For years and years, control-tab has been the key combination to switch to next tab. But not any more :-( With the trunk, hitting ctrl-tab now shows the very nice - but slow on old machines - tab preview dialog with genie efect. Fine with me if it still brings me to the next tab. But it does not ! I don't precisely understand what it does for the time being. Is it taking me to the next "unread" tab ? To the next in alphabetical order of the title ? I have no idea. There's only one thing I know : it's unusable because the result is unpredictable.  Dunno if it's a bug or it's on purpose. Please, ctrl-tab used to take me to next tab in tabbox and it should still do that. Just so you know, most average users probably don't know about ctrl-pageUp and ctrl-pageDown. Because it's alt-tab in windows to switch apps, they tried ctrl-tab in browsers. Conclusion : do not touch it.

Neil just told me on IRC it's supposed to be MRU, "Most Recently Used". Ah. Honestly, tastes more like "Magicly Repelling User-experience" to me... I did not get it at all. So what will the average user think ? If you have four tabs, two consecutive ctrl-tabs+release-keys-immediately makes firefox cycle between two tabs only since it goes to the most recently used... Impossible to understand for average users IMHO.

I think a change to a feature like ctrl-tab should not be so drastic. Second if really Firefox wants to offer a new user experience, it should be a pref turning on the new behaviour (and the corresponding UI in the prefs panel) but the old behaviour should remain the default.

jpb just told me on IRC that pref is browser.ctrlTab.mostRecentlyUsed... Just turn it to false to go back to normal (and predictable) behaviour. Already done here.


1. On Friday 26 September 2008, 11:45 by mef

Well, "most recently used" is actually how alt-tab usually work with windows, isn't it? So this just makes ctrl-tab work the same way ...

2. On Friday 26 September 2008, 11:54 by Jeria

I also turned it off.

Reasons for this is that it is confusing, slow and does not look native at all.

I fail to see the benefit of this.

I actually prefer Internet Explores tab overview...

3. On Friday 26 September 2008, 12:08 by RichB

Actually, Ctrl-tab is for switching between MDI child windows.

Then when tabbed child windows began taking over, the ctrl-tab key combination was reused.

Lately, Visual Studio (>=2005) and now Firefox 3.1 have redefined ctrl-tab to make it impossible to use.

4. On Friday 26 September 2008, 12:54 by Richard

See also:


5. On Friday 26 September 2008, 13:54 by Sébastien


LEFT = most recent used
RIGHT = least recent used

6. On Friday 26 September 2008, 14:34 by Boris

No opinions on the feature, but if you're going to use analogy to alt+tab task switching, then MRU should be the natural behavior: that's what alt+tab does,

7. On Friday 26 September 2008, 14:35 by Boris

Sébastien, those shortcuts are already in use quite often by window managers (e.g. desktop switching, including on Mac).

8. On Friday 26 September 2008, 15:03 by Nick

The new feature works like Alt-Tab in windows. Which makes sense to me. In addition, it's the same behavior as Ctrl-Tab in Komodo Edit and Visual Studio.

It seems to be pretty standard behavior. And once you understand what it's doing, it makes perfect sense.

9. On Friday 26 September 2008, 15:06 by Sébastien

Boris : i don't see why i shoudn't not have a feature because 1% of users have a "window desktop switch" ?
Maybe this could be handled by a user choice in preferences (alt, ctrl, cmd...).

10. On Friday 26 September 2008, 15:07 by Daniel Glazman

Whatever. I still think changing what we have been having for years is not a good idea ; offering the feature but not as the default seems to me a much better and less intrusive one.

11. On Friday 26 September 2008, 15:32 by David Smith

I very strongly disagree with the "controversial decision? make it a pref!" meme. Beyond the obvious cost of cluttering prefs, decreasing consistency, and increasing testing load, there's the hidden cost that it lets people add features without doing the (often very hard!) work of finding ways to make them appealing and usable.

The project I work on the most (Adium) fell into this trap several years ago, and we're still struggling with the aftereffects of it.

12. On Friday 26 September 2008, 17:11 by Brian P

There's also the Ctrl-PageUp/Down shortcut which still does what Ctrl-Tab & Ctrl-Shift-Tab used to do. Granted that's a different and strange shortcut to get used to.