Tab behaviour enhancements

Occasional Visitor

A couple of tab behaviour enhancement suggestions:

  • Add option to use most recent order when switching tabs with ctrl+tab
  • Add option to always switch to new tabs when they are created

These are missing from Chrome and would be great to have in Edge.

37 Replies

@antlane MRU for Ctrl+Tab is a must for me. Not sure why Chrome has always refused to offer the standard Windows behavior even as an option. Opera allows it.



Absolutely. This is REQUIRED for my workflow, and it's ingrained in my muscle-memory. 


I need Edge to behave consistently with Alt-Tab when switching tabs with Ctrl-Tab. I need Edge to behave consistently with IE (which had this option), FireFox (which has this option), and Visual Studio, SQL Server Management Studio, Notepad++ (all of which default to this behavior).


MRU tab-switching option for Ctrl-Tab is a MUST-HAVE feature for me, and the lack of it was the single biggest reason I wasn't a huge EDGE user previously.

Yes, please, bring MRU tabs to Edge!



Chrome refused it because some devs decided they didn't want it, then in typical fashion stuck to their decision with superhuman levels of stuborness. The basic argument was that it would be too confusing for new users. First off, that doesn't even address the question of it being an option (which is what people were asking for) and secondly it ignores the fact that every OS works with MRU so that's definately the expected behaviour for anyone who uses keyboard shortcuts as an integral part of their workflow. 



I would instantly move from Chrome to Edge if this were implemented. Currently I float between Chrome and FF, with the the option to use MRU tab switching being the only reason I use FF. If edge brough this, I would switch instantly across all platforms. 



I'm currently using Opera, which managed to add the MRU option although it uses the Chromium engine I believe.

Thank you everyone!  This is a great discussion.  I will let the team that does tab management know of your beliefs.

As a reference, here's a link to the feature request on Chromium's bug tracker:

It's over 10 years old, has more than 500 comments, almost 1000 stars and a ton of duplicate issues... More than that, lately, even @google.com & @chromium.org users got fed up and joined the discussion requesting MRU tabs...

Please make this happen! :(



You can make this happen now. Install Tab Position Options.

Hi @IonutBotizan, thanks for the link, it was an entertaining, if slightly sad read.  I will make sure that the tab management team sees this feedback.



Chrome refused it because some devs decided they didn't want it, then in typical fashion stuck to their decision with superhuman levels of stuborness. 

I suspect it was leadership preference rather than developers. Anyway, it yet another time shows the value of extensions, giving users freedom of choice.

I don't know what dreams you're talking about; we're just asking for an optional feature (MRU Tabs). If you don't know what that is or you simply don't need it, please refrain yourself from commenting on this thread. You're not helping anyone and you're just adding unnecessary noise to this request...

FYI, I've been following that Chromium feature request for the last 10 years and I've been developing Chrome extensions since before the Chrome Webstore even existed and I'm not exaggerating when I'm saying that it's impossible to implement this functionality as an extension, using the existing APIs.
Also, the decision of not implementing this feature in Chromium was taken by a guy named Glenn (I don't remember his full name) that, at the time, was part of Chromium's UX team... What I remember though is a comment from him in which he stated that he simply doesn't like that feature, thus he won't agree for it to be added as a built-in feature, not even under an experimental flag...


If you don't know what that is or you simply don't need it, please refrain yourself from commenting on this thread.

Help me entertain the value of MRU feature pls. Would you? 


For me rational tab control encompasses proper close and open order augmented with fast switching btw last 2 tabs. If one wants fast switching btw multiple tabs in a certain order, is it really faster and simpler when you go beyond the 1st switch cycle than selecting the right tab from the list? Try Ctrl+Tab MRU by using Ctrl+Y .


Now, you are claiming that only Yes votes are allowed in this thread. Not the case. Its a privilege you don't have - and that's the exact behavior you object in Chrome devs. :smiling_face_with_smiling_eyes:



The value of this is immeasurable. I simply can't work with "round robin" style tab switching with Ctrl-Tab... it makes Ctrl-Tab almost completely USELESS. 


MRU is the only logical, efficient, and sane method of tab management, period. If I close a tab, I should see the last tab I was looking at, not the jarring re-appearance of a tab I haven't looked at for a while just because it was "adjacent'. And If I am Looking at one tab, switch to another, Ctrl-Tab should take me immediately back  to the tab I was just looking at. And Ctrl-Tab should then allow me to easily switch back and forth between those two tabs, even if they're not adjacent. And if I want to see the tab I was looking at before that, Ctrl-Tab-Tab, and boom, I'm there.


It's consistent with the way EVERY OTHER interface works... from Alt-Tab, to Ctrl-Tab in Firefox, IE, Notepad++, SQL Server Management Studio, Visual Studio, etc, etc.


Not having it in EDGE is just … ridiculous. Frustrating. Infuriating. It slows me down and makes navigating more than two tabs PAINFUL. There's zero excuse for not providing this as an option. I cannot fathom how anyone can do any real work in a tabbed UI without MRU tab-switching.





