical, because I'd like to think that browsers are user agents, but I think these days they're just advertising company agents that happen to run on users' computers.

For full-text search over all history, History Hound (https://www.stclairsoft.com/HistoryHound/) works pretty well if you're on macOS.

[No affiliation, I'm just a user]

For Chrome/ium (very similar for Firefox)

- Ctrl+Shift+D (bookmark all), optionally type name, press Enter

- Ctrl+Shift+O [Cmd+Shift+ B on Mac IIRC] (open bookmarks), click on the folder or navigate to it with Tab and arrows

- Important: press Tab to select the contents rather than the folder

- Ctrl+A, Ctrl+C


Thank you. I am not a chrome user, however - do any such utility pages exist for Firefox and Safari ?

its frustrating, along a similar vein I was trying to export my history from firefox and ... well that wasnt happening.

Really like OneTab for this same functionality. https://www.one-tab.com - For Firefox and Chrome.

Differences, clicking OneTab's "Share as web page" will give you a link with the date-time you merged your tabs into the OneTabs list as well as a QR Code.

Saving tabs and also saving memory, when it auto merges them into a single space.

I really wish OneTab could sync between different computers. I regularly use three different machines and hate when I can't find a Tab I saved on one of the machines I'm not currently using.

Damn, I guess I've just been used to just finding a solution myself by merging into the OneTab singlepage, then using an easy to remember url shortener, to pull it up on another machine. Will try the suggestions posted in replies to this, hopefully with make things easier.

Try https://tab.bz instead

Been using one one tab for last 3years and I have around 3000 tabs list :)

I hope you take backups - I lost 500 tabs stored in OneTab about 3 years ago. Just launched the browser like always, only to see blank onetab page. It probably wasn’t the extension’s fault but browser’s (I don’t remember whether I was using Vivaldi or Opera at that time), but that day I moved to https://pinboard.in

Hey, care to describe, in brief when you get a sec, pinboards difference or benefits to onetab?

For a rather fair price ($1/mo.), I get synchronization between devices, link tagging and custom notes (attached to bookmarks or not). I can search everything I entered by full text search (and for extra $1/mo., you can also search the content of webpages your saved links lead to). There is some staring feature (mark as favorite) and "todo" marking, but I never used these.

You can export your bookmarks in JSON, HTML or XML. I have a Python script that takes the JSON export and sends my bookmarks to archive.org's Save Page Now! service https://pastebin.com/uUVE22RD .

The biggest downside is that UI is slower, as obviously a web server is involved. But I like the UX flow provided by BrowserNative's Pinboard extension[0]: Alt+P to open bookmarking page, hit few letters of a tag, hit Tab to accept suggestion, hit Enter to Save, hit Ctrl+W to close the tab.

I have to say however, that my use case is primarily saving stuff "for future reference" or as long-term todo. I still have 20+ tabs open for short-lived stuff. Perhaps your workflow may differ.

What I miss a bit about onetab is the ability to quickly save or restore a whole set of tabs, and how you can open and delete a link in a single click.

[0]: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/pinboardin/

For what it's worth, since folks are mentioning other extensions, my full-featured tab manager extension, Tabli (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/tabli/igeehkedfibb...) provides a "Copy Window Summary" action that will copy all open windows and tabs to the Clipboard as a nicely-formatted Markdown table. Tabli was a "Show HN" items about 5 years ago and is still actively maintained. Of interest to HN crowd: MIT licensed, no cloud component, rigorous privacy policy (100% in-browser), keyboard shortcuts for most functionality. I wrote a Medium piece with an overview of Tabli a couple of weeks ago: https://medium.com/@antonycourtney/taming-tab-hell-with-tabl...

Why do we open new tabs?

1. We want to do multiple things at once (very rare, very limited, let's say we have 5 such things, Gmail, Slack, Gitlab, monitoring, etc.)

2. We want to have websites preloaded and ready to go as soon as we get to that tab (often)

3. We want to "bookmark" links temporarily without actually saving them into our Bookmarks (this goes hand in hand with point 2. but not always)

4. Observation: large numbers of pre-opened tabs will stay opened for a very long time until we actually find the time to get to them, consuming memory, tab bar space, as well as our mental space as we have their tab icons visible.

So I think based on the above, an ideal tab management system would:

- understand "sessions/groups/trees", e.g. I opened HN and alt+clicked on links and discussions that interest me as I went through the list

- gave me an opportunity to transfer such "trees" to another browser window, session, computer

- had an option to automatically, or on a command, archive (and later restore from) these into a tab history, which would retain the hierarchy

- had other functionality that I cannot foresee at this moment

Additionally, the browser should probably load & pause a background tab once its opened using alt+click, and only run it once its actually opened by the user.

