How to Use the Google Chrome Tab Search

Matthew Thaxter
PD Account Manager / PD Specialist
News on May 07 2021

cat meme about tabs

We’ve all heard or experienced the sentiment in this meme, right? It’s especially accurate for those who love to multi-task while either teaching or preparing a lesson, and then forget where everything is. Helping you solve this too-many-tabs chaos is a hidden gem of a feature from Google Chrome: Search Tabs. While this is not yet a standard feature, it’s easy to add and try it out. Let’s take a look!

How to enable tab search on Google Chrome

  • In the Chrome URL bar type chrome://flags/#enable-tab-search
  • Hit Enter, and you’ll be taken to the browser’s experimental features menu and a highlighted box that says “Enable Tab Search”
  • Click the drop-down box to the right of “Enable Tab Search” and set it to “Enabled”
  • You will then be prompted to restart Chrome. All tabs and content will be saved and restored once Chrome reboots

This neat little feature allows the user to search all open tabs related to the logged-in account of that browser. What does all this mean? Let’s break it down in the next section.

screenshot 1 of enabling tab search

How to use tab search on Google Chrome

When you’re in your Chrome browser, you should be able to see the Search Tabs icon in the upper right corner of the browser. This little downward facing triangle will allow you to search all the open tabs for specific words or phrases that get lost when you have too many tabs open and can no longer see the titles.

screenshot 2 tab search icon

You can have multiple Chrome browser tabs from different accounts open at one time, but the Search Tabs feature will only search within the account you are currently in logged into. In other words, if you are logged to one browser account for work (schooldomain.org) and one account for personal (gmail.com), if you use the Search Tabs tool within your work account, you will only search the work account, not the personal account tabs.

Wondering what happens when you click on the Search Tabs icon? The menu opens to list all the tabs open, whether or not they are in the same browser window. This is really an exciting way of finding that tab that was holding your research material — or finding that annoying music/sound effect playing from somewhere – either way, the Search Tab feature improves organization and functionality when working in Chrome.

screenshot 3 tab search

Using the experimental feature

One final note about using chrome://flags — when using these experimental features, be sure to read the warning and discuss with your IT personnel to ensure you have permission to use. Here’s the current disclaimer used by Google:

screenshot 4 of tab search

When the time comes and you are allowed to use this hidden gem of a feature, we encourage all of you multitaskers out there to give it a whirl and save yourself from the tab chaos!


For more tips, tricks, and tools for teaching in and out of the classroom, check out more articles on the Teq Talk blog.

We also offer virtual professional development, training, and remote learning support for educators with OTIS for educators. Explore the technology, tools, and strategies that can spark student success — no matter where teaching or learning are happening.

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