Closed Bug 108938 Opened 19 years ago Closed 11 years ago

RFE: Close tab "X" should be on the actual tab


(SeaMonkey :: Tabbed Browser, enhancement)

Not set


(Not tracked)



(Reporter: zevious, Assigned: lorikaplan)




(Whiteboard: [adt2 rtm])


(1 file)

From Bugzilla Helper:
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:0.9.5+)
BuildID:    2001110703

The "X" to close the tab should be on the right side of each tab. That would be
less confusing then having the X on the far right.

Reproducible: Always
Steps to Reproduce:
1. Open Tabbed Browser.
2. See 'X' on right side

Actual Results:  One global 'X'.

Expected Results:  small 'X' on each tab
Attached image Example Tab
Kinda nice... smaller so it doesn't take up as much room as you'd think...not
sure what the deal is with the X though. 6th it wasn't there, 7th a global X is
Ever confirmed: true
I disagree with this one, because it would consume valuable 
space from each tab's title, which would be critical for
those of us who like to have lots of tabs open.  

The global X for "Close Other Tabs" is dangerous and should
probably prompt for confirmation (perhaps with an "always
warn me" checkbox, on by default), but that would be an
entirely separate RFE.  

I agree with Jonadab. One close button is enough.

If you need to close a non-active tab, right-click on it.
Target Milestone: --- → mozilla1.1
For the average enduser, a small x on each tab would be easier to use...
1. It should be left as an option -- one global X or on every tab.

2. I've got one reason for X on every tab -- you can close it with one click
even when it isn't active.
cc'ing marlon for UI design thoughts...
OS: Windows NT → All
QA Contact: blakeross → sairuh
Hardware: PC → All
I cast my opinion in the "X" per tab lot.

Many folks will be used to this from Lotus Notes, which also uses this sort of
UI. Also, the single "X" looks suspiciously like "close this tabs toolbar
(leaving only the current tab open)" and can be confusing to users who don't
already know what the "X" is for... it makes the function less discoverable.

Imagine your grandmother has started using tabs because someone showed her
how... only they didn't show her the "X" widget, they showed her keyboard
command to close a tab. She knows that the tab interface goes away sometimes
(when she only has one tab), and she knows that "X" icons in the upper right
close things (unless she's on a mac). The X may be very far away from her
current tab (if she's in the leftmost of eight tabs), and so she may not assume
that the X closes that tab way over on the left.

It would be perfectly reasonable for her to assume that the X closes the whole
tab interface, because it's in the upper right of that interface, not the upper
right of a single tab.

Suppose the way to close windows in Mozilla was to click an X in the upper right
corner of your entire monitor, rather than the upper right corner of the
specific window. Would you make the connection?

->marlon, for his opinion.

i think an 'X' on the tab itself would better, usability-wise. just my $0.02.
Assignee: hyatt → marlon
Keywords: nsbeta1
Target Milestone: mozilla1.1 → ---
Regarding the 'it would take too much space', we already have added the favicon
in the tab.
See also bug 117077 as an alternative.
I like having a single [X] because it means I can close a series of adjacent
tabs simply by clicking on it a few times without having to move my mouse or

If we do implement this then we must make sure both modes are available.
^W^W^W closes multiple adjacent tabs. The times when I want to use the mouse to
close tabs, it's for NON active tabs. Which now means right-click, wait, 'c'.
I think there should be two "tabb closing modes":

1) Show close icon for current tab only
This would put an "x" icon on the right side of the currently selected tab. 
This has the advantage over the global closetabb button in that it is much more
obvious which tab it affects.  It takes up less room than the current global
close tab button becuase the spacing on the left and right can tighter without
loosing meaning.  No extra vertical space is used as compared to bug 117077. 
Closeing many tabs without moving the mouse is lost, but that can easily be done
with keyboard shortcuts.  I think of all the lost functionality, this is the
most expendable because this is a power user problem that can be fixed with a
power users tool, keyboard shortcuts.

2) Show close icon for all tabs
This would put an "x" icon on the right side of all tabs.  This would allow tabs
to be closed without bringing the tab into focus.
> Imagine your grandmother has started using tabs because
> someone showed her how...

Imagine your grandmother has some difficulty precisely moving a mouse. If we put
a n 'x' on each tab its going to be so small to keep the tabs useful that it
will be hard for anyone with mobility difficulties to hit. (In your example pic
the 'x' is just under half the size of the current one, which equates to 1/4
area to hit.)
I vote we stick with what we've got.
hmm....i'd go with the one X for each tab.
How does the voting system work: popular vote or electoral college? :)

Anyways, no matter the outcome, the current X needs a tooltip telling you what
it does. Currently it doesn't have a tooltip yet
on my comment 15 , i think that's already filed as bug 113879
currently working on this question.. some would like to save space, and
accidental tab closings, by keeping it to the right cornet.  however, others
know that including it on the tab would make closing vast amounts of tabs alot
faster.  i will be posting a summary of all questions and hopefully some design
solutions soon.
Removing my vote for this after seeing how Opera handles MDIs (multiple document
interfaces) in Windows.

In Opera (as with all MDIs I've seen including Microsoft Word), there is an
outermost window with the titlebar at the top, then an inner window for each
"tab" with its own titlebar and mimimize, restore, and close buttons.  Each
"tab" appears like a button on a secondary bar at the bottom of the screen like
the Windows taskbar.

After seeing this, the current way makes sense. :-)

I would say, tho, that it would be nice if the "tabs" looked more like a
traditional MDI and the tabs could be shown at the bottom rather than the top as
an option (I don't think such an option currently exists).
I would not like this bug to be implemented.

