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3.5 Everybody likes tabs

Unlike most other text-based browsers, emacs-w3m has support for tabbed browsing. What is tabbed browsing, you might ask? It’s very simple: it is a way to represent all active emacs-w3m buffers in a single window, by showing a line at the top which shows all the buffers in a simple and self-explaining way, each buffer being shown as a “tab”. This line stays visible all the time and does not scroll with the rest of the buffer, so that you can switch to another buffer, or use the feedback it provides at any moment.

The easiest way to get the feeling of it is to just try, so go on and open an emacs-w3m session. If you didn’t change anything to the configuration, the tabs line is active by default, it is this bright line at the top with a smaller rectangle that shows the title of the current page. Now create another w3m buffer (with G, for example): now you have two of these rectangles. These are tabs.

The most obvious use of tabs is switching: by clicking with the mouse-1 button on a tab, you make the buffer it represents active. It also works with the mouse-2 button, or with rolling the mouse wheel if you are using GNU Emacs. It’s a very quick and easy way to work with several emacs-w3m buffers, you just have to point and click, or to roll the mouse wheel. (Yeah yeah, I hear you. You want to switch using the keyboard. Don’t worry, it’s also possible. It’s explained in the next section. Now keep quiet and read on!)

Another nifty feature is the feedback it provides. If you are on a color terminal or window system, emacs-w3m shows the text in the tab in different colors to show the status of the page(1). For example, when the page is being loaded, the text is in red, and goes back to its default color (usually black) when the loading is complete. This way you can tell with a single glance at the tabs line if the page you’re waiting for has arrived or not.

Finally, if the web page provides a favicon, it will be shown in the tab as well(2). More eye-candy for the emacs-w3m user!

User options:


Whether to activate tabbed browsing or not.

If you are a GNU Emacs user, the mouse wheel allows you not only to go to an adjacent buffer but also to move a buffer to the adjacent place. To do that, press and hold down the control key while you roll the mouse wheel on the tabs line. There are two variables that control how emacs-w3m behaves by the mouse wheel:


This variable controls whether to make the mouse track the selected tab. The default value is t. You may want to set this to nil if you use a proportional font for the tab faces. See also w3m-tab-mouse-position-adjuster.


This variable contains the values used to adjust the mouse position on tabs when the mouse pointer tracks the selected tab. The default value is (0.5 . -4). It consists of the cons of a floating point number m and an integer n that are applied to calculating of the mouse position, which is given in pixel units, as follows:


Where tab_width is the pixel width of a tab and order is the order number in tabs. The result is rounded towards zero.

Note that the calculation will always fail if you use a proportional font for the tab faces. See also w3m-tab-track-mouse.

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