As an organization fanatic, I’ve become obsessed with Google Chrome’s Tab Groups feature since it was released. Unfortunately, I’ve seen no reliable way to date to save these, close them, and recall them at another time. Google does have a feature in the works that will allow you to save Tab Groups, and they’ve even begun showing up on the browser’s bookmark bar in Chrome Canary once the appropriate “Tab Groups Save” developer flag is enabled, so completely ridding yourself of them without losing your progress is on its way, but it’s just not widely accessible yet.
Today, I’m going to tell you how to do exactly that, but without Google’s officially incoming “Tab Group Save” system since it’s not yet been rolled out, as stated. We’re going to jerry-rig Tab Groups and unofficially store them for recall using the built-in Chrome Bookmarks system! It does require a bit of extra work, but I find that it’s worth it, personally, and depending on your need for Tab Groups and your tolerance for a bit of elbow grease, you may too.
Note: Any Tab Group you close does appear in the Tab Search drop-down as a part of your Chrome History, but I’ve found that these quickly disappear forever if you’re doing a lot of browsing (History doesn’t keep these grouped!), so I don’t believe this is a reliable way to recall Tab Groups unless Google adds them to Chrome Journeys in the near future!
Because Chrome’s Tab Groups and Chrome Bookmarks have pretty much become one and the same, we’re going to be going this route. Unbeknownst to most people, there’s a contextual menu item on any and all Bookmark folders that allows you to restore everything in that folder as a Tab Group. The first thing you’re going to want to do is to call up a few websites you want to save for later on Chrome for desktop and right-click one tab to choose the “Add tab to new group” option. Once you do, just drag in a few additional tabs for testing purposes.
Then, with no additional tabs open that are outside of the group, click the vertical three dots “more” menu at the top-right of the Chrome browser and hover over “Bookmarks”. From there, you’ll see a “Bookmark all tabs” option.
Pro Tip: You can also quickly bookmark all tabs at the same time by tapping the “Ctrl + Shift + D” shortcut on your keyboard.
Once the dialog box appears and asks you where you’d like to save all of these tabs collectively, just choose the Bookmark bar for now. Here’s the important part – whatever you do, don’t click the “New folder” button on the bottom-left even though it may be tempting to do so. All of these grouped tabs will automatically be placed into a Bookmark folders by the name of the Tab Group they came from, so all you’ll need to do is to fill out the parent folder name found in the “Name” text box of the pop-up dialog.
Pro Tip: You can also use the “Bookmark all tabs” option to save many tab groups and even loose tabs simultaneously!
Great! Now, just finish up by clicking the blue “Save” button on the pop-up dialog, and then you’ll see that it has been added to the Bookmarks bar, or wherever you’ve saved it to. You are now free to right-click a Tab Group and select “Close group” to free up your workspace without fear of losing anything. Here’s where the magic happens. To recall your tabs as the same group, you can right-click the Bookmark folder on your bar or in the Bookmark Manager (Ctrl+Shift+O) and choose the “Open all in new tab group”. Immediately upon doing so, you’ll see your Tab Group reappear with the same name, color, and tabs that you last left off with, no matter how long it’s been!
Truly, this is the only feature missing, and it’s great that Google is working on it, but I’m impatient, so this method has worked wonders for me, especially as someone who recently got rid of Toby Tab Manager in favor of these awesome and powerful Tab Groups. Let me know if you’ll be using this approach or if you’re waiting it out for the official “Tab Group Save” feature rolls out to everyone and functions properly.