Edit: formatting

Reminds me of the chrome extension I made for myself that will close all tabs with the same domain as the active tab. Usually I end up with many reddit tabs open and I want to close all the tabs I opened except for the home page that I'm currently on.


I open new tabs because I want to branch the information that I am looking at to see some thing related to some thing I have just seen. I want to cross reference information that I am reading. I might lookup a quora answer to a question when someone talks about some thing I don't know about. Or use a dictionary. Each tab is an inquiry for me.

I see web browsers as digital magazine renderers. Each tab is a new magazine or magazine page. The web isn't very composable, clicking on a link takes me to a new magazine page, complete with its own design and own design language. There's no way to interrupt the browser at a particular point where I am reading in the magazine and have it introduce other cross referenced content within the article I am already reading. I have to go to a separate tab and separate page for it.

This is pretty close to what I get out of Tree Style Tab + Auto Tab Discard on Firefox. I haven't found any Chrome extensions with the same convenience for managing tabs. Tabs Outliner is close but the fact that it's not bound to each window makes it pretty inconvenient to use.

A simple tip for those with many tabs open: Shift + Select multiple tabs and drag them into a new window. That feature helps me clean up 100+ open tabs in Chrome.

Wow, thank you. These life-changing tips really need to be much more easily discoverable.

The browser could check your tab patterns and offer tips. For example, if you have a hundred of tabs but navigating mostly within a limited set of them, a cartoonish fox would appear in the bottom right corner, asking if you need assistance

Also works with Firefox

If you're one of those who use Safari and finds the idea appealing: Tabs To Links[0] is a Safari native extension that does something similar.

Pretty polished, and has some goodies like trimming the site's name from the tab title. It's made by Benjamin Mayo[1]. Very useful.

[0]: http://tabstolinks.com

[1]: https://bzamayo.com

Punk-o-matic was the first time I encountered the idea of a string-serializable program state and my mind was blown. I think more applications would benefit from being able to turn things into a text state, especially ones with a lot of configuration.

Imagine hitting a button and having AWS drop everything it does into a Terraform file or CloudFormation file or something. Or maybe you go through the UI selecting options and at the end you hit "Export to TF" and you get a TF thing selecting the options you had. That would be cool!

I've heard that Azure has something like this but I haven't tried it myself.

I use CopyTabTitleUrl -- I like that I can key bind it, and customize the output that gets pasted.

I press Option + C, and the output looks like this:

* CopyTabTitleUrl – Get this Extension for Firefox (en-US) || https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/copytabtitleu...

Works in Firefox and Chrome.

* CopyTabTitleUrl - Chrome Web Store || https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/copytabtitleurl/lm...

It can also grab the format for all open tabs. Here it's grabbing the title + URL, complete with my formatting.

* Netflix || https://www.netflix.com/...

* Hacker News || https://news.ycombinator.com/

* Amazon.com: Online Shopping for Electronics, Apparel, Computers, Books, DVDs & more || https://www.amazon.com/

I have https://clusterwm.com/ set up to open once I hit Cmd+Shift+L.

It opens a new tab with a list of open tabs and a (focused) search field you can use to filter that list. Really useful when you have a ton of open tabs and looking for one in particular.

This looks really nice. It looks like it does a lot. Does it play well with other extensions - privacy extensions, memory management extensions etc?

GoTo Tab is similar but it opens as a dialog menu not a new tab. https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/goto-tab/hjfkaobgk...

Interesting. Would this also supersede the need to use extensions that attempt to put tabs to sleep to manage memory usage? When I was using Chrome it was always the memory usage by many tabs that caused me problems.


I use and can recommend the chrome extension from https://sessionbuddy.com/

Even if you don't use it actively, it periodically saves the state of your windows and tabs (all locally), so you can restore sessions from months and years ago.

SessionBuddy is amazing. It is the only thing I am missing from chrome.

Although it is not open-source, it has customizable exports in a variety of text formats . Too tired to write more, but if you use chrome check it out.

Session Buddy is great though I moved to Bookmark OS as it was easier to share sessions between browsers https://bookmarkos.com

Just curious - what is the amount of tabs that everyone else has open right now in their browser?

I currently have 29... Trying to figure out on which side I'm an outlier. I know (thanks to the favicon) what each tab is and when I'll use it next, but am I just wasting ram on my computer and in meatspace?

2333 tabs open (Firefox 75.0), split between three windows atm. Using ~3GB, about 50/50 split between main process and plugin-containers.

There's no clear reason for page to be on any specific window though. Usually I just end up with 15 pages open next to each other about some specific topic that I'm interested at that time.

Running quite minimal amount of add-ons. Tab Stats is one I'd recommend for people with large amount of tabs. Provides easy way to prune duplicates etc.

