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Most of the time when I follow a user's link, I just want to see their site, look it over, then return to answer their question (not leave SO completely and not come back). Could we make the links users post open in a new window please?

EDIT: I originally wanted this implemented because it's what some other sites did, but I now definitely prefer SO's way. If I want to open a new tab, I middle-click/control-click (or whatever); if not, I just click. I'm in control of what happens. Would never want to go back now.

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please no....... –  fretje Jul 4 '09 at 11:35
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please yes..... –  Jason Jul 31 '09 at 18:00
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Shot down repeatedly during the UserVoice era. Thankfully. I expect my programs to leave me in control. Please stop trying to mess that up. –  dmckee Aug 20 '09 at 20:54
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@dmckee That's why it should be an option, so people can be in control to use it or not –  Andrija Cacanovic Aug 20 '09 at 21:02
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User option. Absolutely. I just went looking for it in the assured belief that surely it would be there. Most advanced websites these days will open a new tab for external links (depending on the context). –  noelicus Nov 30 '11 at 12:15
    
Yes or No, SO is not consistent in that case. Try clicking an "internal" link from ask question page, you are off to a surprise :) So SO pleases both :D –  nawfal Jul 30 '12 at 2:13
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@Andrija, it is an option -- provided by your browser. –  Monica Cellio Mar 29 '13 at 17:11
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Use your mouse's middle button to open links in new tabs/windows (which one it'll be is a browser setting). Problem solved. –  Yannis Jun 5 '13 at 14:10
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Also people are automatically clicking the link but then they're redirected. I think this is a lot better to set it to the left mouse button using target="_blank" –  Kees Sonnema Jun 5 '13 at 14:13
    
You could write yourself a userscript which appends the target to all links on the site, or certain for that matter...or I could write it if you tell me on what links you want that...in that case I'd write it less for you, but more because it sounds like an interesting script to write. –  Time Traveling Bobby Jun 5 '13 at 14:14
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This would be an issue in the time where mouses didn't have middle mouse button. –  ʞunɥdɐpɐɥd Jun 5 '13 at 14:15
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@ʞunɥdɐpɐɥd: mice had middle mouse buttons for a long time (that's actually the mouse from my first PC). –  Joachim Sauer Jun 5 '13 at 14:17
    
So, I had the same suggestion - links should be opened a new window - not forcing me to leave the SO site each time I want to view a link. However, after reading the comments on here... I guess I'd have to agree that CTRL-clicking a link is probably the best option. –  Charlie74 Dec 4 '13 at 15:37

15 Answers 15

up vote 47 down vote accepted

Just hold down Ctrl when you click - or right-click etc... or in some browsers Shift + click... and so on...

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Don't forget middle-clicking (if the scroll wheel acts like a third button). –  AnonJr Jul 5 '09 at 12:14
    
Or right-click > copy link location, ctrl+t, click the address bar, ctrl+v, enter... –  Jonathan Sampson Jul 31 '09 at 18:19
    
I'm running Vista here with Firefox. All I have to do is right-click and hit the popup menu if I want to open in a new window or tab. –  David Thornley Aug 20 '09 at 20:54
    
Or in chrome right click and open in a new tab –  maxmackie Aug 10 '11 at 15:23
    
I doubt any of this is news to the asker. Personally, I EXPECT sites with EXTERNAL links put in for reference to open a new tab if I'm using a tabby browser. –  noelicus Nov 30 '11 at 12:15
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@noelicus as per laalto's anwser, that expectation isn't universal –  Marc Gravell Nov 30 '11 at 12:39
    
@MarcGravell Yes, I know! I actually advocate it should be an option that defaults to "standard" link behaviour, like it was in the 80s. –  noelicus Dec 1 '11 at 11:48

The website should not open new windows. As already mentioned, you can do it yourself when you want.

Jakob Nielsen puts it nicely:

Opening up new browser windows is like a vacuum cleaner sales person who starts a visit by emptying an ash tray on the customer's carpet. Don't pollute my screen with any more windows, thanks (particularly since current operating systems have miserable window management). If I want a new window, I will open it myself!

