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How to save the names and URLs of open Firefox tabs in a plain text file

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Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVE
50+ years in computer industry. Everything from development to sales. CIO. Document imaging. EE MVE 2015, EE MVE 2016, EE FELLOW 2017.

Article update on 27-July-2018: The bad news is that with the official discontinuation on 16-July-2018 by AE Creations of the Send Tab URLs add-on, this Experts Exchange article is deprecated. The good news is that there's an excellent alternative called FoxyTab, discussed in my new EE article:

How to save the names and URLs of open Firefox tabs in a plain text file - Redux

Please head over to the new article. Thanks, Joe



Firefox seemed to slow down recently and it occurred to me that I had many open tabs — ultimately, I would find out that three-quarters of them were Experts Exchange tabs! :)


So I decided to go on a hunt for a tool that would capture the names and URLs of all open tabs and put them in a plain text file. That way I could close the tabs, thereby improving Firefox's performance, but still have a record of them in case I want to find one and resurrect it.


Enter the Send Tab URLs add-on:


https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/send-tab-urls/


This Firefox add-on creates a list with the names and URLs of all open tabs in the current Firefox window. It has the ability to email the list or copy the list to the clipboard. I've never tried the email feature, as it (1) doesn't interest me and (2) is limited to 30 tabs. The copy-to-clipboard feature can handle an unlimited number of tabs — you'll see below why this is important to me. If anyone tries the email feature, please post a comment with your results.


I started using Send Tab URLs with Firefox 32.0.1 and am using it on the latest version as of this article's publication — 34.0.5. The website says that it supports English, Chinese (Simplified), Dutch, German, Hebrew, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), and Swedish, but I have used it only with the one language I know. If anyone tries it with a language besides English, please post a comment with your results.


After installing the add-on, you will have two ways to invoke it:


Open menu (the three horizontal bars in the upper right of the toolbar):


Open-menu.jpg

File>Send Tab URLs...:


File-menu.jpg

When you run it via either of those techniques, Send Tab URLs offers three styles for the list of URLs — Plain list, Numbered, Bulleted:



Options.jpg

I wanted to see how bad things were, so I went with Numbered. When it is done processing, which is lightning fast, it displays a pop-up in the system tray/notification area:



List-copied-to-clipboard.jpg

With the list on the clipboard, you may paste it wherever you want, such as Notepad.


Now for my stunning results — 908 open tabs! Here's what the first line of the text file looks like:

 

From Send Tab URLs (908 links)


Here are the last three URLs, showing what the list looks like:

 

906. PaperPort - How To Reorder/Rearrange Scanning Profiles
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Web_Development/Document_Imaging/A_12875-PaperPort-How-To-Reorder-Rearrange-Scanning-Profiles.html

907. Batch Conversion of PDF and TIFF files via Command Line Interface
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Web_Development/Document_Imaging/A_13696-Batch-Conversion-of-PDF-and-TIFF-files-via-Command-Line-Interface.html

908. Scanners and Cameras Applet in Windows 7 and Windows 8
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Web_Development/Document_Imaging/A_13926-Scanners-and-Cameras-Applet-in-Windows-7-and-Windows-8.html


I then went on a massive clean-up campaign, closing almost 800 tabs. My next run of Send Tab URLs showed this:

 

From Send Tab URLs (135 links)


Yes, Firefox performance improved!


Being a plain text file, it is easy to insert comments documenting the situation, such as this in my 908-link file:

 

Firefox is getting sluggish, so I decided to save this
list and close all EE tabs and maybe some others. I
want to get way down from the 908 currently open.


I put the date/time in the file name and will keep all of the text files for future reference (they are small — the 908-link one is just 140KB; the 135-link one, just 18KB).


If you find this article to be helpful, please click the thumbs-up icon below. This lets me know what is valuable for EE members and provides direction for future articles. Thanks very much! Regards, Joe

1
Comment
10 Comments

Expert Comment

by:IT Guy
How can this be done within Internet Explorer?
0
LVL 62

Author Comment

by:Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVE
I'm not aware of an add-on for IE that does this, but here's a method that works:

Tools
Internet Options
General
Use current (puts the URLs of all open tabs in the box)
Click in upper left corner of box to position cursor in front of first letter of first URL
Select All (Ctrl-Shift-End is an easy way to do it, or use mouse if you prefer)
Ctrl-C (copy all URLs to clipboard)
Ctrl-V (paste wherever you want them, such as Notepad)
Cancel, not OK (so that it doesn't make all of them your home page tabs)

I don't know if there's a limit on the number of URLs (or the number of characters) that can be in the box, but I just tested it in IE11 on 10 URLs and it worked fine. I don't use IE much, so I've never been in a situation where I have hundreds of tabs open in it. But if you try this method with a lot of tabs open, please post your results. Regards, Joe
0

Expert Comment

by:IT Guy
How can this be done within Google Chrome?
0
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LVL 62

Author Comment

by:Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVE
There are at least two Chrome add-ons that I'm aware of for this (there may be more):

(1) https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/email-all-tabs/hgebccnmgpigdgkbenjkamcnioejlghh?hl=en

This one invokes your default Compose Mail dialog and places all of the URLs in it. You may, of course, send the email at that point, or simply Select All, then copy/paste the URLs wherever you want them (and close the Compose Mail window).

