nightTab is a highly customizable new tab replacement extension for Firefox and Chrome

Sep 6, 2020
Firefox, Firefox add-ons, Google Chrome, Google Chrome extensions

There are lots of ways to customize the new tab experience. Some like using custom CSS or display a blank page, others rely on extensions like Group Speed Dial or Tabliss.

nightTab is a highly customizable new tab replacement extension for Firefox and Chrome

Want something that's user-friendly, customizable, and minimalistic? The add-on nightTab might be just the thing you need.

Install the extension and open a new tab to access nightTab's interface. It has a dark theme, and a bunch of pre-configured bookmark tiles, aka speed dials. All the elements you see on the tab are customizable.

NightTab default settings

The search bar at the top of the tiles can be used to search in your bookmarks, or to perform an online search in Google. NightTab displays a clock and the date to the left of the search box. Let's see how to manage the speed dials.

nightTab edit mode

Click on the Edit button next to the search box, or the Add button in nightTab's screen to create a new group or bookmark. This brings up several buttons for each shortcut. Use the left and right arrows to move a speed-dial right or left. You may reorder the tiles by clicking on the three-line icon and dragging it elsewhere, even onto another group.

The x button deletes a speed dial, while the pencil icon is used to customize a tile. You can edit the appearance of the dial from the Visual Element settings. The letter option in nightTab uses a cool font, which you can use to name your bookmarks. Or you can pick from many icons that the extension comes preloaded with; these are part of the Font-Awesome collection. You can paste a URL of a custom image that you want to use for the tile.

If you assigned an icon or a picture, you may want to add a label to the speed dial, and that's what the name field is for. Paste the URL of the page that the speed dial is for in the Address field and hit the save button, and your new tile is ready. NightTab allows you to customize the appearance of the tiles further, change the size of the letter, icon, image, shadow and name. Set the position of the element in the tile, rotate it, pick the accent color, theme color, opacity from the advanced options. You can even use an image or a video as the background for the speed dial.

nightTab add new bookmark or group

Each set of bookmarks is a group and it has a title to categorize it. You can change the name of the group, reorder its position, or delete it. Tiles can be moved between bookmarks with a drag and drop, or from the editor.

nightTab add new group

Click on the "color" button to pick a custom background color from the palette. The Accent button similarly allows you to use a different color for the letters, icons and names.

nightTab change color and accent

The gear icon in the top right corner has even more settings. You can adjust the scaling size, width and alignment, padding of the layout. Enable the Greeting option if you like to see "Good morning, Hello, Hi", followed by your name.

nightTab settings layout

Transitional words places shows the words "The time and date is" or "It's" before the clock.

nightTab greeting

Speaking of which, the clock can be customized too. Switch from number-based to a word-based clock, enable seconds, change the separators, toggle 24-hour clock, enable AM/PM. The Date settings are modifiable as well and has options to switch the format, word style, size, etc.

Next is the Search settings which aside from a couple of visual options lets you choose from the following search engines:  Google, DuckDuckGo, YouTube, Giphy, Bing, or a custom search provider. Dislike having the Edit, Add, Color and Accent buttons in the new tab? Disable them from the options.

nightTab themes

Bored with the colors? nightTab has plenty of themes to choose from, of course you can create your own easily. The extension allows you to use Google Fonts for the text and numbers. Why restrict yourself to a colorful background? Use an image or a video, nightTab supports both local and online media, go nuts.

No one likes to see their settings reset to default. It may be a good idea to use the add-on's built-in backup and restore option to preserve your customized preferences. I tried importing my backup from Firefox to Chrome, and it worked like a charm.

Download nightTab for Firefox and Chrome.  The extension is open source.

NightTab is an excellent new tab replacement with a ridiculous number of settings, yet somehow it manages to keep things user-friendly.

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3.5 based on 17 votes
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Firefox, Chrome
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  1. vehf277 said on February 17, 2022 at 6:07 pm

    Who can tell me how to get New Tab page exactly as Firefox 56. It is the blank white page with search bar and fifteen screenshots of every last visited particular page of site I want to have using this feature. Every screenshot associated with the particular URL can be easily changed.
    It can be the feature of Firefox/Waterfox of simple add-on.
    I need your help please.

  2. Anonymous said on September 8, 2020 at 2:27 pm

    2Mb extension? what is it? a new operating system?

