Why have so few people heard of the magic Ctrl + Shift + T?

I know I’m not the only one who routinely clicks the “X” on a Chrome browser tab only when you meant to switch to it. We are all so happy to click in this multitasking world. But if I’m not particularly wise about cursor placement, it’s because I have a secret weapon up my sleeve: I know Ctrl + Shift + T has my back. And I honestly can’t believe more people don’t know about this keyboard shortcut gem.

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

Let’s find out how to use it, as well as all the other ways to get back lost tabs in any browser. And don’t miss our list of Best Windows 11 keyboard shortcutsThe Basic Mac keyboard shortcutsand a The Google Chrome trick that organizes all your tabs for 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 get back a single tab you closed by mistake is to use 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 if you need a tab you closed a while ago, just press Ctrl + Shift + T and your tabs will appear 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 everything Once. This is a great trick for those times when a system update forces you to close your browser or restart your computer completely.

2. Browser history method

Chrome browser history also keeps track of your recently closed tabs. It’s not as fast as keyboard shortcuts, but this method is useful if you closed the tab a long time ago and need to get back to it.

There are several ways to access your browser history in Chrome. One way is to use another shortcut: Ctrl + H. Another is to click on the hamburger menu in the upper right corner of the browser, then select Date. And the third option is to type “chrome://history” into your address bar, then press Enter.

However you access your browser history, once there you will have access to all the websites and tabs you viewed in reverse chronological order. Clicking on a result will reopen it for you. Going through the hamburger menu also has a built in list of Recently closed Tabs, which you can select to reopen.

Chrome logo on laptop screen

Angela Lang/CNET

Read more: 11 Chrome features you’ll wish you knew

3. Tab search method

Have you ever noticed the little arrow pointing down in Chrome’s tab bar? In Windows, you’ll find it next to the icons for minimizing, maximizing, and closing a window. (On a Mac it’s in the top right.) This icon is Chrome’s built-in tab search feature, which itself can be accessed with a simple keyboard shortcut: Ctrl + Shift + A. Tab search shows you a list of all currently open tabs, and another list of recently closed tabs. You can scroll through the menus to reopen or switch to the desired tab, or use the search bar to find it using a keyword. This comes in handy for those who keep dozens of tabs open at all times.

4. The taskbar method

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

Bonus: The “pick up where you left off” method

There’s a Chrome setting that basically makes Ctrl + Shift + T the default. With this feature turned on, every time you open Chrome, the browser will automatically reopen the tabs you had open in your previous session. To turn it on, go to Chrome settings (also through the hamburger menu), then On the way out. Select a file Continue where you left off Selection.

What about other browsers, such as Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Opera?

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

For both Firefox and Microsoft Edge, you can also look at your browser history to find and reopen a tab you closed by mistake. Firefox has a dedicated submenu under Date Call Pages closed a while ago. Microsoft Edge has a tab Date existing everybodyAnd the Recently closed And the tabs from other devices. In Opera, if the sidebar is enabled – and if the history is one of the items you’ve chosen to include in the sidebar – click Date An icon from the sidebar will also pull up a list of your recently closed tabs.

Other browsers also offer a setting to automatically reopen previous session tabs on startup. In Firefox, go to settings > general Check the box below start Named Open previous windows and tabs. In Microsoft Edge, go to settings > Start, home, and new tabs and under When EdgeDetermine Open tabs from the previous session. And in the opera: settings > On the way outthen check the box for Keep tabs from the previous session.

For more information, check out The best features of Google ChromeIncluding How to mute a noisy browser tab. Plus, Change browser settings to improve privacy And the Browser extensions that will save you money when shopping online.

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