Granny Tech: What is a browser tab?

A browser tab (or simply a tab) is a web organizer for Internet browsers first featured in NetCaptor (SimulBrowse) by Adam Stiles, In 1997. It allows you to open and organize multiple web pages at once without opening a new browser.

A short history of browser tabs:

Contrary to popular belief, Opera did not invent the browser tabs (source 1, source 2). Yes, Opera was among the first to implement it however it certainly did not invent browser tabs.

Opera website in 2004
Opera website in 2004 (courtesy of WayBack Machine)

Browser tabs were first implemented in NetCaptor (known before as SimulBrowse) by its developer Adam Stiles.


courtesy of WayBack Machine

What do browser tabs look today?

Today, browser tabs is a critical features amongst browsers and us users. We are so used to it that even mobile browsers have browser tabs built into it. Not much has changed in today’s version (circa 2017) of browser tabs. The functionalities are pretty much the same (except for pinned tabs) with an addition of new design languages.

Here’s how it looks in different major browsers:


Edge: Browser tabs

Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer: Browser tabs
Internet Explorer: Browser tabs


Google Chrome: Browser tabs
Chrome: Browser tabs


Firefox: Browser tabs


Opera: Browser tabs


Vivaldi: Browser tabs

Safari (courtesy of Apple)

Safari: Browser tab (courtesy of Apple)
Safari: Browser tab (courtesy of Apple)

What are the kinds of browser tabs?

There are two kinds of browser tabs:

  • Pinned tabs – or what I call the important tabs. These tabs stay with your browser even after you close the whole browser. Everytime you open the browser, these pinned tabs will automatically start with it. Visually, these tabs appear more compact that their normal tab counterpart.
  • Normal tabs – these are all other tabs not categorized as a pinned tab. Commonly, these are new tabs created when you explicitly tell the browser to create one.
The first two tabs (wordpress and Amazon) are pinned ones and the third and succeeding tabs are a normal tabs
The first two tabs (wordpress and Amazon) are pinned ones and the third and succeeding tabs are a normal tabs

How do I use browser tabs?

Browser tabs can be created by pressing the following key in the keyborad:


However, you can also click the “PLUS” sign on your browsers to create a new tab.

To create a pinned tab, you need to right click the tab you want to pin and select “Pin tab” or something similar.

Pin tab

Does it help if I know these stuff?

Of course! Again, in this day of age, you should know what these simple things are so that when you are talking to someone well conversed in these technologies, you can actually understand what they mean.

And there you have it! Browser tabs. Now you can converse better with other people. Cheers!


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