49

-- 2020 update -- This is a subquestion of a bigger problem I had throughout the years: how to efficiently manage many Chrome windows & tabs?. I'll post another separate question soon to try and adress this, and will link to it here.

--

Typically I use about 10 different browser windows (always on). I'd like to have a way to set "sticky" window names so that I can locate one I'm looking for quickly when switching (using keyboard shortcut or from the drop down window menu).

For example:

  • Dev documentation
  • Social sites
  • Google drive
  • Other stuff
  • Etc...

Because now, Chrome displays the current window title (of the given web page) which is obviously ever changing, depending on that window's currently active tab. I just found a "hack", a bookmarklet with which I can assign a custom name to the current tab. But then it breaks if I change the active tab in that window and forget to set it back. So I'd like a better solution (an extension I guess, but haven't found so far). Or perhaps some kind of visual hint (to customize that window's border color, etc), so in essence a way to customize the current window, although then that's perhaps less obvious than changing the title directly.

Here's some additional info, I switched back to windows and still trying to tailor that perfect browser experience ;-)

  • SSB = Single-Site Browser.
9
  • Note that I'm a big fan of SSBs. For a while I used Fluid (on Mac) for many of frequents web apps, like Gmail, etc... But ever since I started using Chrome as my base web development browser, I'm starting to move more and more to Chrome. So another workaround would be for me to find a decent way to make Chrome based SSBs. But so far I haven't found any. I'm not a big fan of Safari so a safari based SSB maker like Fluid is a bit of a turn off, even though I love the idea.
    – deryb
    Apr 30, 2015 at 19:35
  • Not a lot of help I know, but you can do this with Firefox ;) Apr 30, 2015 at 22:54
  • @JulianKnight Thanks, yea Firefox was my main browser before. But then it struck me how much better Chrome seemed to manage ressources. Often FF had 50+% CPU use, whereas with Chrome I can keep it under 10%, even with 10+ windows x 5-10 tabs each. Often, I just kill tabs which become too demanding, via its task manager. This closes the display of that page (and stops CPU use) but leaves the tab open, so I just need to refresh that tab to re-load it once I want to use it again. And the built-in dev tools are great (on FF I used Firebug, was ok). But overall, none's perfect ;-)
    – deryb
    May 1, 2015 at 13:41
  • I think FF now manages memory better than the others but certainly not CPU. My own workflow involves simply killing FF from time-to-time with task manager. I use a session manager plugin to ensure all my windows/tabs come back. But then I typically have 10+windows each with 10+tabs!!! I keep trying Chrome & use it regularly on mobile devices but it doesn't feel as good as FF on the desktop. For dev I now use FF Dev separately so I don't need all the dev plugins in my main browser May 1, 2015 at 13:53
  • Hehe, used pretty much the same here (FF + session manager + kill the whole program). Only annoyance is that everything restarts afterward (all 10wins x 5-10 tabs, lol). I meant Chrome's built in task manager, which allows to stop one singular tab's process, or sometimes plugins like Flash, etc... From time to time I pull it up and kill tabs who eat too much! I have a similar tools as Session Manager on Chrome, not as good tho. And I just HATE the bookmarks manager ;-)
    – deryb
    May 1, 2015 at 16:48

12 Answers 12

10

Chrome(chromium) finally let you give each window a separated and fixed name.

I'm on canary channel

1 Open chrome://flags/

2 search and enable "Window Naming"

3 Restart chrome

4 Right click blank area of tab area(not on tab) and select "Name Window..."

I prefer this than tab group feature

4
  • 1
    Cool! I hope it make its way into the official build... A feature like this one, plus the ability to apply some kind of visual tag on a window (either theme, a color or an icon) would be great! Tab groups is something like that, I hope they make a similar feature for whole windows (and optionally save this state so it's persistent). Lol ok enough dreaming... :-)
    – deryb
    Oct 23, 2020 at 1:27
  • AWESOME! Just saw it made it's way on the main build recently. Thanks for the heads up, it's really useful... Especially for fast window switching, it shows in the Task View (taskbar tool / Alt-Tab menu) and also in my window search tool (PowerToys Run). :-)
    – deryb
    Jul 20, 2021 at 16:16
  • Window naming is really useful, but alas Windows 11 sometimes forgets the names on reboot. (Also intermittently forgets screen position and size. But at least it remembers tabs and histories.) Not sure if I had this problem in Windows 7.
    – Bob Stein
    Aug 8, 2021 at 14:46
  • @BobStein I encountered these name lost issues on windows 10, I don't know whether it is fixed or not, As I use Edge's workspaces feature(techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/discussions/…) recently
    – prime23
    Aug 9, 2021 at 0:55
12