Consider what happens when you have about 30 tabs open (more, depending on your

The X would take about 1/3 of the tab, which would cause the rate of misclick to
be too high. Users would start complaining a lot (see the "Ctrl+Q is too easy to
press by accident" bug for an idea), and it would make people slower (right now,
the worst that can happen is you click on the wrong tab; when the worst includes
closing the tab (or the tab to its left), people would take the time to be
*sure* the mouse isn't on the dreaded X).
I think X should be on the tab, having it at the end of the screen 
kinda sucks.   We should have this option togglable to keep the people 
that want the tab at the right side of the screen happy, too.
I disagree with this bug. Lotus Notes has this behavior with the close X button
on each tab. On the surface this seems like a good idea. However, the end result
is that it messes with muscle memory because there is no consistent place for
closing your current tab. A single consistently placed close button is better.
Users familiar with MDI apps will be familiar with the right side placement of
the close button. Moving the tabs to the bottom of the window would be more
consistent with other Windows apps such as HomeSite.
Tim Powell: RFE for ability to place tab bar on any side is already filled - bug
Opera doesn't do it.
NetCaptor doesn't do it.
Scope doesn't do it.

Mozilla shouldn't do it.

I can not come up with /one/ application (besides Lotus, which is mentioned
here), that has a seperate close-button for each tab.

One thing I can agree on, is that there should be a way of closing all the tabs
at once. There should ofcourse be a warning (pref) 'Do you really want to do
this' -sort of thing.

Just my $0.02
Having a closing "X" only on the active tab would resolve both the space issue
and the usability issue.  This would mean you could close the active tab by
clicking the "X", or close an inactive tab by right-clicking it and choosing
"Close Tab".

For those who like the current implementation better, this should be configurable.
regarding the recurring "muscle memory" argument in favor of having the single
'X' not on any tab (current implmentation)...

It's certainly true that muscle memory is a good thing, but it isn't always the
case that UI should play to muscle memory. For example, the same case could be
made that the 'X' icon (or your OS'es equivilant) should *not* be located on the
window which it will close. Instead, no window should have an 'X' icon, and
there should be a permanent 'X' icon in the corner of your monitor which would
close the front-most window. This takes better advantage of muscle memory and
doesn't force the user to have to aim for the "corner of the window" wherever
that window may happen to be positioned on their monitor.

In that case, I'd say most folks agree that users are used to having an 'X' in
each window. Maybe it *would* make since to just have one 'X' for all windows,
but users aren't used to it, and it violates expactations. So, user expectations
can be a counter consideration in determining whether or not to put an 'X' on
each tab.

regarding "how microsoft does it"... Some folks have pointed out that Windows
(at least most Windows versions... maybe XP is different; I've never used it)
allows you to minimize things to the taskbar. When you do this, the "tabs" do
not have close icons on them.

Granted. However, Microsoft doesn't necessarily think this is the best way to do
things. For example, open Word. Create/open a few documents. Minimize the open
documents within Word. In the version I'm using, the foreground minimized
document has three icons on it's "tab" and one of them is the "X". The other
"tabs" are large enough to accomodate their icons, but the icons are not visible
until you click the "tab" to foreground it.

So, Microsoft doesn't do things consistantly. This means that users are used to
inconsistancy on that platform. I don't think "how Windows does it" should be a
strong argument for *any* position in this argument.

I'm personally ok with just about *any* solution, but I fear that the "single
"x" on the right" is going to be very unfamiliar to most non-geeky users. On the
other hand, perhaps those users won't enable tabed browsing in the first place.

I like the recent suggestion of having the 'X' drawn on just the foreground tab
though. Sounds very user friendly.

I would recommend that whomever is writting the UI spec for this bug look at 
Galleon.  It allows the close icon to be located:

1) Active Tab Only
2) Every Tab

Try surfing with tabs using both configurations before making your final 
decission.  I have about a 50% tab close rate without ever looking at the page 
because of 404s or jscript popups or acidentaly opening a page I did not want.
An X on each tab makes this much easier to do as it only involves aiming 
correctly on the icon and clicking.  The current method requires that you aim 
on the tab, click using the alternate button, aim at a menu option and clicking.

I think users should be given an option as to location of close buttons, but 
that option should be between:

1) Every Tab
2) Active Tab

Problem is, does "Active Tab" mean putting the X on the tab or in the corner?  
I don't think we should give users 3 choices, as this increases the complexity 
of the choice and the coding required.  We must make the "hard" decission as to 
which was is better.
The X in the upper-right corner is definately the most confusing place to put
it.  It does appear that it would close the tab interface, not the current tab
you're on.

Putting the X only on the current active tab totally defeats the purpose of this
bug, which is to be able to close the INactive tabs without having to right
click on them.  It does, however, solve the current X placement issues.

Adding a pref for this just pushes the problem onto the end user, and a similar
discussion will then ensue about what the correct default action should be.

Arguments about space issues are relevant, but need to be tempered with the word
"reasonably".  You can't reasonably have 200 tabs open, so there's a limit to
how far the space/clutter issue can be taken.  

If we suspend for a moment the clutter issue, and just picture how things would
look with 2 or 3 tabs, which method makes the most *visual* sense?  Visually,
where should the X go to tell you which tab it belongs to?

IMO, without a doubt, it belongs on each tab.
in recent design sessions we've had, we've been leaning towards [x] on the right
end of the tab bar primarily because it leaves less room for accidental
closings.  there were several other derivative ideas which said perhaps if we
had tab focus, and multiple incontiguous tab selection then users could hit the
right hand side [x] to close multiple tabs at once - however we can't implement
multiple tab selection very easily at this point.  we're less concerned about
muscle memory because as has been noted here, if you compare tab contols to
window controls, there's no benefit.  users are accustomed to locating each
window and finding the close box.  

that said, i think it would be interesting to explore enabling the [x] only for
each active tab, and disabling it for background tabs.  that would alleviate
accidental closing much the same way windows do. closing would then require you
to select a tab and then hit the [x] in order to close it, still two clicks, but
you now have *greatly shortened the mousing distance* from tab to close button.
 this solution has not been brought up in design session yet, but i'll bring it
up if we think it solves more scenarios.
> it would be interesting to explore enabling the [x] only for each active tab

An interesting idea, but the sad fact is layout is way too slow for that,
currently. If I'm closing a background tab, that means I DONT want to view it. I
shouldn't have to click it, wait 0.75 seconds for it to render, then click the
'X', then have focus go to tab to the left (which is the wrong direction anyway,
but that's another bug (I think)). Then wait 0.75 seconds for that tab to
render, then click back to where I was, and have it render.

Remember, tab users are likely power users, and power users likely use keyboard
shortcuts. That means to close the active tab, they already just use accel+W. So
only having an X on the active is generally useless.

