How to Restore Tabs in Chrome

Almost everyone who uses the internet has experienced the frustration of accidentally closing a tab on Google Chrome. Whether it happens during an intense research session or amidst a shopping spree, losing your tabs can interrupt your workflow and cost you time. Fortunately, restoring closed tabs in Chrome is simple once you know how, and this guide is here to walk you through the various methods to retrieve your lost information.

how to restore tabs in chrome

Reopen with Keyboard Shortcut

One of the most straightforward methods to restore your most recently closed tab is by using a keyboard shortcut. It’s quick and efficient, making it ideal for anyone, regardless of tech expertise.

  1. For Windows and Linux users: Simply press Ctrl + Shift + T on your keyboard.
  2. For Mac users: Use the command Cmd + Shift + T.

This keyboard command can be used multiple times to reopen a series of tabs that were closed during your current browsing session.

Summary: The use of keyboard shortcuts is a convenient and rapid solution for restoring tabs. On the flip side, it may not be as helpful if you’ve closed the Chrome browser completely since it only reopens tabs from the current session.

Chrome Menu

If you prefer to use the browser interface, you can restore tabs through the Chrome menu.

  1. Click on the three vertical dots in the upper right corner of the browser to open the Chrome menu.
  2. Hover over “History.”
  3. You will see a list of recently closed tabs. Click on the one you wish to restore, and it will reopen in a new tab.

Summary: Going through the Chrome menu is user-friendly and allows you to see a list of recently closed tabs. However, it may be less efficient than keyboard shortcuts and does not provide a permanent record of your session’s history.

Right-Click on Tab Bar

For a quick restore option that does not involve memorizing keyboard shortcuts or navigating menus:

  1. Right-click on any open space in your tab bar.
  2. A context menu will appear. Select “Reopen closed tab” from the list.

Summary: Right-clicking is convenient and intuitive, offering a one-click solution. On the downside, it will only restore the last tab you closed.

Use Browser History

Your browser history is a log of all the websites you’ve visited and can be used to restore closed tabs, even from previous sessions.

  1. Click on the three vertical dots in the upper right corner.
  2. Select “History,” then “History” again in this submenu.
  3. You will be presented with a full list of the web pages you’ve visited. You can scroll through this list or search for a specific page using the search bar at the top, then click on any entry to reopen that tab.

Summary: This method is excellent for finding tabs from earlier browsing sessions, but it may be cumbersome if your history is extensive and the exact site you’re looking for isn’t clear.

Start Pages from Last Session

To begin exactly where you left off during your last browsing session:

  1. Click on the three vertical dots to open the menu.
  2. Go to “Settings.”
  3. Scroll down to “On startup.”
  4. Select “Continue where you left off.”

Summary: This option ensures you start with all your previous session’s tabs each time you open Chrome. However, if you don’t want to load all tabs from your previous session every time, this might not be ideal.

Use Chrome’s Sync Feature

If you use multiple devices, syncing your tabs across them can prevent losing your workflow.

  1. Ensure you are signed in to Google Chrome with your Google account.
  2. Click on your profile icon on the top right corner and select “Sync is on” (or “Turn on sync…” if it’s not already activated).
  3. This syncs your tabs, bookmarks, and other settings across all devices where you’re signed into Chrome with the same Google account.

Summary: Syncing is great for accessing tabs across different devices, but it requires you to be logged into Google Chrome on each of those devices.

Chrome Extensions for Managing Tabs

Chrome’s Web Store offers extensions that can help manage your tabs:

  1. Open the Chrome menu and select “More tools,” then “Extensions.”
  2. Click on “Web Store” at the bottom left of the page.
  3. Search for “session manager” and choose the extension that fits your needs.
  4. Click “Add to Chrome” and follow the prompts to install.

Summary: Extensions can offer enhanced session management and the ability to save groups of tabs. However, adding too many extensions can slow down your browser.

Restore After a Crash

In case Chrome crashes:

  1. Upon reopening Chrome, you should see a message asking if you want to “Restore” your previous session.
  2. Click “Restore,” and your tabs should reappear as they were before the crash.

Summary: This automated feature is very useful after an unexpected shutdown but is not something you can control or activate on demand.

Incognito Tabs

Unfortunately, if you’ve closed an incognito window, you cannot restore tabs using the previous methods.

Summary: Incognito mode is designed to leave no trace, ensuring privacy, but means you must take care to not close tabs you might want to revisit.

Tab Search Feature

If you have lots of tabs open and need to find one quickly without restoring:

  1. Use the “Tab search” feature by clicking the small downward-facing arrow in the top right corner of your browser window (next to the minimize button on Windows, or the red,yellow, green window button on Mac).
  2. In the search box that appears, type keywords from the tab you’re looking for and it will filter through your open tabs.

Summary: An excellent feature for quickly locating tabs, but you cannot use it to restore closed tabs.

Whether you’ve lost a single tab or an entire session’s worth, Google Chrome provides various methods to help you recover them. From simple keyboard shortcuts to using Chrome’s full suite of history and syncing services, there is an option that suits everyone’s preference and skill level. With this guide in hand, restoring tabs should be a hassle-free part of your browsing experience.


  1. What should I do if I accidentally close an incognito tab?
    Unfortunately, there’s no way to restore an incognito tab once it’s closed since they’re designed to not leave any history behind. It’s best to be careful while using incognito mode to avoid closing tabs unintentionally.

  2. Can I restore tabs after quitting Chrome entirely?
    Yes, if you had the “Continue where you left off” option selected in the settings, Chrome will restore your tabs when you reopen the browser. Otherwise, you can manually open tabs from your history, or if Chrome crashes and you didn’t disable this option, it should offer to restore the tabs for you.

  3. Is there a limit to the number of tabs I can restore using the keyboard shortcut?
    The keyboard shortcut (Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + T) can restore tabs one by one up to the limit of the last session. However, once you’ve closed Chrome entirely, this shortcut will only reopen the tabs from when you last closed the window.

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