When you use Ctrl-Tab in Firefox, you move through tabs in the order that they are listed in the tab bar at the top of the window. I would prefer that when I use Ctrl-Tab the next tab that I switch to is the most recently used tab. That way if I have two tabs I am using frequently I can easily switch between them without having to manually modify the ordering of the tabs via drag/drop. This is a feature that Opera has which I find to be very productive. Does anyone know of a setting or plug-in that will accomplish this for me?

8 Answers 8

  1. Type about:config in address bar, then press Enter.
  2. Type ctrl in the "filter" box.
  3. Double-click browser.ctrlTab.previews item so the value becomes true.

In Firefox 65, the setting is set to true by default, and its name has changed to browser.ctrlTab.recentlyUsedOrder.

enter image description here

  • 2
    I like this solution, it works pretty well. The tab preview window doesn't slow down your system much since it doesn't appear if you switch fast enough.
    – Jonn
    Jul 12, 2011 at 6:03
  • @John: The Tabs Mix Plus add-on allows you to set this option with a check box and it also provides the option to turn off the tab preview.
    – raven
    Jun 15, 2013 at 17:29
  • It would be easier to just enable the option in the Settings menu instead of about:config - but each to their own!
    – KERR
    Oct 1, 2019 at 12:38
  • And if you still need to go the adjasent tab, you can use CTRL+PgUp\PgDown.
    – Lubo Kanev
    Oct 31, 2019 at 16:05
  • Note that as of Firefox v50 this option is now exposed in the standard Settings GUI.
    – KERR
    May 15, 2021 at 12:42

I would recommend Tab Mix Plus. It allows you to completely customize the way the tab menus function. Quite a bit of configurable behavior.

  • 2
    It looks to me like Tab Mix Plus just uses browser.ctrlTab.previews for this behavior. It does have a lot of cool options, though. Mar 22, 2013 at 18:41
  • Link is unavailable. Oct 11, 2022 at 10:43

Firefox v50 now has this as an option in Settings, no add-ons or about:config hacking required:

enter image description here

  • I usually have tens of tabs opened, so old Alt+Tab behavior was completely useless for me. Great that they added this option!
    – Andrei
    Jun 29, 2017 at 8:51
  • Ctrl + Tab doesn't work on my FF 52 (it just go to next tab), but I found this plugin works well: cycle-last-used-tabs (toggling with Alt + z / Alt + shift + z)
    – Noam Manos
    Apr 3, 2018 at 12:32

If you enable the tab preview functionality in Firefox then this changes the ctrl+tab behavior so that it moves through the tabs in the order that they were most recently used.

To enable the tab preview functionality in Firefox 11 do the following:

  1. Open a new browser tab in Firefox
  2. Enter "about:config" (without the quotes) in to the address bar and press 'Enter'
  3. Click on the 'I’ll be careful, I promise!' button.
  4. In the 'Search' textbox that appears enter the following: browser.ctrlTab.previews
  5. (This should bring up the currently set preference value)
  6. If the current value is 'false' then double click anywhere on the preference - this should change the Status to 'user set' and the Value to 'true'
  7. Close the tab (there is no need to save anywhere)
  8. The browser should now display the required behavior

If you ctrl+tab quickly enough then you will not see the preview overlay.

Please note that this is just more granular description of the instructions given above for those less savvy.

I hope this helps.

Thanks, Jonathan


Two extensions you could check Ctrl-Tab and Tab-Mix-Plus

Ctrl-Tab -- the highlighted part is what you want.

Ctrl+Tab navigation for Firefox tabs:

  • Tabs are presented in most-recently-used order,
    similar to Alt+Tab on various operating systems
  • Releasing Tab and pressing it again moves to the next preview
  • Pressing W closes the selected tab
  • Releasing Ctrl switches to the selected tab
  • Hidden preferences: browser.ctrlTab.mostRecentlyUsed

Ctrl+Shift+A / Cmd+Shift+A shows all tabs in a grid:

  • Shows all open tabs
  • Tabs can be closed by middle clicking
  • Search field filters tabs based on their titles and addresses, Enter selects the first tab

Tab-Mix-Plus -- also supports the MRU scheme you want; with lots of other features

Includes such features as duplicating tabs, controlling tab focus, tab clicking options, undo closed tabs and windows, plus much more. It also includes a full-featured session manager with crash recovery that can save and restore combinations of opened tabs and windows.


In Firefox 7 (maybe earlier versions too?), go to about:config and set the option browser.ctrlTab.previews to true.

If you release the Ctrl key quickly after Ctrl+Tab, you will get the MRU tab switching behavior you described (without previews).


The ability to toggle between any two tabs can be achieved with the Tab Mix Plus option labeled "Ctrl-Tab navigates tabs in the most recently used order", on the "Tab Features" tab of the "Events" page of the options dialog.

enter image description here

I know this doesn't sound like it will toggle between two tabs, and it won't, if you press it quickly enough. If you press it quickly enough, or simply hold it down, it will do what it says, "navigate the tabs in the most recently used order". However, if you wait long enough between presses (only a half a second or so), it simply toggles back and forth between any two tabs (the Firefox equivalent of Window's Alt-Tab, only with browser tabs instead of applications).

Checking this box will set the option as described here, but Tabs Mix Plus also gives you the option to turn off the tab preview.


You could just use ctrl+shift+tab and ctrl+tab to go back and forth. That's how most things work and it makes more sense.

  • 1
    These hotkeys simply move to the tab to the left or right. They do not allow you to toggle between any two tabs.
    – raven
    Jun 15, 2013 at 17:03

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