And to tell you the honest truth, I'm still quite a bit nervous every time I do
click the current X, wondering if maybe someone changed it back to closing the
whole tab bar again. It's in a way too ambiguous place.
Blocks: 128632
Approving the resolution of the issue. Must be resolved and implemented by end
of 1.o milestone. 
Keywords: nsbeta1nsbeta1+
Target Milestone: --- → mozilla1.0
does that mean "approving *some* (not defined) resolution, so long as there is
one", or "approving the resolution as defined in the bug summary", or "approving
resolution by first engineer to get working code together for their favorite
solution (or to stamp a WONTFIX on the bug)", or "approving the allocation of
time on the part of UI folks to make a decision on this matter ASAP so engineers
can code something up before 1.0"

... Just curious... 

see also Bug 129550

Whatever solution is implemented, there should be no close widget at all for
when there is only one tab (when user has selected in their prefs to show the
tabbed browser interface when there is only one tab).

Please excuse me if this has been mentioned before...

The primary arguement I'm hearing for placing an X on each tab is
the user is then able to close a tab that is not active with a
single click.  That can already be done with a middle-click.
also:                ______________
   ______________   /______________\   ______________    
  / Tab #1       \ // Tab #2 (fgnd)\\ / Tab #3       \                     [X]

In the above, tab #2 is in the foreground. A user sees an [X] way on the right.
Will that [X] close

    - the tab nearest it (#3)
    - the foreground tab (#2)
    - the tabs interface (effectively closing #3 and #1)

Once there's a tooltip added, this becomes less problematic. However, users may
still click the [X] without understanding what it does and end up loosing data
before they've read the tooltip. Until they've "experimented" a few times, they
won't know what the [X] does. Most users aren't going to experiment. They're
going to assume, and probably be upset when their assumptions are not correct.

If the [X] is on the tab, their assumptions will most likely match reality.

There was a proposal to put just one [X] on the active tab and not draw it on
the others. This is another way to solve the problem which would also obey the
principle of least suprise.

Marlon and Jag, what is the latest decision with this issue? I thought it was to
leave the "X" at the far right. Should we minus this bug at this point?
If anything, it should be moved to the currently active tab.  I'd really like to
always see an X on each tab, but that can be debated.  I don't think it can be
debated that where it is right now provides few clues as to what it does, and
thus, should be moved to at least the currently active tab.
I thought we had agreed on keeping the close box where it is.
Peter Annema: I don't see that there is much agreement at all.  If anything, it
seems to me as if most people are leaning towards moving the X to the active tab
only.  On the other hand I may be thinking that just because I'm the one who
suggested it ;-).
Johan: sorry, the "we" there was ambiguous. The "we" I meant was the group of
people who met recently to discuss the tab browser UI and what to try and
implement for Mozilla 1.0.
Please update this bug with an [adt1] - [adt3] impact rating (or take it off the
list if it doesn't even rate adt3.)  Thanks!
Before I had found this discussion, I wanted to suggest the Opera-like
behaviour for closing tabs: Shift-Left-Click.
After reading through the discussion, I think it would be useful
for new users/grandmothers if the current possibilities to close
a tab would be displayed in the context-menu of each tab: 
"Close Tab - Ctrl-W/Middle-Click".
... At least as long as the part "Closing Tabs" of the help is
still "[Content to be provided]" ;-)
Personally, I can perfectly live with the middle-click solution
(after I had found it) and don't need an 'X' for each tab.
Mac-users might think differently and prefer an Opera-like idea...
I suggest that, as in Galeon, the [X] button would appear in each tab, and it
would be possible to set it to work only on the current tab.
Comment 34 makes the most sense to me. Should this bug be split, another created
explicitly for those who think X on every tab would be the most appropriate
[default] behavior? This summary is ambigous as to whether the X should be on
every tab or on only the active tab.
Please, let's not have any prefs for this feature. Just the feature. :-)
Sheesh can we get this feature all ready?  X on the active tab is the way to go.
A screen shot of Galleon's xs on all tabs:
<> - the liquid width is also good.

How about checkboxes - allowing both xs on the tab and/or on the right (visually
connected to the open tab like rfe bug 117077 suggests). This allows users to
close inactive tabs oneclick, and/or close many tabs with the current x on the
right without aiming. It also allows users to not have visual xs for tabs.

I think xs on all tabs should be the default - tabs won't be a feature for savvy
users only.

Oh, and middle button tab closing is lovely.
There seems to be enough disagreement about this that it should be a user pref.
 Personally, I would like to have an X on each tab (though this wouldn't matter
as much to me if middle-clicking to close a tab worked properly - Bug 107147),
and I think that should be the default since it probably would be the most
intuitive for new users.
This should not be a pref. We should either do it or not, but it should not be a
pref. We have too many prefs already.
The reason for prefs is because a single behavior cannot please everyone. If X
on every tab is to be the default behavior, there better be an option to have it
on only the active tab, because there isn't room for one on every tab of those
who don't have teensy tab title fonts and/or typically have many tabs open at once.
Making it a pref solves nothing, and only pushes the issue on to the user to
sort out.  That's not a good thing, and it doesn't actually solve the issue.

I don't think anyone can argue that it *has* to change from the current
position.  It makes absolutely no sense there whatsoever.  It seems that
everyone at least agrees it should be on the currently active tab.  So let's put
it there already.

The question of whether it should also be on inactive tabs can be debated in a
separate bug.
Brian, not everyone agrees it should move. 

  I don't.
  Comment 11 doesn't.
  Comment 14 doesn't.
  Comment 18 doesn't.
  Comment 19 doesn't.
  Comment 21 doesn't.
  Comment 23 doesn't.
  Comment 28 doesn't.
  Comment 37 doesn't.

Those comments all have valid reasons. All in all, three things seem to be proposed:

   1) The status quo. Leave it where it is.
   2) Put it on the active tab.
   3) Put it on all tabs.

The all have significant support. They all depend on how the person uses the
browser, the user, etc. For heaven's sake, we have a place to set the browser's
accept-encoding! Don't tell me we can set, in exposed preferences, things few
people have any clue about, but can't allow the user to set the visible
interface between himself and the browser; that's absurd.

