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Can you color code your tabs?

Color coding browser tabs can be a great way to visually organize and differentiate between open tabs. This is especially useful if you often have a lot of tabs open at once for work, research, shopping, or other tasks. Color coding tabs helps you find what you need more quickly and work more efficiently.

So how do you actually color code tabs? The option to color code tabs is built into most major web browsers. Here’s how to do it in Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.

Color Coding Tabs in Chrome

Chrome has included the ability to color code tabs for years. Here’s how to set tab colors in Chrome:

  1. Right click on the tab you want to color code.
  2. Select “Color” and choose a color from the dropdown menu.
  3. The tab background will change to that color.
  4. Repeat this for other tabs you want to color.

You can choose from eight different colors: grey, red, orange, yellow, green, teal, blue, and purple. While limited, these colors still allow you to distinguish and categorize tabs.

For example, you could color code:

  • Work tabs in green
  • Shopping tabs in yellow
  • Research tabs in blue
  • And so on

Chrome also lets you color code Tab Groups, which allows you to better organize many open tabs. Just right click on a Tab Group and select “Tab Group Color” to choose a color.

Color Coding Tabs in Firefox

Firefox also makes it easy to set tab colors. Here’s how:

  1. Right click on the tab you want to color.
  2. Select “Change Tab Color” and pick a color.
  3. The tab background will change to that color.
  4. Repeat for other tabs you want to color.

Firefox provides more color options than Chrome, with over 20 tab colors to choose from. You can select standard colors like red, green, and blue. Or choose from color wheel options for more specific shades.

With more colors, you can color code tabs in Firefox with greater specificity. For example:

  • Primary research sources in navy blue
  • Secondary sources in light blue
  • Reviews for product 1 in orange
  • Reviews for product 2 in salmon

Color Coding Tabs in Safari

Safari also allows you to set tab colors, though the process is a bit different than Chrome and Firefox.

Here’s how to color code tabs in Safari:

  1. Go to Safari > Preferences > Tabs.
  2. Check the box next to “Enable Per-Website Tab Colors.”
  3. Close Preferences.
  4. Now reload any open tabs. Each website should have its own colored tab.

With this setting enabled, Safari will automatically assign a color to each website you visit based on the domain. This color will persist whenever you revisit that site in a new tab.

For frequently visited sites like work tools or email, this can help you quickly identify tabs. But you don’t have direct control over the colors Safari picks.

Customizing Tab Colors

If you want more control over tab colors than the built-in browser options provide, you can use browser extensions.

Here are some top options:

  • Tab Color Changer – A Chrome extension that lets you set custom colors for tabs using a color picker.
  • Tab Color Customizer – A Firefox extension that provides a color wheel for choosing any tab hue.
  • TabTastic – A Safari extension that allows you to manually select a color for each tab.

These extensions provide unlimited color choices for your tabs. That makes it easy to pick colors that suit your visual preferences.

Some things to consider when selecting custom tab colors:

  • Pick distinct colors to make tabs easy to distinguish
  • Use a consistent system (e.g. blue for work, red for urgent, etc.)
  • Check that colors provide enough contrast with tab text
  • Test how colors look against different website backgrounds

With strategic use of color coding, these extensions can help you wrangle tab overload and stay on top of your browsing.

Other Browsers

Most other browsers also give you some option to color code tabs:

  • Microsoft Edge – Lets you pick from a set of preset colors.
  • Vivaldi – Choose tab colors by clicking a color wheel icon.
  • Opera – Provides a default set of color options to toggle between.
  • Brave – Uses a dropdown menu to pick different colors.

Check your browser’s settings or research extensions if you don’t see a native tab coloring feature.

Should You Color Code Your Tabs?

Color coding tabs can be helpful, but also has some downsides to consider:

Potential benefits

  • Faster visual scanning to find the right tab
  • Easier to track different types of tasks
  • Less mental strain when you have many tabs open
  • Quick identification of priority or urgent tabs

Potential downsides

  • Time consuming to set tab colors manually
  • Difficult to keep color scheme consistent
  • Too much color can feel visually busy
  • Won’t help if you still keep too many tabs open

Here are some best practices if you do use tab coloring:

  • Only use a few distinct colors
  • Be consistent with what each color means
  • Re-evaluate your color scheme periodically
  • Make sure colors have enough contrast

Used strategically, colored tabs can be a handy visual aid. But good tab hygiene still requires actually closing tabs you don’t need.

Browser Native Tab Coloring? Custom Colors With Extension?
Chrome Yes Yes
Firefox Yes Yes
Safari Yes Yes
Edge Yes Limited
Opera Yes Limited
Brave Yes Limited


Color coding browser tabs can help you visually distinguish and organize tabs – especially if you regularly have many open at once. Most major browsers provide some built-in options for colored tabs. But third party extensions offer more customization if you want more control over tab colors.

Set your tab colors thoughtfully using distinct hues and a consistent system. Periodically review your color scheme as your needs change. Used strategically, colored tabs can aid your productivity and focus. But be careful not to go overboard with colors. And make sure you still practice good tab hygiene by closing tabs you don’t need.