Every year, web apps and sites become more powerful and more useful, but working in the browser is still far from perfect.
We've all been there: You're doing some research on the Web with 10 or more tabs open. On top of that you've got your webmail tab, your Google Drive tab, your Twitter tab, and your Facebook tab. Before long, keeping your open tabs organized is a complete disaster.
Pinned tabs to the rescue!
If you use Chrome, Firefox, or Opera, you can keep your more essential tabs organized to the far left of your browser. That leaves the rest of your window for tabs dedicated to research, news, and games.
It's not a perfect organizational tool, but pinned tabs are the best and simplest option available on many modern browsers for PC.
Here's how it works on all the browsers mentioned above.
Open a tab in your browser and navigate to whatever website you want to keep open. In my case, I like to use pinned tabs for Outlook.com, OneDrive, Facebook, and Twitter.
Once you've got your tabs open to the web apps you need, right-click on the tab and select "Pin tab." That's it! Your tab will now shrink in size and be shunted to the left end of your browser window.
There are a few things you need to keep in mind about pinned tabs. They don't have an "X" option so you can't accidentally close them. Nevertheless, they still operate like normal tabs.
If you type CNN.com into the address bar of your Twitter pinned tab, for example, you'll end up on CNN, defeating the purpose of pinning that tab in the first place—so watch where you're typing.
Pinned tabs are also small, with room only for the favicon. New mail counts or alert counts on Facebook or Twitter won't show up.
Restarting your browser
The browsers offering pinned tabs also behave differently on a restart. Once you've pinned your tabs, the latest versions of Chrome and Firefox will always open with your pinned tabs just as you left them.
The current version of Opera, however, doesn't have this feature built-in.
To make sure your pinned tabs always open in Opera, click on the Opera button in the upper left corner and select Settings > Browser. Under the On startup section click the radio button next to "Continue where I left off."
Now your Opera pinned tabs are permanent. Any other tabs you have open will also reappear when you reopen the browser.
It's not a perfect solution, but pinned tabs will help you stay just a little more organized when working in the browser.