-- 2020 update --

This answer was mostly Mac related, I don't think it's much worth the trouble today (SSB or multiple independant browser instances / clones). There are simpler workarounds. Some ideas:

  • Having multiple Chrome profiles, with a Google account for each if you want to use the sync feature to sync tabs, extensions, bookmarks, history, settings, etc
  • Using extensions such as
  • Tab Manager Plus Perhaps the best interface so far and allows to name windows. Opens in its own floating popup, can be 100% controlled keyboard only, clearly organized & accessible UI.
  • Spaces. Mentioned by @gdadsriver. Quite simple but does the job mostly, allows to name windows (spaces) and switch tabs quickly.
  • Tabli search and switch to desired tabs.
  • Cluser is another one. Feature rich but UI is not ideal I find (opens in another tab).
  • SSBs perhaps have their place for developers, power users or special cases but mostly overkill for most.

Each have their pros, cons and perhaps deserve a better review than just this 'name dropping'. I'll try to do that when I get a chance, perhaps as a new question since this regroups a bunch of concerns together to improve the many windows & tabs management.

-- Addendum --

The solution I used to make chrome-based SSBs is called epichrome. On windows there must be equivalents for sure... I have about 5 different SSBs running all the time, along with chrome. Works great! On extension I added in the mix to most of my SSBs is Great Suspender, which automatically suspends tabs when inactive (customizable). So inactive SSBs' resources get freed even when I probably have 30-40 tabs open at all times permanently.

-- Later this year --

Ok I've found a way to make SSBs (single site browsers) with Chrome so I essentially now have a few apps for those "sticky" sites I use often (mail, maps, drive, etc). This allows them to behave like normal apps so I can give them a custom name, icon and can switch easily back and forth between opened windows. Not only that, it's possible to create some custom URL rules, for example always open all links starting with maps.google.com in Maps SSB, etc... Hence it's still a big hack overall, but it feels like the best solution. Still it becomes a bit more work then as each SSB essentially becomes another browser instance, with it's own favorites, extensions, etc. So it consumes a bit more resources I guess than when opened on one single browser, but that is a small drawback in the big picture...

-- Earlier this year --

Ok I've used Chrome for a few months now. I tried various workarounds for this. It seems you can't assign a sticky window name easily as I wanted, which would also change the window's name under the "window" menu list (right, next to help). So, two decent workarounds I found, either:

1) Create a bookmarklet with following code:

javascript:(function(){document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0].getElementsByTagName("title")[0].innerHTML=prompt("Enter new Title");})()

With this you can assign any name you want. Only drawbacks: this just temporarily replace the <title> html tag. So this will get replaced as soon as you reload the page or navigate elsewhere... What I did for a while was just create a placeholder simple html page with my own desired title.

2) Via an extension called Tabs Outliner. Great extension which allows to easily manage tabs and windows, assign sticky names to windows / tabs, even notes and separators, re-order things, etc. Although this info is only visible via the extension's manager window. But also, this extension is a great tool to manage endless sets of windows & tabs, kill them and later reload them. To keep resource usage low and have some kind of in-between workspace for things which you'll read later. Hence this almost sounds like a commercial, but anyway, try it for yourself. In the end, this is the best workaround for managing windows in Chrome I've found so far, and for this question...

4
  • Can you share your solution for the Chrome SSB setup? May 19, 2016 at 12:26
  • I added some info to my answer.
    – deryb
    May 24, 2016 at 16:28
  • 1
    For the record on Windows you can go to "More tools" -> "Add to desktop" to generate SSBs automatically.
    – Mahn
    Sep 20, 2016 at 17:13
  • 1
    @bookmarklet: Instead of manipulating the tag, it is easier to just set document.title.
    – kdb
    Sep 22, 2019 at 9:59
5

Spaces, is chrome extension that lets one turn browser windows into manageable workspaces.

