I would like to use some apps (other than terminal) with tabs, like in MacOS, allowing easy navigation, instead of the need to click a ton of buttons to go from window to window. Not alt+tab, just damn tabs like the internet browser tabs.

enter image description here

EDIT: My main wanted scenario is to use this feature with IntelliJ. There's a post where author was told how to enable it on macos https://stackoverflow.com/questions/65397429/how-to-open-projects-as-tabs-in-intellij

  • 1
    If "some apps" have this capabilities, then use them.
    – Pilot6
    Feb 1 at 12:18
  • Can you give some examples of apps that you'd like to do this? I think it's probably app specific rather than an Ubuntu thing. Nautilus (the file explorer) can do this (right-click on a folder and select 'open in new tab'); similarly, the default text editor opens new documents in a new tab. As you know, Firefox and other browsers do it. What apps are you wanting to use that don't emulate this behaviour?
    – Will
    Feb 1 at 12:35
  • I'm looking to use it with intelliJIdea primarily/ Feb 2 at 13:59

1 Answer 1


The simple answer to this is it is an app-specific feature. Many of the native and installable apps in Ubuntu support it, but some don't.

Nautilus (the file explorer) supports: right-click on the folder you want in a tab and select 'Open in new tab' (or you can hit Ctrl - Enter

The default text editor in Ubuntu automatically opens new files in a new tab.

All internet browsers that I've used, including the default Firefox, allow tabs in the usual way.

Gimp (graphical editor) opens new images in a sort of tab - there's a thumbnail image at the top to toggle between the selected file.

The major omission is LibreOffice which does not support tabs (for any of its features - ie Writer, Calc, Impress and Draw. It looks from this 2-year-old forum answer https://ask.libreoffice.org/t/opening-multiple-files-in-tabs-optional-function-or-extension/61520 that it's been requested several times previously but not implemented - so that's probably the main one that will cause annoyance, and I doubt it'll be introduced if it hasn't already. I don't know if other open source / free office suites offer this option but please post back here if you find out.

  • I think the OP meant to have different applications in different tabs of a single window, rather than tabs with different documents within a particular application. That would have to be a WM feature, I don't know if there is any WM supporting this.
    – raj
    Feb 1 at 13:53
  • @raj - good observation, thank you ... I think you're probably right - I don't think that's an option. Let's see if he / she clarifies. Thanks again.
    – Will
    Feb 1 at 18:20
  • Thanks for these examples guys. My search started because of intelliJ Idea in the first place, when I saw how easy one of my colleagues could navigate back and forward through a couple of projects. I can't remember more examples, but I'm sure I'll run in some apps that would benefit from that sooner or later. Feb 2 at 14:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.