If you don’t use Ctrl+Shift+T, you’re not really living


CTRL+SHIFT+T: The keyboard shortcut that fixes my most common browser error

Is it just me or is it path too easy to accidentally close a browser tab? I do it all the time – I try to switch to another tab Google Chrome but then press the “X” instead. Maybe I’m too clicky. If so, it’s probably because of the secret weapon I have up my sleeve, the keyboard shortcut that has saved me more times than I care to admit. I can click freely because I always know that Ctrl+Shift+T is behind me.

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What is Ctrl+Shift+T (or Cmd+Shift+T for Mac users)? I would argue that this is one of the most important and useful keyboard shortcuts out there, right up there with Ctrl + Z. In fact, it serves a similar function: to undo a mistake. Specifically, the bug of accidentally closing a browser tab or window. Ctrl+Shift+T is the easiest way to restore a browser tab you didn’t mean to wipe.

Let’s go through how to use it as well as all other ways to recover lost tabs on any browser. And don’t miss our list of The best keyboard shortcuts for Windows 11the important Mac keyboard shortcuts and a Google Chrome trick that organizes all your tabs to you.

Four ways to reopen closed tabs in Google Chrome

Google Chrome gives you a few options for restoring tabs and windows after you close them, and depending on your needs, it’s good to know how they all work. Note, however, that restoring closed tabs is not an option when browsing in Incognito mode.

1. Keyboard shortcut method

The quickest way to restore a single tab that you accidentally closed is with a keyboard shortcut. On a PC, use Ctrl+Shift+T. On a Mac, use Cmd+Shift+T. If you want to restore multiple tabs or need a tab that you closed a while ago, just press Ctrl+Shift+T and your tabs will reappear in the order they were closed. Bonus: If you accidentally close your entire browser window completely, just open a new Chrome window and the keyboard shortcut will reopen all at once. This is a great trick for those times when a system update forces you to close your browser or completely restart your computer.

2. Browsing history method

Your Chrome browsing history also tracks recently closed tabs. It’s not as lightning fast as a keyboard shortcut, but this method is useful if you closed the tab a long time ago and need to go back to it.

There are several ways to access your browsing history in Chrome. One way is to use a different keyboard shortcut: Ctrl+H. Another option is to click and then select the hamburger menu in the top right corner of your browser story. And a third option is to type “chrome://history” in your address bar and then press Enter.

However you get to your browsing history, there you have access to all the websites and tabs you’ve looked at, in reverse chronological order. Clicking on a result will reopen it for you. Cycling through the hamburger menu also has a built-in list of Recently closed Tabs you can select to reopen.

Chrome logo on a laptop screen

Angela Lang/CNET

Continue reading: 11 Chrome Features You Wish You Always Knew

3. Tab search method

Ever notice that little down arrow on your Chrome tab bar? In Windows, it’s right next to the minimize, maximize, and close icons of your window. (It’s in the upper-right corner on Mac.) This icon is Chrome’s built-in tab search feature, which you can access even with a simple keyboard shortcut: Ctrl+Shift+A. Tab search shows you a list of all the tabs you currently have open and another list of your recently closed tabs. You can scroll through the lists to reopen or switch to the tab you want, or use the search bar to find it with a keyword. This is handy for those who have dozens of tabs open all the time.

4. Taskbar method

If you have a Chrome window open – or if the app is pinned to your taskbar – right-click the taskbar icon and you’ll see a short list of links: Most visited and Recently closed. From there you can restore a tab simply by clicking on it. (Note that these options do not appear on the Mac.)

Bonus: Pick up where I left off method.

There’s a Chrome setting that essentially makes Ctrl + Shift + T the default. If you enable this feature, every time you open Chrome, the browser will automatically open the tabs you had open in your previous session. Then, to turn it on, go to your Chrome settings (also via the hamburger menu). At the start. Choose Pick up where you left off Possibility.

What about other browsers like Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Opera?

The keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+T also works in other browsers (as well as right-clicking on the tab bar and selecting Reopen a closed tab). Most other methods of reopening a tab also work across browsers, although the menu labels and options may differ. The experience is largely the same on a Mac, except for the taskbar method.

For both Firefox and Microsoft Edge, you can also search your browsing history to find and reopen a tab you accidentally closed. Firefox has a special submenu under story called Recently closed tabs. Microsoft Edge has a tab story menu for All, Recently closed and Tabs from other devices. If you have the sidebar enabled in Opera – and if history is one of the items you selected to include in the sidebar – click the story The sidebar icon will also display a list of recently closed tabs.

The other browsers also offer a setting to automatically reopen the tabs from the previous session on startup. In Firefox go to settings > General and check the box below tarnishing labeled Open previous windows and tabs. In Microsoft Edge, go to settings > Start, home page and new tabs and under When Edge startschoose Open tabs from the previous session. And in the opera: settings > At the startand then check the box for Keep tabs from the previous session.

For more information, see The best features of Google Chromeincluding How to mute a noisy browser tab. Plus, Change browser settings to improve privacy and Browser extensions that save you money when shopping online.

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