If you’re like me, you have no doubt collected many various accounts over the years. I have several Microsoft Accounts that are tied to Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) and other offerings. I also have multiple Organizational (Azure Active Directory) accounts tied to Office 365, corporate accounts, etc.
Until now, I’ve relied on having multiple web browsers, or “incognito/private” windows, to help me keep my various accounts separated. For example, on my work computer, I would use Firefox for anything that utilized my personal Microsoft Account (MSA), Chrome for anything that utilized my work-related MSA (e.g. for accessing VSTS) and Edge for miscellaneous other accounts. At home, I relied on a similar setup to keep my accounts separate.
While this has worked for me for the past few years it has always been a bit of a pain having to switch among browsers to get to the content/functionality that I wanted. My desire was to stay within a single browser experience. Recently, I came across a Firefox extension that allows me to do just that – Firefox Multi-Account Containers.
Firefox Multi-Account Containers lets you keep parts of your online life separated into color-coded tabs that preserve your privacy. Cookies are separated by container, allowing you to use the web with multiple identities or accounts simultaneously.
With this extension installed, I can now have multiple tabs open within a single Firefox browsing session with multiple Microsoft Accounts signed in, Org (Azure AD) accounts signed in, e-mail accounts, social media accounts, etc. For example, in the screenshot below, note the tabs with color-coded underlines:
Each color represents a Container. In this example, there are three Containers in use across six tabs. The tabs without color-coded underlines in them are the default Firefox tabs and run in the default Container.
While it might not be readily obvious, the cool part about this is that I am signed in with multiple Microsoft and Organizational accounts across these Containers. I don’t have to sign out of one account just so I can sign into another. The Multi-Account Containers extension keeps everything separate and isolated allowing me to access all of my accounts in a single browsing session! Coolness!
If I click on the Multi-Account Containers toolbar button (or press Ctrl + .), this is what I see:
As you can see above, I have six different Containers currently defined. I can add additional Containers, rename existing ones or delete them. I can also set a custom icon and color (note: the color and icon choices are limited to the [relatively small] set provided).
A couple of other nice features of this extension is the ability to flag a URL to always open in a specific container. For example, I have set my moonspace VSTS account to always open in the Personal (Test MSA) Container. You can also hide all tabs belonging to a specific Container and show them again at a later time. This is a great way to quickly clean up your tabs until they’re needed at a later time.
All that said, there is still room for improvement. For example, the Container settings do not sync across machines. Also, I’d like a little more flexibility in the color and icon choices as well as the ability to drag/re-sort the Containers within the list (as shown above).
Anyhoo, I’ve found this extension to be an awesome addition to Firefox and my browsing experience. If you’re a Firefox user, you can install the extension from here. I do not know if Chrome has a similar extension. If it does, I haven’t discovered it yet. If you know of such an extension for Chrome, please share it in the comments section below.