Up until about six months ago, I was a longtime Safari web browser user. But after much frustration with what Safari lacked, I switched first to Google Chrome, and then a few months later to the Chromium-based Vivaldi web browser. And recently I returned to the workspace Google extension, Workona, for managing my tabs, bookmarks, and projects.
For years I struggled to manage browser tabs. Far too often I couldn’t find tabs I had already opened, and I constantly had to go to the Safari bookmarks bar to re-open pages I frequently used. Now I’m proud to say that Safari is a relic of the past. It can’t compete with what Vivaldi and Workona do for my productivity and workflow needs.
The following Workona graphic correctly shows the frustration I would experience using and managing tabs on Safari and Google Chrome.
Vivaldi Visual Tabs
Another reason I stopped using Safari was that I needed to use Google Chrome extensions for web development and other tasks. Though I liked how Safari synced bookmarks and pages to my other devices, it lacked many important extensions (e.g., ClickUp, Swipebasket (reviewed here), Amazon Keyword Search) offered in Chrome.
But what Google Chrome didn’t solve for me is tab clutter issues. After opening dozen or more tabs (as shown in the image below), the browsing experience becomes a hot mess. Safari, unlike Chrome, has a Tab View feature, but even that didn’t help enough to manage and access tabs productively.
Vivaldi Thumbnail Tab
Vivaldi allows you to set tab thumbnails on either side of the browser. The thumbnail view enables you to always see what pages are open. However, if I open like a dozen tabs, the thumbnails get smaller and smaller. Vivaldi addresses the problem somewhat with its tab stacking feature, which allows you to manually or automatically stack related tabs together.
There are tons of other features for Vivaldi that I won’t cover in this article, but if visual tabs and a more private and secure web browser are something that interests you, I highly recommend you check out Vivaldi, which is totally free.
Vivaldi provides several ways to manage, group, and pin tabs, but they still challenged me with tab clutter when I switched between various pages and web apps, or when I performed web searches that lead to several open tabs. And again, it was also a problem if opened too many thumbnail tabs. It could easily turn into a mess.
Over a year ago I started using the workspace app, Biscuit (reviewed here) to get work done in my WordPress sites, Canva, Kindle Publishing, and other sites. Biscuit doesn’t include thumbnail tabs, but it allows for creating workspaces, which are groups of tabs that can be pinned in place and even renamed for better identification. But Biscuit is not quite a full-blown web browser. You can’t add extensions to it, and serve as a default browser.
So I went on the hunt again for a better solution, and I discovered Workona. Workona allows for managing and saving web pages in what are called Workspaces. I produced a video review of Workona when I first used it on Google Chrome. Here’s that review:
Workona limits its free version to five workspaces. I tried using the free version, but it was not nearly enough for the amount of work I do daily. The pro-version of Workona is $84/year. Though that’s a steep price, given the other subscriptions I pay for, it’s worth it for the time it saves me daily.
Use my affiliate link to get started with Workona. If you purchase the pro version ($84) I will receive a commission. Thank you.
Note: though Workona is a Google Chrome extension that Vivaldi supports (as well as Firefox and Microsoft Edge) like all other Chrome extensions. Besides the Workona Tab manager, you’ll also want to add the Workona New Tab and the Workona Tab Suspender extensions to get the most out of the platform.
Working In Spaces
The difference in working in Workona is that I focus on workspaces instead of just web pages and web apps.
When I open Vivaldi (or Biscuit web browser), I choose a particular space where I need to work. Each workspace contains pages that are open where I left them. I don’t have to re-open them from the bookmarks bar.
I’m careful to take the time to move or copy tabs where they belong, rather than letting them pile up in one space.
If I open a URL from my Spark Mail app or some other web page, I decide if and what space I need to save that page. Workona can save a page as a Tab in a Workspace or Resources section. Saved pages remain in the assigned space until they are closed.
Opening the Workona Tab Manager in the Extension bar of Vivaldi’s makes it easy to select the Workspace or Resources Section where I want a page saved.
Basically, Workona and Vivaldi complement one another. Vivaldi has a Save Sessions feature that allows for saving and re-opening groups of tabs, but it requires opening a Sessions window to retrieve, launch, or update it.
Other Workona Features
Workona not only has a section that lists all your open tabs in each space, but it also includes sections for notes and tasks. These features are useful for working on a project. The Resources section allows for saving pages that are both open and not open in a workspace. It’s essentially a way to bookmark pages related to a project or space.
I have spaces and resources for projects and different areas of responsibility, including my finances, freelance work, blogs, and web development. I have a Search workspace that I open when I’m doing random searches. Workona also allows users to convert a temporary session into a permanent workspace.
I don’t use the Vivaldi Tasks feature much because it is not as useful as I would like it to be, but I use it to create lists of tasks for project workflows.
I also find the Workona pop-up Search window very useful for quickly jumping back to recently opened pages. You can also search for resources, notes, tasks, and content you save from supported online apps.
Triggering Shortcuts in Workona
Workona is easy to set up and use, and fortunately, it includes shortcuts for its key features.
If you follow this site, you know I trigger shortcuts and menu items using BetterTouchTool (learn more about BTT here), because when my hand is already on my track pad I don’t want to bring my hand back to the keyword to trigger a shortcut or menu item.
BTT Finger Gestures
For example, I use a Three Finger Swipe Down to trigger the shortcut that opens the Workona sidebar that lists all your Workspaces. The sidebar does not stay open when you switch to a webpage, so the shortcut is very important.
Workona also includes a handy Workspace Switcher, but I wish it presented the spaces in linear rather than horizontal view, for easier viewing. I trigger the switcher with a 4 Finger Swipe Left. I also use a 3 Finger Force Touch to trigger the Search Window.
I have also assigned finger gestures for triggering the save dialogue box, and for opening the Search Workona window, which allows for searching saved content in workspaces, as well as other integrated apps like Google Docs, Canva, and Amazon.
I have a few other finger gestures for navigating Vivaldi as well. Vivaldi for instance includes the pop-up search for finding recently opened web pages and shortcuts. I use a simple 3 Finger Click to trigger Vivaldi’s Quick Command feature.
Vivaldi is totally free. It makes its income from affiliate links via DuckDuckgo, Amazon, Bing, and other sites that you can choose to use while web browsing in Vivaldi. I use DuckDuckgo for the privacy features and to support Vivaldi.
How Do You Manage Tabs
There are other tab managers for Google Chrome, such as Toby, but Workona seems to fit my workflow needs the best. There’s definitely room for improvement for managing tabs, and hopefully, we’ll see more features forthcoming for Workona.
Let me know what works best for you for managing tabs and web-based projects.