Browser features

Like other browsers, Polypane has a bunch of regular browser/application features.

Opening and visiting web pages

History and suggestions

Polypane keeps a history and will show suggestions in the address bar based on that history. Right click the navigation buttons to get an overview of previous pages. Middle click (or cmd + click) any URL to open it in a new tab.

When typing in the address bar, Polypane will match each fragment in the url so if you only remember part of a url, you can use that to find it. Here too you can middle click (or cmd + click) any URL to open it in a new tab.

You can clear the history by going to the Edit menu, then "Clear stored data" and selecting "Clear History".

On Windows and Linux, Polypane will listen to any dedicated back/forward mouse buttons.

Opening web pages

Like other browsers, web pages can be visited by typing or copying their address into the address bar.

Polypane also supports opening URLs and files in a number of different ways. You can start Polypane with a URL as the first argument to open that url: $ polypane Or on MacOs you can use $ open -a "Polypane".

You can drag URLs from other browsers, or HTML files from disk into Polypane to open them. Polypane is also associated with HTML and HTM files as a viewer, so you will find it in the "open with..." menu on right click.

Lastly, Polypane registers as a HTML viewer on operating systems, so will automatically come up in lists of browsers provided by the OS.

If you're coming from another browser, the easiest way is to use the browser extension for Chrome, Edge and Firefox. Get them on the Downloads page.


Tabs work like you expect in other browsers. Middle clicking or ctrl+clicking will open a link in a new tab, and links with target="_blank" will similarly open in a new tab.

Click and drag tabs in the tab bar to re-order them. You can right-click the + button in the tab bar to select the layout to use. This choice is automatically remembered for other new tabs.

Unlike other browsers, tabs are not held in memory due to speed and resource limitations. This also makes them useful as bookmarks, since keeping tabs open does not impact memory usage.

Set a custom homepage

You can set any tab as the "homepage" that is used in newly opened panes. The homepage will keep all panes, overlays, the current url and other settings. To set a new homepage, go to the Polypane (on Mac) or "File" (Window and Linux) menu and click "Set Current Tab as Homepage".

Basic Auth

Polypane supports websites that have HTTP Basic Auth or Digest Auth configured. When you fill in the login details for these sites, they will be remembered for the duration of your session. If you want Polypane to remember them permanently, check the "remember this" checkmark. They will be remembered for a specific URL.

The username and password will be encrypted and stored on disk. To remove them, go to the Edit menu, "Clear Stored Data" and then select "Clear Saved Auths"

Invalid or self signed certificates

For localhost, Polypane will silently allow self-signed certificates. On any other domain or for any other certificate error (like expired or the wrong host) Polypane will show a dialog showing you the url and the error and ask you if it should still open the page. It will do this once per certificate per session.

Managing the UI

Hiding the header

To make the most of the available space on your screen, you can choose to hide the header using shift ctrl/cmd h, or via the "View" menu under "Toggle Header"

Changing the text size

You can zoom the text size in and out by going to the "View" menu and selecting "Adjust Text Size". By default the text in the entire UI will be changed, but you can also choose to set the panel text size separately. Click "reset" to revert back to the default font sizes.

Use the sliders to zoom in or out. If you want a specific zoom level you can also change the percentage value manually or by using the arrow keys (like other number inputs, holding shift/cmd/alt will increment or decrement by 10/100/0.1 respectively).

Managing the Cache

Clearing your cache

Polypane adheres to caching rules of websites like other browsers. To clear your cache for a reload, press ctrl/cmd while clicking the reload button, or press shift ctrl/cmd r.

You can also right-click the reload button and select "Empty cache and reload", or use "Empty cache and reload" in the view menu.

Disable Cache

You can disable the cache in Polypane via the Edit menu using the "Disable cache" menu item. You can choose to set it to off, only for this session, or permanent.

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