Firefox: switching between tabs in most recently used order

Recently I stumbled upon a statement that new Opera 18 does not remember most recently used tabs when switching between them with Ctrl+Tab. In classic Opera, the last version 12.16, pressing Ctrl+Tab switched to the previously used tab: this way it’s easy to switch between the two tabs just like between two applications with Alt+Tab in Windows.

I still use the classic version of Opera, and I didn’t see the change. In Firefox, pressing Ctrl+Tab switches between the tabs in the order they were opened: from the first to the last tab as they appear on the tab panel. But you can change the behavior.

  1. Open a new tab in Firefox (Ctrl+T).
  2. Type about:config into the address bar and press Enter.
  3. Click I'll be careful, I promise!.
  4. Type ctrl into the Search field above the list of settings.
  5. Double-click the line with setting browser.ctrlTab.previews.
    The value in the Value column would change to true, and Status — to user set.
  6. Close the tab (Ctrl+W).

Now when you press Ctrl+Tab, Firefox would switch you to the most recently used tab. If you hold Ctrl for a while, you’ll see a window with tab previews; if you press the keys fast enough, the preview window won’t appear and the browser will switch to another tab.

I used this answer (by Jonathan Williams) to the question Changing Firefox Tab Cycle Order (by Mark Roddy).
сс-wiki aka cc-by-sa


Firefox 13

Firefox logo On June 5, 2012 Firefox 13 was released. There are several new features which are noticeable to users.

New Tab

When you open a new tab, you’ll see the list of most frequently visited sites instead of blank page. So now Firefox has the new tab page that is similar to Internet Explorer 9. Such page in Opera — Speed Dial — has been one of the highlighted features for a long time. I can’t even remember when Speed Dial showed up in Opera for the first time.

Firefox combined the approaches of both browsers. In Opera, user is in control, they select which links are displayed in Speed Dial. In Internet Explorer the list of links is created automatically, it’s based on how often you visit different web sites.

It’s easy to pin a link in new tab page in Firefox. And such link will be side-by-side with automatically generated suggestions.

Quick Start

Starting with Firefox 13, background tabs are not loaded when you start the browser — only the active tab is loaded. As the result, Firefox starts much faster.

Pages in other tabs are loaded when the tab is activated. (Yes, you’ll have to wait… later.)

There’s additional benefit in this approach: Firefox uses less memory since only the viewed pages are loaded into memory.