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Tell that to people that made Google Reader and Gmail. –  Andrija Cacanovic Aug 20 '09 at 21:04
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@Andrija: Those are applications. They may live in the browser, but they are still applications. Applications may have a reason to open new windows, though it should be immediately obvious to the user that that is what will happen (don't make me think!). A webpage that opens a new window or tab without my explicit request is broken, and I won't stand for it. –  dmckee Aug 20 '09 at 21:28
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@dmckee I see SO sites as an applications, I expect external links to open in external window/tab, so I can switch between them for info, without thinking of it :) I want my SO sites ALWAYS open in one window, where ever I click –  Andrija Cacanovic Aug 20 '09 at 22:05
    
@dmckee again, this should be only an option, and by default it should open in existing window of course since it already works that way –  Andrija Cacanovic Aug 20 '09 at 22:07
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I disagree, in this era where no browser opens a new window (just a new tab) Nielsen's comment is a bit dated –  Pablo Fernandez Jun 1 '11 at 2:49
    
How are you going to get that control from "Ask Question" Page when clicking on the similar question in search list? :) –  nawfal Jul 30 '12 at 2:16

It could be an option in the preferences, like it is on reddit.

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even google search preferences have this option - very handy that you don't have to concentrate –  Antony Jul 4 '09 at 7:45

someone made a user script

http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/59563

and it works =)

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Wow, thanks for sharing! I'm definitely checking this one out. –  Nathan Aug 10 '11 at 5:12
    
+1 for this find ! It does make sense to make links in answers automatically open in new tab. Sometimes a user might put more than one reference link. –  GoodSp33d Nov 23 '12 at 9:07

There are more ways to open a link in a new window if it does not by default (Ctrl click, middle mouse click (in some browsers)) than there are ways not to open a new window when a link does by default.

So my feeling is no on this.

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IMO, this is something that should only be handled by your browser. It really annoys me when a website decides its wants to do funky things with its links. If I want a new tab, I will middle-click.

If you don't want to bother [middle/ctrl/shift] clicking, I'm sure you (or someone else) could easily code up a greasemonkey script for this.

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I don't know if it's a problem but I personally think it's better to open a link in a new tab so you can just answer/view the question you were visiting before clicking the link.

It's a problem when you want to just navigate from one page to another. Personally I do not want my browser spawning 200 tabs in a single browsing session just by question/answer-hopping (and trust me, that's how far back my browsing history goes on SE in an average session).

Most people spend more time just browsing than answering questions. Forcing links to open in new tabs always is a recipe for disaster.

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Also, I consider opening another window or tab intrusive. It's like "dude, we knew better then you that you wanted that in a new window!"...it's just as annoying as sound in ads (I'm looking at you imgur). –  Time Traveling Bobby Jun 5 '13 at 14:17

I was about to post a new question, then found this one.

I agree that not all external links should open in a new window as that's just annoying & I know how to do it if I want to.

However, it would be a nice touch if any links to jsFiddle.net and similar sites were automatically rendered with target="_blank", because I am forever clicking through to one, tinkering, and then having to abandon it to refer back to the question.

Especially annoying when the link is 'disguised', such as "I've got an example here".

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How is "example here" a 'disguised' link? "example here" is a much better link text than the (unfortunately very common) "here" or "this link". –  Joachim Sauer Jun 5 '13 at 14:15
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jsfiddle links.... exactly why i searched for this feature suggestion. –  d-_-b Jul 17 '13 at 2:54

Ive noticed on Stackoverflow that if your following 2 or 3 trains of tought, it is almost always better for the links to open in a new window. Think it should be available as a link config option

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Or you could just open the new windows yourself with a simple middle-button or control click and save the site one more configuration option. :D –  Gordon Gustafson Jan 22 '11 at 16:30

I love Google Reader that has this by default. It would be great to have it at least as an option. Using keyboard to open to external link means I have to move my other hand to keyboard, this is usually not a problem for me, but sometimes it is, if I hold coffee in my other hand it could be a productivity problem :) , this way I could use only mouse!