    1. Anonymous said on September 9, 2020 at 12:12 pm

      it has a lot of complex features and so lots of code. take a look at the repo

  3. piomiq said on September 7, 2020 at 1:16 pm

    Only Tree Style Tab. This is vertical tab replacement (including grouping of tabs). With hiding top tab bar (manual fix in configuration) makes that workspace is used perfectly by web browser.

  4. Tom Hawack said on September 7, 2020 at 11:50 am

    Even if Firefox is and remains my default browser, to like and prefer doesn’t exclude criticism.

    I believe that Firefox’s homepage and newtab page must be bypassed in order to have the best possible Firefox Xperience. Customized Homepage/Newtab dedicated Firefox extensions flourish, nightTab seems nice even if ‘Perfect Home’ would be my choice should I hadn’t proceeded differently.

    Personally I aim to,
    1- have one page serving as both homepage and newtab page;
    2- having a tool to allow the choice of a newtab page (Firefox only allows changing its homepage);
    3- having my own homepage/newtab crafted/customized page, even if some extensions do a great job.

    Here I use a one-line userChromeJS file which does the newtab replacement in a ‘shorter-aint-possible’ way:

    NewTab_custom-page.uc.js :
    AboutNewTab.newTabURL = “[myURL]”;

    To have Firefox’s homepage correspond to this newtab page I’ll add :
    pref(“browser.startup.homepage”, “[myURL]”);

    Put there whatever url you wish, even a local file, and voila
    To install the UserChromeJS background :

    So the idea is to bypass by all means Firefox’s Home and newtab pages. Do it with an extension or with whatever you like but avoid those built-in pages and disable accordingly related settings, and Ghacks-user.js at [] will provide all you need.

  5. m3city said on September 7, 2020 at 8:53 am

    Looks great. I loved opera12 quick start and while I tried numerous look-a-likes on firefox, none of them really “just worked” like in the greatest browser of all times ;). I just wonder, how can one use themes where a gray font is on black/gray background. It’s bad for eyes, not ergonomic etc.

  6. KERR said on September 7, 2020 at 6:19 am

    Still waiting for something like igoogle was back in the day. All of these tab addons seem to be too simplistic or inflexible for me…

    The standard Firefox New Tab page is actually almost as capable as this extension out of the box (except it doesn’t have a clock) from what I can see…

  7. Annette Cohen said on September 6, 2020 at 10:49 pm

    Thank you for such detail. Much appreciated. Going to get it now. Cheers!

  8. Anonymous said on September 6, 2020 at 8:51 pm

    Looks cool. I use Humble New Tab Page though. A lot of customization options.

  9. Allwynd said on September 6, 2020 at 5:06 pm

    I prefer a completely blank tab instead, just like how it used to be in the good old days. Too bad neither Firefox or Chrome allow this by default so an extension is required on either. Firefox has some options to turn stuff off, but it’s 100% blank, just “closer to empty”, Chrome on the other hand doesn’t allow for much customization by default, but at least there are a handful of Blank New Tab extensions on the Web Store, so there’s that.

    I hate the idea of having to install such stupid extensions to achieve such a basic functionality that should’ve been built-in in the browser in the first place, but it is what it is… The same situation is with Windows 10 – for things we were previously able to customize withing the OS’ settings, now we need questionable 3rd party software to achieve the same results, which is pretty sad honestly.

    1. Slim said on September 7, 2020 at 6:47 am

      You can accomplish what you want without an extension in Firefox. Just use userContent.css and write one tiny CSS ruleset.

      Not possible in Chromium-based browsers.

      Also, if you like, you can try setting your new tab page to ‘about:blank’ in Firefox.

      Or, if you aren’t tech savvy, just use a simple blank new tab extension. Plenty of them available for Firefox.

      Although I agree that this should be integrated into the main UI, there are so many easy and flexible ways to do this in Firefox (and the best ways aren’t available in Chromium browsers at all due to its inflexibility).

      1. Barton said on September 7, 2020 at 2:42 pm

        @Slim You don’t even need to go to that length. As KERR already said, you can set it from options. Well, unless there’s something lost in translation and Allwynd actually talking about different thing. But even so I can’t think of other kind of “Blank Tab” he/she is talking about.

    2. KERR said on September 7, 2020 at 6:14 am

      I have set “New tabs” setting to “Blank Page” in firefox, and I get a completely blank page…

  10. common sense computing said on September 6, 2020 at 3:04 pm

    Doesn’t work with waterfox classic. It has some good features but I Prefer FVD.

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