Panic Button hides and restores your Chrome tabs

Alan Buckingham
May 24, 2013
Google Chrome, Google Chrome extensions

When it comes to controlling your tabs in Chrome, there are numerous solutions. Being someone who has a number of tabs open at any given time, I have tried many of them. Among my favorites are Tab Cloud, Too Many Tabs and Recycle Bin. Each has its own purpose and using all will give you pretty good control.

Then there is the extreme solution that I recently discovered -- Panic Button. I say "extreme" because, unlike Too Many Tabs, Panic Button does a bit more than allowing you to hide particular tabs. This extension hides everything, except for one tab, which I will explain below.

Once installed, you will find a red, circular-shaped button with an exclamation point in the middle on your menu bar, where other extensions appear.

Using the Extension

It seems dead simple at first glance -- you can click the red button and all of your tabs will disappear. And I mean all of them, including the one you are on. Perhaps the word panic in the name is apt. In my test, with 17 open tabs, it took about 30 seconds to log all the URL's and store them away in a hidden folder. It left me with only a New Tab page.

Once the process is complete the button will change from red to green and display a number over it that indicates the amount of tabs it is now storing for you. Press the button again and your tabs reappear.

Alternatively, you can also use your keyboard to hide and display tabs by clicking the F4 button -- an option that may not work on all computers. For example, on the laptop I am writing this from the F4 button turns the display on and off. That is where the Options come in.


To access these, head to the Chrome Extensions page and scroll down to find Panic Button and click "Options". These are sparse, but they cover all of the bases.

You can choose to enable or disable the keyboard option, and also decide what keys you wish to to use if you decide to enable it. You can also set password protection and choose between New Tab page, blank page and custom page for what appears when you banish your tabs.


As I stated earlier, this is a rather extreme option, but it does work. I found it a bit too extreme for my tastes and would prefer to stick with Too Many Tabs to simply hide tabs I know I will not need at the moment. Depending on the amount of URL's you are hiding, it can be a bit slow. However, it works as advertised and it seems to be trustworthy in bringing those tabs back. In the end it is really all about what you wish to do.


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