Tab Ahead is a useful tab finder for Chrome with fuzzy logic support

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 7, 2013
Updated • Dec 7, 2013
Google Chrome, Google Chrome extensions

When you reach a certain threshold in the Google Chrome browser in regards to tabs that are open in a given window, you will notice that they first start to appear only as favicons in the tabbar of the browser, and shortly thereafter only as anonymous blocks of tabs that have no visual indication about the web page that they contain whatsoever.

That's a big problem, as it becomes problematic to find tabs in the browser. There is no scrolling involved ever, as Google decided to cramp all tabs to the visual browser window regardless of how many tabs are open in the program.

There are ways around this, even without the use of browser extensions. You can use multiple windows of Chrome for example, but that means haggling around with different windows, which may not be that practicable as well.

Or, you can enable the tab stacking feature, an experimental feature of Chrome that needs to be enabled on the chrome://flags page.

Depending on how many websites you open in Chrome, you may however realize that the best course of action to bring order into chaos is to install a browser extension.

We have covered many tab management extensions for the browser in the past: from Too Many Tabs over Tabsense to Tabs Outliner.

Tab Ahead

Tab Ahead is another Chrome extension that improves tab management. It adds a single icon to the browser's address bar that you can use to find tabs that are open in the web browser.

You can either type part of the website's address (url) or title, and Tab Ahead will display it prominently in the results. Since it is using Fuzzy Logic, you may notice that it will display hits even if what you typed does not match the title or url 100%.

That's great on the one hand, as you may get the correct result even if you mistype the name or address. A side-effect is however that you will usually get other unrelated results as well.

The author of the extension tried to overcome this issue by displaying the top results at the top of the results listing.

Tab Ahead will only search in a single browser window by default, but that can be changed so that it will search across all open Chrome windows instead.

Just right-click the icon, select Options from the context menu, and switch to all windows here to make that change.

The only other option that is available is a keyboard shortcut to trigger the search form. Hit Alt-T to display or hide it in the browser.


Tab Ahead is an easy to use extension that helps you find open websites in Chrome. Depending on the terms entered, you may notice that many unrelated pages are displayed regularly.

There is unfortunately no option to fine tune the filtering, for instance by modifying how far off a title or url may be to be displayed in the results listing.

All in all though, it is an interesting extension that can help you tame the tab chaos in Chrome.


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  1. Clement said on December 12, 2014 at 12:07 am

    To illustrate one of the problemes with tab ahead fuzzy search algorithm

  2. alxctc said on December 8, 2013 at 2:58 pm
    1. Clement said on December 11, 2014 at 11:37 pm

      I was using Tab Ahead but had a few problem (slow, empty list on opening, not able to switch directly to last open tab) with it so i made my own extension

  3. scott baker said on December 8, 2013 at 2:14 am

    Anyone know of a way to get 2 rows of tabs in Chrome or any browser for that matter?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on December 8, 2013 at 9:32 am

      Well you can do so easily in Firefox with Tab Mix Plus. I do not think it is possible in other browsers.

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