Tabbed Browsing

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What Does Tabbed Browsing Mean?

Tabbed browsing is a Web browser feature in which several websites may be opened in one browser window, versus the traditional method where each website is opened in an individual browser window.


Tabbed browsing allows a user to open websites on an alternating basis. Tabs usually display in a row at the top or bottom of a browser window and include short titles for identification.

Techopedia Explains Tabbed Browsing

Tabbed browsing was initially offered in 1994 as part of the InternetWorks browser. In 2003, tabbed browsing was officially introduced by Mozilla and has become a popular Web browser feature.

Tabbed browsing is a useful Web browser feature for the following reasons:

  • Multiple website tabs may be opened simultaneously.
  • A slow-loading Web page or website may be opened and loaded in the background, which allows a user to remain engaged in another tab.
  • Because tabs are neatly arranged, tabbed browsing reduces desktop clutter.

Tabbed browsing does not allow side-by-side browser tab viewing, but most browsers allow open tabs to be viewed in separate windows.

Tabbed browsing is also incorporated in other programs and interfaces with the “many instances, one window” principle. For example, some programming and Web design tools now incorporate tabs. However, it is unclear whether these interfaces were cloned from the Web browsing community – or the other way around.


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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.