"Making it a pref solves nothing, and only pushes the issue on to the user to
sort out." is flat-out wrong. Letting the user decide how _he_ wants to use the
browser is _not_ a problem. If he does not care, then he'll leave the default.
If he does care, he'll change it. It is a good thing.

[ Sorry for debating in the bug. The inaccuracy was really ticking me off. ]
I'd love to see this one... Galeon also has it, it's way better that way, 
Galeon's tabbed browsing is better anyways. 

"One of the unmistakable pluses in Galeon is that it has, far and away, the 
best tabbed browsing functionality out there. One would think that since this 
is a Gecko-based piece of software that relies on Mozilla for seemingly 
everything, that the functionality would be the same. Not so. With Galeon, you 
can set your preferences such that new tabs open next to the tab you're 
currently in, instead of at the end of the line of tabs. Setting up this way 
has the effect that if you're browsing Slashdot and click to open a link in a 
new tab, you can close the tab when you're done and you're back on the Slashdot 
page. I couldn't find this option anywhere in Mozilla or Opera, and Konqueror 
isn't competing in the tabbed-browsing area yet. Without this option, you can 
still open articles in a new tab, but closing that tab puts you at the next tab 
in line instead of at the page you linked from. 

Another very cool tab feature is the ability to click and drag tabs along the 
tab bar to rearrange your tabs however you want. Speaking of click-and-drag - 
you can also click on a link and drag it up to the tab bar, and voila! A new 
tab opens up and displays the page pointed to by the link! Nice! To close out 
the tabbing area with a minor but still very cool feature, you can set Galeon 
up to place a 'close' icon (the little 'x') on EVERY tab, instead of just 
having a single 'x' all the way on the right of the tab bar. This ability is 
missing from Mozilla, and it's an annoyance." (Source:
op=modload&name=Reviews&file=index&req=showcontent&id=5 )

"This should not be a pref. We should either do it or not, but it should not be 
a pref. We have too many prefs already"

I think it SHOULD be a pref, and activated by default. The more prefs the 
better I'd say.
I have been asked to smack some people around in this bug, namely those wanting
a pref, and it is my pleasure to do so. Having a pref for this would be utterly
stupid, almost as stupid as trying to get the average grandmother to use tabbed
browsing (which would constitute cruel and unusual punishment of an elderly
person). That all the options proposed (X at the end, X in the current tab, X in
every tab) have serious drawbacks is just a symptom of tabbed browsing; it is
not evidence for or against a pref, since a pref would solve exactly zero of the
problems. Finally, comparing prefs UI with Galeon is not a good idea if you want
to be taken even slightly seriously.

Having said all that, whether there is a pref is completely off-topic for this
bug, since there would then be an identical discussion about what the default
should be. Having a pref is bug 108941, which is VERIFIED WONTFIX. And if you
reopen it, or file a duplicate of it, I shall mock you a second time.
I vote for putting a SMALL X on each tab. That is the less confusing way for
ALL. The amount of space used on the tab is small and it's only a problem when
you open a bunch of tabs. Another bug should be filed to fix that issue as tabs
should be multi-lined when there are too many open. Such as Textpad does.
Besides, when you currently open too many tabs, the current X AND side scrollbar
get pushed "off the screen". (I don't recall the bug number right now for that one.)

Bottomline, this bug was filed *6* months ago and the discussion is STILL going
This could be argued for 3 more years without everyone agreeing on how it should
be. I think ONE of the options needs to be choosen and implemented. Another bug
can be filed later to change the behavior...
Re comment 53:

Who are you? Who gave you the orders? Were you ordered to be a disrespectful
mocker as well as a respondant? Why must one not mention Galeon in order to be
taken seriously?

Bug 108941 is marked verified invalid, not verified wontfix, and, except for the
person who filed it, is a clear case of people showing how big a jerk each can be.

The discussion here makes it clear that the status quo leaves something to be
desired. In contrast, I've seen no persuasive argument against moving the close
icon to the active tab from its current location.
I want X on the tab!! Pref or not!!!
rule #2: know thy enemy.
see User Interface Design

indicates galeon has not yet managed to make it into the hall of shame. it 
probably relates to the fact that the page hasn't been updated in two years.

offhand is the closest to what we have 
in mozilla or galeon (or mozilla with the galeon options). 

keep in mind that we have bugs requesting overflow behavior. and adding x's to 
each tab will make that bug even more common. i have to admit that i think you misjudged this bug, 
but since you touched it, i'm going to make sure you benefit from all the 
wonderful comments.
Assignee: marlon → lorikaplan
From an IRC debate:

I completely agree with MPT and others about NOT introducing another browser
option just because we don't want to do the hard work of thinking about the
problem and deciding on a single best case solution.  With that said, here is
what we came up with:

I think the first debate should be on the desired qualities of this interface in
such a way that is not biased toward any specific solution. Please comment if
there is an item missing.  The desired functionality of the close button(s) for
the tabbar is as follows:

1) Intuitive interface
2) The button(s) should decrease, as little as possible, the amount of text/tabs
that the tab bar can display.
3) Easy to close multiple tabs quickly and easily with no/little mouse movement.
4) Non-Active tabs need to be closeable without making them active.

Given the above goals, the solution we put forward is to put a closing "x"
button only on the active tab.  I will explain how I believe this meets each one
of the above goals.

1) I believe the close button on the tab is more intuitive than the only other
proposed suggestion that I know of, which is the current interface with the
close button on the far right.  This opinion is based upon earlier discussion in
this bug and my own personal experience.

2) Putting the "x" only on the active tab will use up no more space than the
current method of placing the "x" on the far right.  It will probably use less
space since the padding on the left and right of the "x" can be less than it is
currently without losing the meaning of what the button does.  It also uses less
space than putting the "x" on each tab for obvious reasons.  

3)  This problem depends on bug 131037, wich proposes to change the tab focus
order from next tab to the left to the more appropriate next tab to the right. 
Once/if that change is made, placing your cursor in the middle of the currently
active tab and clicking the middle mouse button N times, without moving it, will
 close the next N-1 tabs to the right as well as the current tab. If the closing
order is NOT changed, then <a href="">making the tabs fill
the entire space of the tab bar</a>, would allow the user to place the pointer
in the middle of the last tab and click the middle mouse button N times without
moving and close the right-most N tabs.