7
  • 1
    I just took a quick look and tried it. Close but all it does is assign a window name "behind the scenes", so then I need to access that master list first to know which is which then. My guess is there's no native way to do this, perhaps chrome does not expose any window naming / customizing features on a per window basis (rather than the whole bunch). Thanks anyway.
    – deryb
    Jul 5, 2016 at 17:57
  • 2
    @deryb Have you tried again (year of 2020). I just installed this extension and assigned a shortcut to the "switch spaces" feature and if all what you wanted was a quick way to distinguish the nature of your windows to quickly switch between them then this is what I use and I'm fast navigating now. Worth checking out
    – vdegenne
    Feb 1, 2020 at 8:09
  • 1
    @vdegenne True, I just tried it and it seems to fit what I was looking for mostly. Most importantly, being able to switch quickly with just the keyboard (shortcut + quick search string) and being able to group windows (spaces) together, simply by giving them a common group string (ex. dev, social, shopping, fun, etc...). I still wish there was a more "built-in" way to do this (via API maybe / by allowing one to customize a window's look), but this is probably as close as it gets.
    – deryb
    Feb 2, 2020 at 20:15
  • 1
    Doesn't change Window title (on Windows Taskbar), nor the quick switch shortcut works outside Chrome, so effectively this only helps if you only do work inside Chrome.
    – TWiStErRob
    Apr 26, 2020 at 10:49
  • Thanks, you're right there's a keyboard shortcut option (which can be global (@TWiStErRob) for all Windows, not just when using chrome), which is sweet! You can name a window and then quickly switch to it with the keyboard shortcut which pulls up a list of named and unnamed windows. Either scroll down and select with arrow keys, or start type and search. Apr 30, 2020 at 4:00
4

Renaming tabs or giving windows names in some dedicated windows is completely different thing and doesn't match requested purpose. The whole idea is to have Chrome windows list always at hand.

While also failing to find a solution I've made up a little script for AutoHotKey real quick. It may be enhanced somehow mb, but now it does exactly what I wanted: renames Chrome windows.

Unfortunately, it doesn't save windows' names between sessions, but that's a small price. After I've satisfied the initial rush towards the feature, now I'm considering to make Chrome extension for it. Although I haven't ever used JS, it's not the main obstacle. It would be worse, if Chrome API does not give access to window's title, and i suspect it is so. As a workaround, I could change current tab's title to one, window must show in TaskBar, but this is gross (and no "save titles between sessions" feature still).

It's strange, that I came up with this idea just yesterday and not some years ago. It's hard to overrate, how big this small enhancement to the workflow is.

8
  • Not sure what you mean. The active tab's title in any opened window is the title chrome shows in its windows list (change to another tab and see it updated as a proof).
    – deryb
    Dec 29, 2015 at 1:00
  • @brunod yes, it is so. but this script updates given window title once window loses focus. you know what window you are working in, but as soon as you switch to other window, title updates. Dec 29, 2015 at 1:15
  • @brunod and if you are talking about "freaky extension workaround" i mentioned, the principle behind it: user switches to tab - tab's title becomes user-defined name - as window shows active tab's title as its own title, now we will see user-defined name as a title for a window in Taskbar - as soon as tab loses focus inside Chrome window, its title changes back to what it was befor and newly activated tab takes user-defined name as title. Dec 29, 2015 at 1:27
  • Ah ok. So definitely I prefer the SSB way then. It's not perfect of course, mainly because then it becomes a bit of work to sync things like favorites and extensions. But at least it's a decent way to make things sticky, so it's still my preferred workaround.
    – deryb
    Dec 29, 2015 at 2:02
  • @brunod is it worth trouble? o_O Dec 29, 2015 at 2:16
3

The best I've come up with is to use a data: URI in a new tab, specifically

data:text/html,<title>${your_title}</title><h1>${your_title}

It doesn't meet your requirement of changing the name in the taskbar though - the suggestion in another about the Taskbar Renamer utility seems like a complimentary approach.

You can setup a custom chrome search engine with a short keyword (like the letter t) to make this more convenient. This is better than a bookmarklet because it will survive restarts and supports Ctrl+Shift+T.

This is how I use this technique:

  1. in a window with lots of related tabs, I create a new tab
  2. in the address bar, press t, Tab
  3. type the desired name, press Enter
  4. slide the tab all the way to the left
1
  • Wow, super neat, thanks! I love that this works right away (no extras needed), cross browser (I assume), and it's just a real quick hack to do. Plus it survives closing & reloading (hence bookmarking). And it works even with my current tab/window management extensions. I'd consider doing a small extension popup form just to make it more convenient, but that's an awesome trick I did not know about!
    – deryb
    Jul 20, 2020 at 13:16
3

As of Chrome 90, there is a builtin feature for this unter "(three dots menu) > More tools > Name window".

enter image description here

However, the name isn't visible anywhere but as the window title.

  • You cannot see the title of the current window, because
    • the title bar is hidden in Chrome in favor of more space for content
    • the title is hidden in the task bar when grouping is enabled; This applies both for Windows (at least Windows 10 but also before if so configured), and various Linux desktop environments.
  • The title doesn't show up in the "other devices" view of mobile versions of Chrome. Not sure about multiple desktops, since I don't use them.
1
  • On MacOS, the Title appears when you hover a minimized window in the Dock - which is exactly what I wanted this for. Jan 29, 2022 at 23:20
2

Add Session Buddy extension. Open a chrome window. Add a group of related tabs to the window. Go into SB. Find the "Window" with the tabs that you had added. Right click, "Save" and give the session a name. Look at the list of "Sessions" in the left column.