Usually probably about 1000 tabs, spread over 100 to 200 windows on 10–20 virtual desktops. (I also block Javascript by default, so Firefox still runs alright.)

How do you manage the windows? Opening other windows is how I've lost open tabs before, so now I keep a single Firefox window.

I tend to give each major thing I'm working on its own virtual desktop, which has a bunch of open browser and other windows. Each of the browser windows tends to have its own theme, too. (E.g. documentation for a particular framework, articles from a particular journal, a news topic, etc.) That makes it relatively easy for me to keep a handle on things. If I feel like I can't find things on a virtual desktop any more, that's my hint to clean things up a bit.

My biggest source of grief is session management between restarts. Firefox thankfully remembers the windows and tabs, but it doesn't reopen windows on the same virtual desktops they were on when it closed, at least under GNOME defaults. (Nor do the other programs.) That makes me do a lot of manual rearranging whenever it restarts, which is a pain. Other than that, it usually works well.

If you cant remember where the tab is by its favicon, the easiest thing to do is search for it by name.


Waterfox user here. I use different Mozilla profiles for different subject matters (eg, learn.kubernetes, project.xxxxx, stealth, hn.reader, etc). I've had several generations of 'HN reader' browser profiles; each between 3000-5000 tabs. I start a new HN reader profile when the last one's unusable because of the amount of memory required to load it.

In my mobile phone I have more than 100 tabs open. I can't really read the amount of tabs because the number had been changed to a :D (after 99 instead of 100 it displays the :D)!

I just keep tabs open as a reminder to read stuff but unfortunately I rarely find the time. I guess I'll need to find a better way to organise my 'to read' list ...

1527 tabs in this session with about half of them loaded in fully and half just "suspended" with tab history and favicon. My browser is using just under 3.5 GB of ram. I don't use 'web apps' block all JS and run a single process browser that isn't chrome.

I have eight Chrome windows open across six workspaces.

Seven windows have between 5 and 20 tabs open.

And I'm ashamed to report the eighth window has so many tabs I can't see them all when maximized on a 32-inch monitor, just have to ctrl-tab through the invisible ones that scroll off the right side.

I have 5 tabs open. It usually bounces between 5-50 as I try to close tabs I'm not using.

I feel like browsers should have a refresh button. I have Firefox set to clear history and tabs on closing since that is what I usually prefer. However, once in a while I'll have 20 tabs open, but Firefox has been running for days and I feel like it's eating up more memory than it needs and getting sluggish. It would be nice to click a button where it simply closes and reopens Firefox with all of the tabs present again.

Before Firefox switched to WebExtensions there were addons that made that possible, but I don't think they work anymore. So I have about:profiles page bookmarked which has the restart button and use that when needed. Not the most elegant solution, but it works.

Right now 1 since I just finished editing a podcast and I'm ready to reward myself with a little break.

I typically close my browser when I'm done doing something and I don't have it remember my last opened tabs.

Usually when developing or casually browsing I'll have anywhere between 3 and 15+ depending on what I'm researching and doing. I'm totally cool with them disappearing when I'm done with the session.

On Chrome I have 4 windows with - 46, 20, 13 & 21 tabs open. I use the "Cluster - Window & Tab Manager" extension. I use Chrome for personal tasks on my work computer.

On Firefox - I have 7 windows with ~200 tabs open. I wish cluster was available on Firefox

I have about 200 tabs open in Firefox right now, spread out over a couple of windows (general, video, work 1, work 2, applications). I am using TreeStyleTabs though

yesterday I exported and closed 706 tabs in Android Chrome. Natively, you can't export/bookmark tabs in bulk on Android. I used adb to get json list, then converted json to csv and a custom python script to get an HTML file from the csv and export them to a folder in Bookmarks Bar.

Now, thinking of using some newsletter automation to deliver 5 links from those folders daily so that I can remove them over time.

The other day I had over 800. I went on a closing spree and whittled them down to ~150 that I'm _sure_ I'll get around to reading any day now.

> You are about to close 11 windows with 68 tabs

Try to keep it < 50 and 2-3 windows on average.

I'm way beyond ':D'...

The goal was to get rid of tabs, not to let them grow exponentially! :c

Serious question, people who have hundreds or thousands of tabs at a time, why? Personally I've never found the need to have so many tabs open.

I think my tabs mostly belong to one of two categories:

* Research about a subject (that I didn't close when I continued to the next one)

* "Oh that's interesting, I'll read it later"

I do remember that 10+ years ago I used to have a nice collection of bookmarks, each with relevant tags. Then one day I had to switch browsers due to performance issues, the new browser didn't support tags from the previous one so lost everything. Ended up just keeping tabs open after that and every now and then I just go through them until 500 or so remain.