4) Middle clicking on a non-active tab closes the tab without changing the focus
away from the active tab.
Bug 131037 only proposes to make the behavior in comment 58 (3) one of several
options, and not the default.
A possible compromise: Is it possible to have different themes put the tab
                       close box in different places?

Themes are our UI pref, after all.
Yes, themes can control this a little -- certainly the size, whether the button
is to the left or right (or top or bottom), and whether the button appears on
the active tab or all tabs are skin things. Whether it appears on the tabs or
whether it appears at the end like now is not.
I suspect this is a bad idea, but....I will throw it out anyways.

Could an 'x' be added to every tab and at the end of the tab bar?  Then official
mozilla themes could 'display: none' the ones they find abhorrent.  This would
allow theme designers to implement at least all three major designs discussed
above.  This would not create any extra preference hell either.

My reservations of this idea would be increased complexity for mozilla themes,
and possible performance ramifications.  Also my knowledge of themes is weak, so
perhaps this isn't even possible.

If I had my vote on mozilla behavior I would vote to put 'x' on active tab as I
thought (until I tried it a few minutes ago) that the current 'x' killed all
tabs.  I was using right click to kill individual tabs (which as a solution
works for me even though there is no visual affordance).
we're looking at this issue in usability this week. Then we'll have some data to
kick around instead of relying on opinions and suspicions. More to come. Need to
resolve the issue for MachV RTM (even if only in the commercial tree...) because
the feature in commercial will have lots of visibility and press. 
Whiteboard: [adt2 rtm]
Double-click the tab to close it.

This is very fast to learn, though there is not much visual clue.
Why not make the favicon on the tab the close button as well that way the close
button wont take up any extra space...
> Why not make the favicon on the tab the close button as well
> that way the close button wont take up any extra space...

Because the favicon does not look like a close button. Users won't try to use it
like one, and they'll think there is no close button. Worse, the favicon looks
like the bookmark proxy for the tab, and so folks are likely to try to try to
use it as a bookmark proxy. They'll click on it in the hopes bookmarking the
tab's URL and instead see the tab close. That wouldn't be good.

User interface should be at least consistant and discoverable. That would not be
consistent with other close boxes or with other favicon uses, and The user
wouldn't have any way of discovering the purpose of the favicon-as-close-box
other than by loosing their window when they didn't want to.

Hm, interesting, but you all seem to forget one thing. That X should be
displayed on the tab _only_ if you hover the mouse over it _and_ it should
replace the favicon, or site icon, and _not_ be place anywhere else on the tab,
and this is exactly how MultiZilla handles this in the next release :-)

Oh, one other thing, there should _always_ be a way to enable/disable this feature!

Why? a) it consumes space and b) it's just way to small.

note: a lot of MultiZilla features are already implemented, so why not this one?
Just look at all RFE's, it's just _plain_ MultiZilla what people wnat/like!

/HJ (FIRST tabbed UI for mozilla based browsers EVER)

See also bug 117077 (about making the X connected to the right hand side of the
active tab). I think that is a better solution. BTW - it needs to be comfirmed.

I recommend this one be marked WONTFIX in favor of that one.
IIRC, initial usability tests showed no difficulty in discovering how to close
tabs. This issue is one of convenience or performance in closing tabs, which  I
think needs a more in-depth follow-up study to test the various approaches under
common scenarios.  I don't think we need to change this in a hurry, nor should
we do so without further usability tests.  Removing plus for re-triage.  This
should also be assigned to Jag.
Keywords: nsbeta1+nsbeta1
I just saw the X for the first time. I had 3 tabs open. I was afraid to click it
as I thought it might close all of the tabs, although I rationalized that the X
on the browser would really do that. 

So once I wasn't doing something important I then tried the X and found it
closed the tab in front. But I really wondered why the X wasn't on the
tab...which is how I find myself here in bugzilla typing this.

Your confusion is likely to be common. However, one of the primary (IMHO)
distinctions between those comfortable using computers and 'everyone else' is
that we poke around to see what things do while 'everyone else' fears that
they'll destroy their computer if they touch the wrong thing.

You figured out what the 'X' did, but you're right in thinking that it's not
clear. Many users won't figure it out.

See also bug 113879 (need a tooltip for that button) which would be a good
short-term fix until this bug is taken care of.

Somebody change the target milestone seems like we wont have this feature soon..
re comment #71 you are right: I did hold my pointer over the X like a patient dog.
Why not do what Opera does? Shift+Click on the tab to close it.

1) Easy to close many background tabs without first bringing to foreground.
2) Does not take up space
3) Easy transition for Opera users

You can still use the X button to close the current tab. This can be done currently using the middle mouse button.
If you use middle button, you:

a) close the tab,
b) paste your clipboard to a current tab...
c) ...what results in either:
   - ugly requester
   - current page being changed.

Not so good.
I'm sorry, but the wheel in my system is set via mouse driver to double-click
and it does not close the tab in moz. We need a shortcut key + click.
Hi, Eugene I recently started using ctrl-w to close tabs, its really fast/easy..
try it a few times... :)
This bug is about the visual location of the X, not about all the methods one
could possibly use to close a tab.  A visual indicator is desireable in addition
to a hotkey or mouse button.

If you want this feature, it should be in a new/different bug - though there is
already a hotkey (ctrl-w) and a context menu option to close a tab.
Blocks: 153674
Though it has been stated repeatedly, I really haven't seen a compelling argument
why this behavior should not be a pref.  The real issue is what the default
behavior should be -- and based on comments, an X on the active tab only is the
most logical default.  I think most agree that an X on the active tab vs. an X at
far right is generally superior.

The correct design decision, as I see it, *is* to grant a pref for this -- either X
on active, or X on all tabs.  As long as an intelligent default is agreed upon,
this does not push the problem onto the end user -- since the only end users who
will even venture into Prefs->Tabbed Browsing are those who might desire such
an option. 