(2) https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/copy-all-urls/djdmadneanknadilpjiknlnanaolmbfk?hl=en

This one simply copies all of the URLs to the clipboard. You may then paste them wherever you want. It has some interesting options:

Chrome Copy URLs Settings
Regards, Joe
0
LVL 36

Expert Comment

by:Duncan Roe
Tried Send to Clipboard under Linux - works perfectly!
I'm impressed.
0
LVL 62

Author Comment

by:Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVE
Hi Duncan,
Thanks for reporting that — very good to know! And thanks for the upvote — much appreciated!
Regards, Joe
0
LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:Rob-Down-Under
Might I suggest using the FF Bookmarks feature instead ?
I suffered with 100's of Tabs open for a few years, until I 'took myself aside' and started to explore using the FF Bookmarks.
You can right click any Tab, and choose 'Bookmark All Tabs'
Makes sure you are saving into the 'Bookmarks Menu' folder (as the Save dialog wanders elsewhere occasionally)
All your open Tabs will be saved into a folder that you can name.
I use this naming convention -
20160208
And sometimes append a description on the right of that date
You can then, or later, go to the Bookmarks menu, and choose 'Show All Bookmarks'
You can then edit entries, copy, etc
You can Export all of your bookmarks to a html file.
If you like, you can open that file, and place it into your leftmost Tab, and can browse that list anytime, and open any of them when you please.

I was an Analyst in IT for 20 years (with some programming in the latter years), and I would be hard pressed to create a better bookmark manager.

Rob
0
LVL 62

Author Comment

by:Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVE
Hi Rob,

Funny you should mention that. I make heavy use of the Bookmarks Toolbar (including the Multirow Bookmarks Toolbar Plus add-on). I've had an EE folder on it for a long time, with subfolders for my Articles and Videos. I recently added subfolders for open/active and open/abandoned EE questions, for which the bulk of my tabs had been created. Pleased to report that I'm now down to 42 tabs in Firefox! That said, I still use the Send Tab URLs add-on periodically (with a YYYYMMDD naming convention for the text files it creates).

Thanks for your tips on the features of the Bookmarks Toolbar and how you use it — very helpful!

Cheers, Joe
0

Expert Comment

by:FlyWithTheWind Marc
This addon isn't compatible with the new version of Firefox :(
There is this other one that works just fine https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/export-tabs-urls-and-titles/
0
LVL 62

Author Comment

by:Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVE
Hi Marc,
Thanks for joining Experts Exchange today and reading my article. Yes, AE Creations said in their blog that Send Tab URLs is their least-used extension, and they have the data to back it up (copied here under "Fair Use"):
5,786 average daily users between July 2016 and July 2017, compared to 8,354 for Panic Button and 35,962 for Clippings.
Because of this, they also said that they've "decided to discontinue development of Send Tab URLs, and focus on Clippings and Panic Button."

I posted my comment at the blog in early January:
Seems that you have the hard data saying that Send Tab URLs is the least-used extension, but, for me, it's the only one from AE Creations that I use (never even heard of Clippings or Panic Button). I run Send Tab URLs often on many machines...even published an article about it that may interest you..."How to save the names and URLs of open Firefox tabs in a plain text file":


https://www.experts-exchange.com/articles/17495/

Of course, I'm extremely disappointed that you are discontinuing it. But I thank you for the more-than-a-year that I had with it, and for providing such an excellent tool at no cost. That said, I'd be happy to pay for it, and I suspect that many of your 5,000+ daily users would be, too. I urge you to reconsider your decision to discontinue it and, instead, rewrite it as a WebExtension for Firefox 57, perhaps even charging a fair price for it. Thanks, Joe

They haven't responded to my comment (or the comments from others), so it's safe to say that I did not persuade them to reconsider their decision to discontinue it.

Thank you for providing the link to the 57-compatible Export Tabs URLs by AL and letting us know that it works fine.

Welcome aboard to Experts Exchange! Regards, Joe
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