1
  • Yes, it's become a staple of my browser setup. I use it to save some browsing sessions (and close, for later), and to have better backups of all open tabs than Chrome's built-in default.
    – deryb
    Feb 23, 2020 at 15:05
2

For now 2020/10/14, Chrome(v86.0.4240.80 ) add a new features called Add Tab to New Group

You can assign a new group for every single tab with customizing tab title.

That's must be a productive feature!

enter image description here

1
  • Yay, a new feature! It's not helpful to rename / visually tag a window (to tell apart from other windows), but it's helpful to group tabs together and perhaps tame a larger number of tabs by reducing text "clutter" / improve #1 the real estate area of the browser, the tabs bar. Still a newbie with it, but it seems useful!
    – deryb
    Oct 23, 2020 at 1:18
0

Consider Tab Modifer and Open Tabs which lets you see all opened tabs in all windows.

1
  • 3
    Please read How do I recommend software for some tips as to how you should go about recommending software. You should provide at least a link, some additional information about the software itself, and how it can be used to solve the problem in the question.
    – DavidPostill
    Nov 17, 2016 at 0:04
0

I had the exact same need. I like to organize my projects into browser windows. In Windows you can use an application called Taskbar Renamer. It allows you to rename taskbar apps to whatever you want, so I can rename my windows to ProjectX, ProjectA, Email, etc. It is the closest to what I want.

0

Instead of saving your tabs by window, save your tabs as bookmarks within folders.

In the Chrome bookmark manager you can highlight multiple tabs or folders, and right click to select "open all bookmarks" or "open all in new window".

You can close all Chrome Windows not in current use and quickly open a new window, with all your project bookmarks, whenever needed.

This will make Command Tab switching faster.

I use this simple extension to quickly search, and the native chrome manager to open groups of bookmarks.

1
  • Thanks for suggesting, but that's more a session / window management storage approach... My question is really how to visually differentiate windows, to recall them quickly (assuming they're already opened). Often I just have so many opened windows it gets confusing to find a given specific one.
    – deryb
    Oct 23, 2020 at 1:08
0

Oct 2020:

  • I'm leaning towards Tabli as my go-to Windows & Tabs manager. I tried a few extensions for this, Tabli stuck around while others I ditched. Session Buddy for saving sessions / restoring / sharing / backups. Great Suspender for suspending inactive unpinned tabs after a while. This setup allows for a great number of tabs without feeling too overwhelmed.
  • I decided to go another route and try to "diversify" my browser experience a bit by using Brave and Edge. These use Chromium so they are all built on the same base as Chrome and so work almost the same, so much that it's very easy to import / export everything, even extensions. So I'm currently trying a mix of all three. This way I can get a bit more "visual separation" to tell them appart when switching (via alt-tab or task view).
  • Writing a quick custom "sticky tab" using the data:text/html hack is another promising venture. I'm building a small custom tool (form) to help build the html to make cool looking tabs. I'm thinking this'd be a nice extension to build and a real helpful tool, I'll likely put a github project together to share the code and invite others to contribute if desired!
  • Another helpful tool to tame this "too many tabs/windows/desktops" hell is called Launchy, which is some kind of Cortana equivalent but is more customizable, less bloated (tiny & snappy UI) and has many plugins, one called tasky which allows to search & focus running apps & windows. It finds specific tabs on top of that (by tab title) but it only finds the currently selected tab. So it's not perfect yet, but getting closer ;-P Perhaps this needs a hack to "open-up" chrome's tab list so that it becomes searchable by launchy somehow. I'll try to reach those guys to see if they have a suggestion...

Feb 2020:

My setup has changed a few times, but I stuck with Chrome, and now back to Windows 10 after a few years of Mac. There are good alternatives to Chrome, but I didn't feel the need so compelling to switch yet, so Chrome's still what I use.

Currently, I simply rely on a few profiles to manage my different browsing needs, and to avoid overcrowding with too many windows & tabs, extensions, history, etc. Most have a dedicated Google account created for using the sync feature and to have it on the cloud (tabs, history, extensions, settings, etc). One's for day to day, others for my job, etc.

There is no real proper answer to my question, but a some extensions help overcoming too many tabs & identifying windows / naming them. To help this, here are a few extensions:

  • Spaces: interesting but perhaps a bit limited. I tried it shortly, should perhaps give it another go to compare.
  • Tabli is an interesting tab search + switcher. It's my tab manager for now...
  • ...

This answer is mostly a draft, I'll try to clean this whole Q&A later.

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