Everyone else will stick with the default behavior, and those who want every
tab to have an X will be permitted to have it. Likewise, those who are concerned
about (lack of) precision mousing and unintentionally closing inactive windows
can choose to keep the pref at its default.

Having this pref is the solution -- because both camps can be satisfied, and
grandmothers will never know what they're missing.  The concern seems to be that
by adding another pref, we add complexity to the UI, and/or "we're doing the
Right Thing by making the user's mind up for them".  The complexity argument is
hardly compelling; if that is so, perhaps we should drop tabs altogether! 

And the Right Thing is really to do that which accommodates the greatest number of
users in the best possible way. Forcing the user to use just one or the other
behavior works counter to this ideal; granting a pref for it works in favor of

Furthermore, middle-click is decidedly unintuitive; only the determined web
surfer will ever uncover this handy little shortcut (and assuming they've GOT a middle button). Same holds true for (installing new) themes.

An option in prefs to put X's on all tabs would at least make this functionality
(closing inactive tabs) visible and available to your typical semi-savvy computer
user (who are the only ones who'd probably care for such a feature anyway).

If anyone has a real compelling (and reasoned) argument why this pref should not
exist, please comment! I think the benefits of having it have been well
documented in this and prior comments; and the large number of contrary opinions
clearly indicate that there *is* no one solution that is going to please everybody
here. Consequently, I say the solution is to implement such a pref -- then everyone
can be happy, even grandma.

My 2 cents:
       1. X on active tab only and add a tooltip.
       2. Implement CTRL/SHIFT/ALT + a mouse button for power users.
ok, i have an argument against putting the x on each tab. bug 153674.
 don't have time to read through the whole thread...
 but to statisfy those who want an 'x' -- what about
 right-clicking the favicon to close a tab?
 would also help those who don't have a wheel-mouse.
We already have the capability of closing a tab by right clicking or middle
clicking. That's not the point, the point is to make it easier for grandma to
figure out...
No, that's not the point.  AFAIK, we have no evidence of problems figuring out
how to close tabs.
Joel Thornton in Comment #80 claims that
``X on the active tab only is the most logical default.  I think most agree that
an X on the active tab vs. an X at far right is generally superior.''

I agree that an X on the active tab makes it obvious that it closes only the
active tab. The (current) X floating by itself to the right of all the tabs is a
bit mysterious.

On the other hand, when I have lots of tabs open, I find myself randomly
clicking between them to find some page. I will be really, really annoyed if I
have lots of tabs open (so many that all I see in the tabs is ``...''), and
trying to find one particular half-remembered page causes that page (or any
other page) to close.

Putting the X only at the far right has this advantage: it's impossible to
accidentally close tabs while flipping through them, as long as I stay away from
the right edge.

As others have already said, implementing bug 117077 (visually connecting the X
on the right to the current tab) makes that X on the right less mysterious.

David Cary
Re comment #75. The middle mouse button should NEVER close a window. Nor should 
there be an "X" on the tab. Both are asking for people to accidentally close 
the window. Both are bad UI design. CCing Mathew Thomas.

I still believe this bug should be marked WONTFIX and bug 117077 should be 
worked on.

No, we shouldn't bloat the prefs with useless things like this. If you want it 
to appear in prefs.js, you can write the code, create an XPI and post it on a 
site. I don't think this should appear in the regular Mozilla code.

Please flog me if I am wrong, but I don't believe there is any intention of 
every fixing this bug.
Closed: 18 years ago
Resolution: --- → WONTFIX
I agree with the WONTFIX. The reason I didn't mark it so myself was to give Lori
or one of her team a chance to look more closely into this.  stated:

"Though it has been stated repeatedly, I really haven't seen a 
compelling argument why this behavior should not be a pref."

2 compelling reasons are: excess code bloat and development time.
>2 compelling reasons are: excess code bloat and development time.

yah.. those 2 reasons apply to any change to mozilla. ;) is there really a lot of
work involved in adding the x to the tab?  if the developers put as much effort into
this feature (as a pref..) as they did arguing against it, everyone would be happy
and we wouldn't have to keep wasting time debating this feature.  go figure?
For all people who really like to see this in action, download MultiZilla The next release should be ready any day now.

note: it has been confirmed to work in Windows and Linux. Mac has yet to be
solved but I don't have one here, so that's a bit of a pain in the bud right now.
*** Bug 175044 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
I take back _ALL_ the pro-x-on-tab stuff I said in the past because I got a 3
button mouse and the 3rd button closes the tab.  Who woulda thought.  quit
bitchin' and get a 3 button mouse! :)

I was the one who submitted <a
href="">175044</a>. I have to
comment on the last comment:

I also have a mouse with 3 buttons. The middle button for me is primarily for
pasting, secondly for mouse gestures.

The question of where to close a tab is a question of straighforward simplicity.

I habe used Mozilla since early 0.8.x . I don't know if it had tabs in these
days. I was very happy with the versions of 0.9x where Mozilla started to get
much quicker. I had the impression that Mozilla was the best browser (whick I
believe Gecko still is). This was until I used Galeon and saw a lot of elegant
solutions. I am not a developer. Maybe Galeon misses some intelligence of
Mozilla - but one thing for me is clear: The invention of a closing "X" on a tab  
is very beautiful! I also do know people who right now have not found the
closing "X" in Mozilla. This closing "X" reminds me on Acrobat Reader and other
applications,where it  closes one window, not the program. For tabs it could
logically not be in the same position.

I am very much "pro" for the "X" on the tab because I use tabs excessively (6-7
tabs at a time) and it costs 2-3 seconds more on my system (300 MhZ,256 MB,
Linux) to open a tab, wait for the display and than pressing the X. I do have to
move to TWO different locations to close a tab - and I have to wait on Mozilla.
And I can not keep reading a page while closing another (two different actions,
why a re they linked together?). In taslklists under Gnome and windows we also
can close applications whithout bringing them to the front.

On Galeon I am just closing the tab and that's it: One action, one result. Very

So as this is important for me, the fact taht this bug in the future leeds to my
decision to not using Mozilla any more. Galeon had the disadvantage that it
lacks behind in development but I spare hours while using it in months!

I am not reopening this, I am just not using Mozilla any more.

