“Open in Tabs” fixed in Firefox 3, at last

In: Mozilla

13 Sep 2007

The last time I blogged about Firefox’s “Open in Tabs” behavior was 3 years ago in September 2004. Open in Tabs is quite a cool bookmark feature where you can open a folder of bookmarks.

Unfortunately, some of us felt that there it had a flawed implementation. Here’s how you can see it for yourself:

Here, try this in a new Firefox window. Open up 4 tabs. Make sure that there’s nothing in these tabs that you want to remember to come back to later, especially the last 2. Now try using “Open in Tabs” on a bookmark folder with just 2 bookmarks. What just happened? Firefox has closed the last 2 tabs and loaded the first 2 tabs with the first 2 bookmarks. Well, actually this is not so bad for the first 2 tabs, because you can use the “Back” button to go back to your page should you want to, but the tabs that were closed are lost.

It was then rather unfortunate that this bug was closed as WONTFIX. I was thus surprised to see a patch for a similar bug land in the Firefox 3 trunk about a week ago (I haven’t had time to blog about it until now!)

This change in Firefox 3 means that “Open in Tabs” is no longer a destructive proposition – a “use existing tabs and append” strategy is employed.

Here’s how it looks like graphically (which I expect would be easier to understand compared to aforementioned “use existing tabs and append” strategy). Let’s start with 4 tabs, with the Google, Ruby on Rails, Facebook and jQuery websites loaded:

Open in tabs, initial

I have a bookmark folder with 2 bookmarks (to the Firebug and Prototype websites) in them:

Open in tabs, bookmark folder

If I click on “Open in Tabs” in Firefox 3, I end up with this:

Open in tabs, initial

Notice how the Back button is enabled on the Firebug tab (allowing us to go back to the Google webpage), and the Prototype bookmark is loaded in a new tab after the Firebug one.

Small little tweak you may say, but it’s all these small usability tweaks (like the recent Password Manager improvement) that promise to make Firefox 3 a much better browser.

5 Responses to “Open in Tabs” fixed in Firefox 3, at last



December 3rd, 2007 at 2am

You can have this behaviour in firefox 2 as well, just change browser.tabs.loadFolderAndReplace to false in about:config. Wow, that was hard. Definitely worth writing a whole post about a simple option change you could’ve found in 5 seconds with google.


Chu Yeow

December 3rd, 2007 at 9am

Please refer to my earlier post where I pointed out your solution for Firefox 2. And maybe actually read the blog post so you actually understand what the point of this post is…



March 9th, 2008 at 8am

This ‘fix’ as you call it has completely ruined firefox for me. I desparately want/need a way for it to work the old way or Firefox is unusable for me. My method of surfing is to open groups of taps from 10 to 15 at a time. Now I can no longer navigate through my groups. When I have 15 open and I click on the next group I now have 25 open. Then if I navigate to the next group I have 40 open. Who came up with this bright idea!!!

Help, is there an option to set somewhere so that it works like Firefox always has. Otherwise it looks like I’ll be forced back to IE!!! NOoooooo!!!




March 24th, 2008 at 5am

Exactly the same problem as Dale – this is a completely unwanted ‘feature’, I have no idea how people can prefer this behavior over the Firefox 2 way of handling groups of bookmarks!

For the love of god Mozilla, fix the default behavior! The about:config browser.tabs.loadFolderAndReplace isn’t working!



March 31st, 2008 at 1pm

Those who wish the old behaviour was available, perhaps comment in this bug