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Testing of Vertical Tab Feature In Firefox Is Underway

Photo credit: dennizn / Shutterstock

Mozilla has made steps towards the introduction of vertical tabs in the Firefox browser, confirming the effort in May after an unintended leak via an early version of Firefox that featured the new tab arrangement.

Mozilla’s cutting-edge testing channel, Firefox Nightly, is showcasing the vertical tabs feature. It’s a routine process for features to be trialed in the Nightly channel, allowing for optimization before they transition to the Beta stage and finally released in the complete, stable Firefox versions.

What Are Firefox’s Vertical Tabs?

Once enabled, this feature transforms the usual horizontal layout into a sidebar, which users can position to the left or the right side of the browser, with the default view displaying merely the icons of the tabs. Expanding this sidebar area reveals the page titles as well.

Currently, all vertical tabs are arranged at the same hierarchical level, unlike the ‘Tree Style Tabs’ extension Firefox offered in 2009—which arranged tabs in a parent-child structure and has since been converted into a WebExtension. With the new configuration, users retain the functionality to reorder tabs, pin favorites, and access a variety of tab management functions, now with the improved visual capability to have more tabs visible at once than a horizontal arrangement allows on most screens.

Guide to Previewing Firefox’s Vertical Tabs

While it may be some time before the vertical tabs become commonplace in the stable version of Firefox, for those eager to test the feature now, follow these steps:

  1. Enter about:config in the Firefox URL bar.
  2. Select Accept the Risk and Continue.
  3. Search for the term sidebar.
  4. Modify the sidebar.revamp preference to True.
  5. Set sidebar.verticalTabs to true.
  6. Restart Firefox to implement the changes.

With a quick restart, the browser will showcase the newly enabled vertical tabs. The sidebar will then display your active tabs and page names, and customization options will allow you to relocate the sidebar to your preferred side of the interface.

Image attribution: dennizn / Shutterstock

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