Blocks: 188583
*** Bug 203935 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
The X for closing tabs will be in a similiar place as it would be for an MDI 
(Multi-document-interface) and having it on the actual tabs is a bad idea. It 
means more issues for layout, and also will become an issue when too many tabs 
are open. The KISS approach is to have it in the upper right corner. Its 
really not a big deal, you will be able to close a tab much faster still, 
without the risk of an accidental closure of the tab when you are simply 
trying to activate it.
*** Bug 215637 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
*** Bug 222413 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
*** Bug 243866 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
*** Bug 247082 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
veeeeeeeeery funny, guys! 

Tabbed browsing is the one feature that is written most about, and as a 
usability engineering expert, I reject the single-close-box-way-out-somewhere 

BTW I was one of the many guys who filed an enhancement request (#249915), 
which has been marked as duplicate. but not of this bug, instead of #243866.....
Even if bug 250251 is fixed (allowing you to scroll the tabbar so they don't
become too small), we still will have the issue that you can click an X
accidentally. Also, too many Xs in a program confuse the user (even me on
unfamiliar programs). Therefore, this bug is going to stay WONTFIX. See also bug
117077 about improving the visual association between the X and the current tab.

Gernot: A duplicate chain is alright, and better than the bugspam it would take
to change all the dupes to the correct bug. Btw, please write bug #s in the form
of bug 243866 so a link appears.
Folks, I have an idea. Why don't we make a research with users. What about the
Mozilla foundation letting users test different kinds of ergonomy. This issue
could be one of many controversial topics.

I am not against, If I am the only one that can cope better with "multiple-X".

We should think about an ergonomy test. For simplicity the testing users should
be familiar with tabs. One half of the users should test the "one-X"-browser,
the others the open with the "multiple-X". They should have the task to close a
specific tab.

I just can say I have NEVER clicked on a closing X with Epiphany ONCE. So I
strongly believe from my experience, that the argument, that this COULD happen
is not a very strong one.

But I really think we should not discuss such issues with our believes, but with
facts. And I do not have the facts, but only my experience, so does you.

I may makle my own test with the few people that I know. But "Mozilla Ergonomy"
should be handled professional.

We all want Mozilla to be top in ergonomy, do we (this includes the fact, that
different users prefer different handling).

Can anybody forward this suggestions to people wo can make such ergonomy tests?

thank you.

Thilo: Whether or not you have clicked on a closing X, its bad UI because it
confuses novice users and it allows for someone who is not handy with the mouse
to accidentally close their tabs. Its also an accessibility issue for people
with diseases that make make it hard to be precise with where they click.

Mozilla doesn't have a department dedicated for ergonomics testing. It has a UI
team and they are very busy. A lot of testing is handled outside the core
developers by patchmakers and third party people, but what we generally rely on
is research on testing done by corporations and academia. 

Anyway, you can probably make an extension that will add the X and put it up on
Mozdev if its really important for you.
Many novice users will probably not use Firefox on a PC, they will use whatever 
is installed by default, which is IE. Why not make Firefox a good browser for 
the people who use it? You might be able to make an extension to place the 
close button on the tab, but if I need extensions to get decent behavior, why 
should i use Firefox? If you don’t believe that people could handle the close 
button on the tab, there could be a question regarding this when you use 
Firefox for the first time after installation.

Right now, you are doing all your work in the left side of the screen, but when 
you want to close a tab, you have to move your mouse all over to the right hand 
side, and then back again. This button is placed in the worst possible place.
Well about Novice users I must say I showed tabbed browsing to some novice
users, but novice users never use tabs! They also prefer one window at the time,...

I suppose the same with people with disabilites. Tabs are just for advanced
users who want to use multiple websites at a time.
Bring this issue to the Mozillazine forums and 
then you can attach discussion summaries and link to the discussion here. 
Bugzilla is not a discussion forum. We know some people want an "X" on their 
tabs. Thanks for the input.

An "X" does not a decent browser make. It is your opinion(s) that this is a 
necessary feature. Implementing this without having it backed by a hidden 
preference would make a lot of people angry. A core developer is not going to 
work on this when there are a lot of more important bugs in the eyes of the 
community and we are looking at Firefox 1.0 being released soon. If you want 
this to be a pref-based option (by default off), then please write an 
extension, or patch and then we can reconsider the issue.

>Right now, you are doing all your work in the left side of the screen, but 
>when you want to close a tab, you have to move your mouse all over to the 
>right hand side, and then back again. This button is placed in the worst 
>possible place.

Right click, choose "Close Tab". Why do you do all your work on the left side 
of the browser?

Supporting both power users and novice users is the intention of Firefox. Of 
course, this bug isn't specifically for Firefox.


Tabs will be added to IE in Windows XP SP2. Therefore, novice users will learn 
about them.
(In reply to comment #108)

> Right click, choose "Close Tab". Why do you do all your work on the left side 
> of the browser?

If I have 8 or 9 specific tabs that I want to close I surely hate to use the
right-click. And an option for a non-active tabulator is much mor complicated
than just an "X".
> Thilo:
> Tabs will be added to IE in Windows XP SP2. Therefore, novice users will learn 
> about them.

Wrong. My father always used Linux and Mozilla browsers. And he never uses Tabs,
as so many other people I know that started with Mozilla. Tabs ARE and advanced
concept, there is no doubt about that. Also a "right-click" is often too much
for users. That's why Apple once only had one-button mice. Every simple action
should be available through simple left click - other advanced option
(properties, printing selction ,...) can be accessible thorugh a right click.
But one should not expect users to know how to handle the right button of the
mouse (this just from my experience with novice users).
Certainly clicking "8 or 9" times on tiny little "X" marks takes more time and
attention then right-clicking anywhere on a much much bigger target, and hitting
"c"? Or left-clicking and hitting ^W. You can even hold it down to close a bunch
in a row.

Dropping off of the Cc list, I've heard enough whining. Mozilla ships with the
least dangerous choice, as it should.
after I started using ctrl+W to close tabs it made me wonder why the hell I even
voted for this bug in the first place.