So the main thing here is that your solution is dependent on constantly re-arranging tabs so that current tab switching method (position based) works.


In a situation where one of the two tabs you're working with is newly opened then this works. But for people who constantly have multiple tabs open, its not as efficient. My work flow for example, involves having several always open tabs logged into various web front ends. So to get this working with your method, I need to first re-arrange all my tabs. Even then I need to switch between CTRL+Tab and CTRL+Shift+tab all the time (and also be conscious of which one I need to use).


Just imagine if the OS worked like this - forcing you to re-arrange your task bar every time you wanted to enable a proper alt+tab workflow. I don't think anyone would consider that viable.



I do work with multiple tabs and can see your logic, but is it deep enough? Did you try both extensions jointly: Tab Position Options and Ctrl+Tab MRU  ? Explore all their options? Now you see, the logic choice gets more diverse? The MRU definition more complex?


Now think of the basic feature you ask for: switch multiple tabs in the order they were looked at or created before. Sounds intelligent - at the 1st run. What do you expect to happen at the 2nd run? Where do you want to go AFTER you looked at a certain tab again? Are you sure, you always want to go to its parent instead of simply back or closing it? Starting from step 2, I doubt a rigid order will work whatever it is. ;) 

Can you define what you mean by first and second run. I’m not sure what that refers to.



Lets say you have 10 tabs open. You read a page Y, open a link from it as next tab Z. Now jump back to the original tab Y - this is your 1st run. Read it again - now what? Where do you want to go for your 2nd run? Always to its parent tab X? I more often go back to tab Z, or close Z and Y. Logic varies, becomes more diverse, hard to fit in rigid order. Better choice seems to be a Tab List you pick your next tab from, beyond the last 2.


What I'd expect from Edge team - make it possible to develop a more flexible MRU extension. How big is the demand - just look at similar addons install stats.

The problem here is scope. We have a nail, and we're asking for a hammer to deal with it. You're essentially coming in and saying, "but the hammer can't cut my 2x4 so what's the point of a hammer".

The point of MRU tab switching is that you have a workflow where you're constantly switching back and forth between a few tabs. Like you're entering a bunch of data in a form and you're frequently switching between one tab which contains the source data and another tab which contains the form fields you're filling out.

The question of what to do once you're finished with this workflow (where you're switching back and forth between two tabs) is completely separate. MRU tab switching order on CTRL+Tab is not meant to address that situation at all so it's not really relevant in this thread.

Additionally, the questions you're asking are already handled by other shortcuts. CTRL+<a number from 1-9> already exists to switch to a certain tab. CTRL+PGUp & CTRL+PGDown already exists to cycle through the tabs in display order. So if your question is "How would you handle the situation where the user no longer wants to switch between tabs in MRU" the simple answer is that they would use one of the other shortcuts to switch tabs in whatever manner they prefer.



Your questions and scenarios are all irrelevant. EVERY other tabbed UI (except Chrome) already does this, and they all do it consistently. It makes perfect sense. If you wonder how it works, just use IE, Firefox, Visual Studio, SQL Server Management Studio, Notepad++, or any other tabbed application and you can see for your self. If you hold Ctrl down while repeatedly pressing TAB, you cycle through tabs in MRU order. If you lift up the Ctrl key, and then press it down again with TAB, then you have reset the MRU order and start again. It's totally intuitive and obvious, and makes it really easy to navigate. ALT-TAB works the same way for switching apps. THIS IS KNOWN AND SOLVED FUNCTIONALITY. 


There is ZERO legitimate argument for not providing an option for MRU tab switching order with Ctrl-Tab. Period. Your arguments are pointless, and baseless, and really, the only thing left to be said is WHEN this REQUIRED functionality will be added. The fact that it's missing is, imho, either to be considered a bug, or a usability FAIL.




Like you're entering a bunch of data in a form and you're frequently switching between one tab which contains the source data and another tab which contains the form fields you're filling out.

The question of what to do once you're finished with this workflow (where you're switching back and forth between two tabs) is completely separate. 

I think you guys are absolutely right, was just teasing a bit to have better justification for the team. I enjoyed this feature with Opera. ;) I assume Edge team waits for coming Chromium Tab Groups to show up before they start thinking about tab settings.


I believe what's really needed is a Tab Control section in Settings now missing. Accounting for Tab Groups coming to Chrome, and the need to control not only tab switching, but also tab tree, grouping, closure and opening order, this is a must have section namely in Settings, and not in Flags, since Tabs handling is major and the most prominent browser feature, regularly used by everyone.

I'm not disagreeing with you, maybe that is needed. All I'm saying is that is out of scope in this discussion. This is simply - what happens when you press CTRL+TAB. Should it cycle through tabs the exact same way CTRL+PgDn already does, or should it switch in MRU order the way basically every application and the OS itself does?



Not out of scope, better look at the thread title. As to Ctrl+Tab, it should cycle by default as it is now. Anything beyond that should be user choice in Settings.



