How-To

Quickly Reopen Tabs in Chrome and Firefox

reopen-tabs-chrome-firefox

Have you ever accidentally closed a tab in your browser? Here are some ways to reopen closed tabs in Chrome and Firefox, including a keyboard shortcut.

Browser tabs have become the standard in web surfing. As a technical writer, I often find myself with many open tabs while doing research. With so many tabs open, it becomes very easy to accidentally close the wrong one. Fortunately, both Chrome and Firefox have a couple different ways to reopen closed tabs. There’s also a keyboard shortcut that works in both browsers that makes it very easy.

Reopen Closed Tabs in Chrome and Firefox Using a Shortcut

If you prefer using the keyboard rather than the mouse, you can press Ctrl+Shift+T to reopen the last closed tab.

Press the keyboard shortcut again to open the next previously closed tab. In Chrome, you can do this up to 10 times. This limit is the same by default in Firefox, but it can be changed, as we discuss later in this article.

Reopen Closed Tabs in Chrome Using Browsing History

The keyboard shortcut is handy, but it only opens recently closed tabs in the order they were closed, the most recent one first. If you only want to reopen a specific tab you closed further back, you can do so using the browsing history. This only works when you are not in Incognito mode because your browsing history is not tracked in that mode.

Click the Chrome menu (three vertical dots) and hover your mouse over History. A submenu displays listing the recently closed tabs. Select a webpage from the list to reopen that page on a new tab.

When you close Chrome with multiple tabs open, those tabs are saved in your history as a group. The next time you open Chrome, you can go to the History menu and reopen all the tabs from that session on separate tabs in a new window. You’ll see the group of tabs listed as a number of tabs. For example, the 6 tabs option in the Recently closed list opens the six tabs that were open when I closed Chrome the last time in a new Chrome window.

Also, if you’ve cleared all your browsing history, you will not be able to reopen closed tabs.

Reopen closed tab from History

You can also reopen closed tabs from your browsing history on the History page. To access your browsing history, press Ctrl+H, or type chrome://history in the address bar and press Enter.

All the tabs you’ve opened, that weren’t included in any browsing history you cleared, are displayed in a list on a new tab. Click on a webpage to reopen that page on the current tab.

Open webpage from History

Reopen Closed Tabs in Chrome from the Tab Bar

If you prefer using the mouse, rather than the keyboard, you can right-click on any tab, or in the empty space on the tab bar, and select Reopen closed tab. This is the same as using the keyboard shortcut we mentioned earlier.

The tab you closed most recently reopens on a new tab.

Select Reopen closed tab

Reopen Closed Tabs in Firefox Using Browsing History

Just like in Chrome, you can also access recently closed tabs in your browsing history in Firefox.

Click the Firefox menu button (three horizontal buttons) and then select Library.

Select Library

Select History on the Library menu.

Select History

Then, select Recently Closed Tabs on the History menu.

Select Recently Closed Tabs

By default, the last 10 tabs you closed in Firefox are listed on the Recently Closed Tabs menu. Click on a webpage to open that page on a new tab. The next section discusses changing the maximum number of recently closed tabs that displays on this menu.

To reopen all the recently closed tabs, select Restore All Tabs.

Reopen Recently Closed Tab

Change the Maximum Number of Closed Tabs Available in the History in Firefox

The list on the Recently Closed Tabs menu holds a maximum of 10 items by default. Once you reach this maximum, Firefox purges the older items from this list.

If you want more than 10 items available on the Recently Closed Tabs menu at one time, you can easily increase that number.

Type about:config in the address bar in Firefox and press Enter. Click I accept the risk! on the screen saying this might void your warranty.

I accept the risk!

Type browser.sessionstore.max into the Search box at the top of the about:config page. Then, double-click the browser.sessionstore.max_tabs_undo item.

Double-click max_tabs_undo

On the Enter integer value dialog box, enter the number of recently closed tabs you want in the edit box and click OK.

Enter integer value

The item reads modified in the Status column and the new number shows up in the Value column. The entire item is in bold.

You can also change the number of recently closed windows you can access by changing the Value for the browser.sessionstore.max_windows_undo item the same way you changed the browser.sessionstore.max_tabs_undo item.

max_windows_undo

Reopen Closed Tabs in Firefox Using the Tab Bar

Like Chrome, if you prefer using the mouse, you can right-click on any tab, or in the empty space on the tab bar, and select Undo Close Tab. This is the same as using the keyboard shortcut we mentioned earlier.

Select Undo Close Tab

Add a Button to Chrome or Firefox to Quickly Reopen the Last Closed Tab

If you want one-click access to recently closed tabs, you can install an extension in Chrome or an add-on in Firefox to add a button to the toolbar.


4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Ana  

    This also works on IE ;) a least on the latest versions.

  2. @Ana thanks for pointing that out! I just tested it in IE10 and works like a charm!

  3. Papa Lee  

    Or, in FF, right click on an existing tab and select Undo Close Tab.

    • Mike w  

      and in google its “right click on an existing tab and select re-open closed Tab”

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