(In reply to comment #110)
> Certainly clicking "8 or 9" times on tiny little "X" marks takes more time and
> attention then right-clicking anywhere on a much much bigger target, and hitting
> "c"? Or left-clicking and hitting ^W. You can even hold it down to close a bunch
> in a row.
> Dropping off of the Cc list, I've heard enough whining. Mozilla ships with the
> least dangerous choice, as it should.

for all those reading the bug report, this extension will probably help you:
(done by Stephen Clavering, cheers!)

My summary of the bug report and all its additional comments is:
- this bug is not a matter of just doing work to make it better
- some people want it this way, some want it the other way
- simply closing this bug with WONTFIX is a mistake, this needs discussion and 
- the answer "hey you can write a plugin that does everything you wants" is 
inappropriate for end users (they might not be developers)
- some people mistake version A or version B for the holy grail and defend 
their position with blood in this bug report

So what's the conclusion:


There is a great extension for tab browsing preferences (at ), and there should 
definitely be a checkbox "close button on each tab".
(And when this is on, the close button on the far-out-right side should 

BTW Look at the behaviour of the Eclipse IDE, which is the optimum for me:
- each tab has a separate close button
- the close button is only visible for the active tab
- when you roll the mouse over an inactive tab, its close button becomes visible
- the close button is separated by a white line from the tab title
Thank you for the extension details.

Right, there will never be a consensus. WONTFIX doesn't mean that this is not
possible, but that its something that won't be supported internally at this
time. There are many issues with Xs on tabs, including that the minimum tab
width is too small. This is the kind of thing extensions are for, and you really
should use them when they are available and supply a feature you want.

I suggest you focus your energy on promoting and improving these extensions. If
not, then please discuss this on the Mozillazine Forums.
*** Bug 261907 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
*** Bug 269941 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
*** Bug 276511 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
*** Bug 280164 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
*** Bug 289184 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
(In reply to comment #113)
> Thank you for the extension details.
> Right, there will never be a consensus. WONTFIX doesn't mean that this is not
> possible, but that its something that won't be supported internally at this
> time. There are many issues with Xs on tabs, including that the minimum tab
> width is too small. This is the kind of thing extensions are for, and you really
> should use them when they are available and supply a feature you want.
> I suggest you focus your energy on promoting and improving these extensions. If
> not, then please discuss this on the Mozillazine Forums.

This was said about the drag and drop moving of tabs at one time, which is why I
am voting to add this in with the option to turn on or off. The extension is
maybe 2-4k in size, most of which is probably due to the extension itself, and
maybe a tiny bit is the actual code needed to add this small but VERY useful bit
to the browser.

Please add the "X", undo, and duplicate tab functions.
Someone in charge please remove my comment #20 from this list, im sick of
getting this ****!
thank you.
(In reply to comment #120)
> Someone in charge please remove my comment #20 from this list, im sick of
> getting this ****!

You are recieving emails because you voted for this bug and your bugmail
settings are set to recieve email for bugs you voted for. Please change your
bugmail settings or remove your vote. In future ask these questions somewhere
else (forums/irc etc..) not on the bug itself.

Sorry to the others for the spam.
Here is the code from the "Tab X" extension (as best I can tell):

  <?xml version="1.0" ?> 
- <bindings id="tabx-bindings" xmlns=""
- <!--  The binding is to the <label> in the <tab>, not the <tab> itself,
because binding
       to the latter does not work at all with the Pinstripe theme (since it
uses its own
       binding).  The extends= is dubious, but necessary to make display= work.
       The close buttons are made to look like the one at the end of the tab bar
by using
       the "tabs-closebutton" class, and the other class value is for use by
- <binding id="tablabel" display="xul:hbox"
- <content>
  <xul:label class="tab-text-tabx" xbl:inherits="value,accesskey,crop,disabled"
flex="1" /> 
  <xul:image class="tabx-tab-close-button tabs-closebutton" /> 
- <implementation>
- <!--  Can't use a <handler> because it would never get called (unsure why not). 
- <constructor>
- <![CDATA[         var tab = this;
        while(tab.localName != "tab") tab = tab.parentNode;
        const img = document.getAnonymousNodes(this)[1];

        function handler(event) {
          // the <tab> is the originalTarget, so coordinate-based stuff seems
like the only way
          const sx = event.screenX, sy = event.screenY;
          const box = img.boxObject;
          const x = box.screenX, y = box.screenY;
          if(sx < x || sy < y) return;
          // paranoia
          const x2 = x + box.width, y2 = y + box.height;
          if(sx > x2 || sy > y2) return;
          // now close the tab
          event.stopPropagation(); // don't want a tab switch to happen too
          gBrowser.removeTab(tab); // gBrowser is the <tabbrowser>, per browser.js
        tab.addEventListener("click", handler, true);
Bad news: This (unfortunate) Safari-like tab behavior is probably making its way into Firefox:

First Replace Tabs became the default (Bug 203960), now this. Well, at least we'll always have hidden prefs, extensions and secret handshakes to overcome usability "experts" who keep re-inventing the wheel.

There is never going to be consensus on this.  Behavior should be configurable.  Lots of people think that the close button on each tab is correct, and they may be right on that, but Mozilla (and Firefox) is too mature a product to ask the millions of users to suddenly relearn a fundamental point of the interface.  Make it a configuration option or leave it the way it originally was.
(In reply to comment #0)
> From Bugzilla Helper:
> User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:0.9.5+)
> Gecko/20011107
> BuildID:    2001110703
> The "X" to close the tab should be on the right side of each tab. That would be
> less confusing then having the X on the far right.
> Reproducible: Always
> Steps to Reproduce:
> 1. Open Tabbed Browser.
> 2. See 'X' on right side
> Actual Results:  One global 'X'.
> Expected Results:  small 'X' on each tab

This works great on Firefox 2.0 nightly Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.8.1b1) Gecko/20060817 BonEcho/2.0b1 ID:2006081703

The only trouble is the tabs are hard to distinguish, so the other one at the end IN ADDITION would be nice for when closing a bunch of tabs quickly so you don't have to hunt around for the moving target of an X.
Duplicate of this bug: 401701
Product: Core → SeaMonkey
Closed: 18 years ago11 years ago
Duplicate of bug: 534221
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