Why do you think its preferable for CTRL+Tab to cycle in a manner that


A) you can already do with CTRL+PgDN

B) is different than every other application, including the OS itself


I think that's the issue most of us have. We don't see the logic in this. We don't see the logic in having the browser work differently than the rest of the OS. And when I say rest of the OS, I'm not just referring to Windows; MacOS and every popular Linux shell also use MRU. Hell, even iOS and Android use MRU in their app switching, both their card interfaces reorder themselves in MRU order every time you switch an app and using the quick change gestures honors this after a second




As said I agree with you about MRU, and see your needs as extensions developer. But I'm a huge proponent of basic simplicity as the means to attract more users of various backgrounds, which translates into better funding for the browser team, and as a result allows to implement more user requests in a thoughtful manner. 


If someone needs this option, they should be smart enough to pick it in Settings. I can refer you to the opposite spectrum: some demanded to put pages they like as Start menu or Taskbar shortcuts, thus mixing up browser with OS.  This is the bottom line user you have to account for. :crying_face:

But the question is, why is this the default? The OS already works a certain way. The other apps on the platform work that same way. Even the user's phone works this way. How is it simpler for the user to have their browser work a completely different way for no reason at all?



Just wanted to add, since nobody has directly addressed it yet, there is a reason people don't want stuff like this to be handled by plugins (unless it was an MS developed plugin). For a plugin to control tab switching, that plugin would defacto have access to your entire browsing history.


This is probably not comforting to many users seeing as how grow market share -> sell to web marketing agency is emerging as the dominant business strategy for plugin makers looking to cash in on their plugins.


Here's an example of why people don't want core browser functionality, and more importantly core browser functionality will full access, to be a plugin;


I came here looking to see if anyone had requested this feature yet... And I stumbled into the most asinine argument about it. Like it's been mentioned, people are asking for it because high-productivity environments already have this feature. Stop arguing about the what-ifs, just look at the functionality of systems that already have it , whether it be other browsers or other Microsoft software.

Jeez people, it's not rocket science, it's not even risky. It's just matching what the other browsers already have.


Even more frustrating than the absence of this essential functionality is reading people having such inane arguments against it. Seriously people, not having this in the browser is just dumb.



  • Add option to always switch to new tabs when they are created


As log as this is an option and not default behavior as I prefer to be on the same page even though I open links in new tab. Depending on my work, I keep opening few new tabs here and there and then get back to them later. So I think being on the same page when opening links in new tab would be first preference to me.

@antlane MRU tab switching is what prevents me from switching to Edge at work. It's so important in the way that I work that I can't do without it.


I hope Microsoft devs integrate it, especially that it would give more consistency with Windows.

@antlane I would really like to see tab switching in most recent order as an option. This works just like alt+tab for open programs and makes a ton of sense. It is also necessary for switching quickly between two tabs, a common use scenario. I've always been confused as to why Chrome does not have this feature. Heck, even IE has it!

Annotation 2019-08-27 165856.jpg

@Deleted For the desperate, there is a pretty good extension called "Popup Tab Switcher" in the Chrome Web Store. I use it and change the keyboard shortcut to alt+Q instead of alt+Y.

@JordanQ Thanks for the hints. I was able to get  MRU tabs 100% working with the CTRL-TAB and CTRL-SHIFT-TAB keys by doing the following:


* Enable "Allow extension from other stores" in Edge

* Installing "Ctrl+Tab MRU" from the Chrome app store (it's very similar to what you suggested) at https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ctrl%2Btab-mru/ialfjajikhdldpgcfglgndennidgkhik

* Follow the directions in the above extension URL in the section titled "IMPORTANT TO KNOW" on how to change the hotkeys to be CTRL-TAB and CTRL-SHIFT-TAB.


So now I have the tab switching to be 100% working with MRU behavior.



So you got this working? I was never able to get it working on chrome, and have had the same bad luck on Edge.


Basically, I change the shortcut in the preference file - then I re-open the browser but nothing has changed. Then I go back to the preference file and see that it has reverted to CTRL+Y and CTRL+SHIFT+Y. Seems like when the browser opens, it overwrites whatever changes I made to the preference file. 



regarding your question on why Chrome doesn't have it, if you read through some of the bug reports on it, it's basically the stubbornness of one dev (or product manager). They decided that its not intuitive, completely ignore anyone asking how having behavior that's the opposite of every OS and every other app is intuitive, and basically just bury their head in the sand. From there, the issue obviously snowballs because the longer you stick to your guns (against all logic) the worse it is when you finally change.


You can reference the main bug thread here;



It's over a decade old and marked as wontfix. 

@geoken2 I think maybe the problem is casing, I know mine reverted if I did not spell the elements perfectly as expected.


Here is how I spelled the relevant entries in my Preferences file:



Hope it helps. The fact that your file is reverting means you are editing the right one, at least. Figuring out which is the right file to edit is half the puzzle. 

@antlane I just wanted to add one tidbit to help people think about this. Imagine how frustrating it would be if alt+tab switched between your open programs, not in recently used order, but in the order in which they appear on the taskbar. Well, it's the same thing for tabs in the browser.

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