Like many of you, I love to hunt around on ELU's wealth of interesting questions and answers, often following the many useful links to outside resources. Why, then, when I click on one of these does it take me away from the ELU page? This makes it difficult to pursue a question (link to link to link, etc.) and still be able to come back to where I was on the ELU site.

Has the possibility of links opening in a separate tab ever come up, and if so, why was it discarded?

I would like to propose that links on ELU open in a new tab, or at least that there be a discussion on the subject.

  • 2
    This is not an SO feature but a browser feature.
    – Mitch
    Jul 24, 2012 at 15:23
  • Middle Click has saved me tens of thousands of right click/move mouse/click combos
    – Ben Brocka
    Jul 25, 2012 at 20:12

1 Answer 1


It's standard practice to put this element of user interaction entirely under user control.

If a site automatically opens a new window/tab, there is no way of stopping that if you don't want a new window or tab. This is not good: users should not be forced into a course of action which might cause difficulties. For example, Safari on an iPad can only have nine tabs open and opening a tenth closes another one.

If a site doesn't open a new tab for you, you can force it to open a new tab by using Control-click, and if you forget, it's straightforward to go back and then use Control-click.

  • 3
    This. I've just gotten really used to right-clicking on links to open them in new tabs. Jul 24, 2012 at 15:21
  • Or right-click if you use Windows machine.
    – Kit Z. Fox Mod
    Jul 24, 2012 at 15:22
  • 1
    This is extremely helpful. I did not know the potential problems of new tabs, and I did not know that you could control-click on a link. Thank you.
    – JAM
    Jul 24, 2012 at 15:38
  • See also: ux.stackexchange.com/q/19892/5400 Jul 24, 2012 at 17:11
  • 3
    ... or middle-click, if you have it. Jul 24, 2012 at 19:59
  • I didn't know about control-click until now, but I've just established that my browser (Google Chrome under WinXP) supports it. Not that I'll bother, since it requires me to use two hands. If I want to keep the original window open, I'm happy with right-click, which in Chrome offers me the choice of opening the link in a new tab, a new window, or a new incognito window. That's quite enough options for me. Jul 24, 2012 at 22:01
  • Among the many options of the Chrome Toolbox extension is the ability to tell all links to open in a new tab when clicked on. Searching in the Chrome web store shows a few more extensions which add similar functionality.
    – user362
    Jul 25, 2012 at 16:09

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