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You could also try middle-click. –  ベレアー アダム Aug 20 '09 at 20:17
    
I hate middle click, never use it. Finger slips forward, on some mouses you have to press harder to click it, while you trying to click it it goes up and down...hate it. –  Andrija Cacanovic Aug 20 '09 at 20:59

I would say very heartily YES, especially if it is a link to an external site. The standard convention is, if it's a link to yourself, no popup/new window, but a link to an external site should be in a new window/tab.

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The standard convention as established by... ? –  ベレアー アダム Aug 20 '09 at 20:15
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No. NO. NO! Don't make me look to see where the link points to understand how it will behave! I want to be in control of my browser. When I want a new tab, I'll issue that command. –  dmckee Aug 20 '09 at 20:52
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Established by nobody I want establishing standard conventions for me, anyway. –  David Thornley Aug 20 '09 at 20:53
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I agree with this. New tab/window for an external site. Much easier to close a new tab rather than click back through history to get to where I was originally. –  churnd Aug 24 '09 at 12:26

This is the one thing on SO that time and again screws me up. I expect external links to open in new tabs and I am constantly closing an external page when I'm done looking at it, only to find that my previous session on SO has disappeared along with it. It's frustrating because it doesn't make sense to me for an external link to open overtop of the site you're viewing.

But I suppose people have different tab-using habits, and I treat a new tab like a new session--a branch in my exploration of a thought. When I want (or more importantly for this discussion expect) the session to branch (after all I don't necessarily check where a link is going before I click it), I mentally treat that external link as a new session that I can kill if I'm through with it. It's a strange feeling to have StackOverflow hide underneath that session and disappear when I kill it.

I don't buy the argument "let me control my browser: if I want a new tab I'll do it myself", primarily because a) tabs are cheap, I want to be able to close a tab and not worry about it getting rid of some unrelated previous session, and b) this just means extra mental effort to decide in advance whether I want to consider an action a branch in my exploration or part of the same thought.

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I don't agree with this, but +1 anyways for the detailed answer. –  Pops Aug 12 '10 at 20:03

This would hinder people from using their browsers in the normal way. Target _blank makes sense when following a link would be interupting the user's work and cause possible data loss. Otherwise it should be left up to the user where to open the page, and the default should always to do so in the current window as that is the browser default, most expected behavor and the only option that cannot be easily acheived other ways.

This functionality is already in your control. Try:

  • Ctrl-Click the the link
  • Rick clicking the link and asking to open in a new tab
  • Middle clicking on some systems
  • Keeping a sidebar or separate window open for following refereces and drag the links you want to open over to it.
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"it should be left up to the user to do". I like that word, i understand now :D –  GusDeCooL Jun 29 '13 at 15:55

That's a bad idea, what if you want to navigate to another page in the same tab/window?

Press Ctrl when you click on the link. In most browsers, that causes the tab to open in a new tab. Or click with the scrollwheel of your mouse. At least for me, it causes links to be opened in a new tab.

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yeah i know about ctrl+click, but i don't think everybody know this. And sometime some people forget to hold ctrl. –  GusDeCooL Jun 29 '13 at 15:50
    
What i mean is only add link target blank inside question frame. not in all navigation e.g. header navigation. –  GusDeCooL Jun 29 '13 at 15:51

It would be great if we could have an option on our account to have links posted in answers and questions to open in new windows.

This would be a pretty awesome feature to have, as it is kind of difficult sometimes to have to keep using the middle scroll thing on my mouse to click on links — I rather just click them normally and have them pop up without holding keys down.

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We try really hard to be different from online forums, so arguing that most forums do something is not a particularly compelling way to get a feature implemented. ;-) –  Cody Gray Aug 10 '11 at 5:23
    
@Cody Sorry about that. I wont say anything about other forums again. –  Nathan Aug 10 '11 at 5:46
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No worries. Thing is, I'm pretty against sites which purport to control how I want to browse. If I want things to open in a new window, I should have to explicitly request that myself, either by clicking the middle button or using the Ctrl key in conjunction with my click. What if I don't want pages to open in a new window/tab? –  Cody Gray Aug 10 '11 at 5:51
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If you don't want pages to open in a new window/tab you would simply turn that off somewhere if this were available. But I guess I can just use the middle scroll to click links or right-click and open in a new tab. –  Nathan Aug 10 '11 at 5:54

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