Why do Tab buttons resize temporarily?

Have you ever noticed that when you close a tab in IE using the tab’s red-X button (or middle-click):


…the tab to the left gets wider (or narrower)?


If you then move your mouse, then the tab button size goes back to normal:


This is probably the most commonly reported “bug” that’s not a bug in the IE UI.

So why does IE do this?

The  tab button resizes so that if you’re trying to close multiple tabs, you don’t need to move the mouse. You can just click, click, click to close multiple adjacent tabs. The resizing of the tab to the left ensures that the hovered tab’s red-X remains underneath your pointer.

As soon as you move the mouse out of the tab bar, the resized tab returns to its normal size.


Comments (6)

  1. david.warner@outlook.com says:

    This is a nice feature, but animating the tab width I think would improve the UX. The way the tab widths change suddenly does make it feel a bit like a bug.

    [EricLaw] Animating the width to move the "X" button would break the click,click,click scenario, but animating back to "normal" size when leaving the tab area would work.

  2. I've run into program that have bugs which users regarded as features.

    You see, a very important factor involved is how people think of the developer who developed the program. If they think the developer can do no wrong, they perceive no wrong on his part. So, building a better rep. always helps.

  3. Ben A says:

    I use the mouse wheel button to close multiple tabs, I wish it was configurable because it's annoys me to death!

  4. Viktor Krammer [quero.at] says:

    Yes, it seemed a bit strange at first, but now I find the feature quite useful.

  5. pmbAustin says:

    I too wish there were an option to turn that off.  While I use it from time to time, I've also had the case where an accidental twitch caused me to close an extra window that I didn't want closed.  And it's visually jarring as well.

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