For the "read it later" scenario I'm aware that there are a lot of services that try to solve that problem, none that I've tried just seem to fit my workflow.

I'm very similar to you... i even made a webext to help me find tabs quickly as i will tend to open a window do something and then open up a few tabs in that window and eventually minimize the window to dock. if you have a hundred tabs open across many windows you come into a situation of where did that tab go? now it's just cmd-shift-e and visually scroll through the list of open tabs and then click on the link to bring it front and center.

might be useful to you:



and open source too if someone feels like contributing:


Thank you for your extension; I'm a user and it really helps me find the tab in my Firefox "window-forest".

I'm a heavy Tree Style Tab user, though, and tree-state isn't reflected in your addon. Would you consider implementing the support (and maybe easy JSON export of the generated list)?

In any case, thanks for your efforts.

you're welcome... not sure if tree style tabs has an api i can use to get that information. i actually have a dump of tabs to json in an unreleased version i used for backup and restore but it's not live yet.

The tagging system is something I'm really missing from my internet searches, whether I want to organize short term or long term.

Usually the most tabs I have open is because I was window shopping, particularly on Etsy. Etsy doesn't have a quick look option and it's faster to me to middle mouse click links to open them then go through them all once I'm done looking for a particular thing. Except it often ends up being a rabbit hole and I never get around to looking at the tabs.

You can favorite an item from the list view of items, but it adds it to the favorite list without prompting to sort into another list, which is worse than the YT or FB implementations of collection sorting. It's also easier to miss the prompt on the item view page since it only pops up for a few seconds. It ends up being easier to just open all the tabs and never favorite items I might want or not instead of going through favorites.

I tend to open various tabs to read things on Reddit, Wikipedia, research papers, etc in general and not come around to them either.

On top of that sometimes I leave things open because I want to share it later and haven't found a tool that makes it easy to sort collections like this. Pinterest is okay for things that have images, but the usability is not quite there either.

Programming and you have scores of tabs open on various apis. Doing research on a problem and each window is a thread of inquiry. Some long running tabs are more temporary bookmarks for things that don’t merit an actual bookmark. There are other reasons I’m sure. Just because it’s not useful to you doesn’t mean it’s not useful.

When I am researching on a topic, I middle-click all branches from my main thread of research, making a window a topic and all of the tabs my "to read" list. Most of them can get closed as I read them.

The web is a tree of links, but my reading is linear, so I have to queue the nodes discovered in a linear fashion for reading.

Agreed, it just seems like laziness and poor hygiene. The digital equivalent of men letting their nails grow long.

Seems closed-minded and judgemental to ascribe negative traits to people who use things differently than you.

For example, I prefer tabs over bookmarks because I never revisit bookmarks. With tabs, I will eventually get around to them. And I'm in no rush to minimize them. I may want to pick my brain from weeks ago and looking at the tabset I had open then is exactly what I want to do, like that one time I was deep-diving on Crusader King 2 strategies.

It's not like poor hygiene or a dirty house because it's completely digital. What is the actual difference between having a minimized browser with 100 tabs and 100 "to-do" bookmarks and 100 tabs saved to OneTab? Just your arbitrary prejudices.

I personally use the Copy as Markdown extension[1]. gives option to export all tabs/ selected tabs and option to export link/text/URL

[1] https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/copy-as-markdown/f...

Huh, I made something almost exactly like this a few months ago. I couldn't be bothered to get a Chrome developer account and pay the fee so I had to put Chrome in developer mode every time I used it.


This is pretty cool.

On a related note, Chrome makes it easy to "move" your open tabs from one device to another via history / tabs from other devices / open all, which is very helpful if you tend to open a ton of links in new tabs to read later, but need to switch devices.

I've never gotten this feature to work properly (granted I gave up trying over a year ago, and I am a tab hoarder)- if I switch devices looking for a specific tab, it's almost never there. There might be older and/or newer tabs, but rarely the one I actually need.

The only consistent way I've (sort of) gotten tabs from chrome on Android to anything else is plugging into a laptop and using the developer console list of URLs.

Thanks this is really handy for me. In the past, I had to export tabs via the "Cluster - Window Manager" Extension and then finagle the CSV into an HTML file before I stuck in my Google Drive.

Also, do you know if there is a version of this for Firefox?

Tablist is now also available for Firefox: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tablist/

I've been intending to write something like this for a while. It's perfect!

No one's mentioned Workona? How does that extension get like no recognition

On that note though, how the heck is anyone supposed to sort through the infinite amount of "TabWhatever" extensions.

This is awesome. Do you know, if there's something similar for Firefox?

Tablist is now also available for Firefox: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tablist/

I use OneTab for this.

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