Force IE to Open Link in New Tab

One question that I have gotten a lot lately from users is how to open a link in Internet Explorer 7 in a new tab instead of a new window. If you use Firefox or Google Chrome, all links automatically open in a new tab, which for me is more convenient.

However, with IE 7, all links open in a new window, which is really annoying since it now supports multiple tabs! So how does one configure IE 7 so that clicked links are opened in a new tab? Here’s how.

First, open Internet Explorer and click on Tools and then Internet Options. Press the ALT key if you don’t see any of the menu items.

force ie open link new tab

Now click on the Settings button under the Tabs section on the General tab.

new tab ie 7 links

Finally, under the heading “When a pop-up is encountered”, choose Always open pop-ups in a new tab.

open popup new tab

That’s it! Now when you click on a link in Internet Explorer that is set to open in a new window, it will instead open in a new tab! You can also change the setting below it, Open links from other programs in, to open in a new tab. That way if you click on an Internet link from an email, etc, it will open in the current IE window as a new tab. Enjoy!

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  1. simeleketek says:

    very useful :D

  2. JSJcbs says:

    Thanks, I just did a system reformat and IE was opening links in a new window instead of new tabs! Thanks for the help.

  3. Cool Stuff says:

    But I tried this in IE8. It does not work. It still opens in a new Window

  4. TruEnuff says:

    Thanks for this tip. I use IE 8 and this fix worked immediately. Being a frequent Firefox user, I find the ability to have a link open in a new tab to be very useful. IE 8's insistance on stacking up windows every time a new link is clicked is really annoying. I still can't figure out why they call opening a new link a "pop-up", but I'm happy!

  5. grumpytico says:

    Thanks, I had no idea how to do this :)

  6. Shelly says:

    My Internet Options menu does not have a "General" tab!

  7. MaxthonUser says:

    Am I missing something here? I've set the options as above, and some links open on new tabs, while some links use the same tabs (overriding the old tab).

    For instance, just do a search on google for anything. Click on any results. The new page loads on the google search results page, overriding it.

    This is so frustrating! Hopeless IE people – pack so much into the functionalities, and yet can't do a simple thing like this properly.

  8. Kfink44 says:

    My IE8 does the same thing Maxthon. I think it is because in the article it states, "Now when you click on a link in Internet Explorer that is set to open in a new window, it will instead open in a new tab!" So to me that means the link you click on has to be set in the Http code to open a new window when you click on it. But if the link is configured in the Httl code to open in the current window, then it will not go to a new tab. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

  9. bryanboova says:

    Thanks for the help! This is the default behavior in Google Chrome and I wanted this in IE.

  10. spk2629 says:

    Thanks a million – this was killing me when I had to use the computers on campus. I am a die-hard Firefox user but I have to use IE for some classes. No one else knew how to fix this irksome issue. My hat's off to you!

  11. Arcturus says:

    Thanks alot dude. This was driving me batshit nuts. I agree with you. What is the point of a tab enabled browser that opens links in a new window? As usual, it seems that developers still seem to think that they can tell their customers what it is that they want & can have from software rather than considering what it is that people will actually find useful.

  12. ekeko says:

    Thanks a bunch! My customers were wondering how to get IE to behave this way.

  13. Lorri says:

    Mine still opens in a new window, and not a new tab. I have done all of the suggestions above and am about ready to pull my hair out. :(

  14. KenD says:

    I'm with Lorri….IE8 simply will not open clicked links in a new tab rather than a new window, even after reinstalling. Maxthon which I believe sits on top of IE, works fine. Firefox, of course, has no problems with this concept. Any updated ideas?

    Thanks.

  15. RangeRover says:

    I actually knew very well that the tabs setting was in Internet Options and I am sure I would have figured out what to tick as there were only like 3 boxes not ticked by default..
    Sadly, when I really needed to change that and stop the resource hogging Windows from multiplying across my monitor like digital bunnies, I plum forgot!

    I am so grateful that peopletake the time to make clear and easy to follow directions and post them online.
    I can't even begin to imagine what a spiraling technicalnightmare running a computer and spending your time using all the Internet technologies if the Internet didn't come with a pluthera of free help on how to deal with the littlep ickles all of us find ourselves in, either once in a while,or several times a day.

    For the past and the unavoidable future…. Thank You! ;-)

  16. Catherina says:

    Thanks! I switched back to IE after Chrome and the new window pop up instead of new tab was driving me nuts!

  17. Roz Fruchtman says:

    Bless You… I thought I had IE set to open links in NEW tabs, but I guess not. I became more aware since I started to use FireFox more.

    Thanks to YOU… Links NOW open in a NEW Tab in IE7!

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

    Roz Fruchtman

  18. Kathy V says:

    God bless you! This was driving me nuts (well, short trip there!) and now it's fixed.

  19. Chris says:

    Is there a way to make Google Chrome open by default in a new window?

    I prefer to group my windows so that all similar topics are on different tabs within the same window while different topics have different Chrome windows but I can't find a setting to make it open new windows rather than tabs by default.

  20. Pilm says:

    I have IE8, making this setting change worked.

  21. MM says:

    Using this step in IE8 didn't change the settings at all but when I logged on with our admin rights I was able to change the settings. Probably this will depend on what rights you have on the machine? Although I'm not sure about it. It's just a hint. Open for any feedback and possible resolution for IE7 and IE8 on this type of an issue. Thanks!

  22. Justin says:

    While I found the suggested Setting change has made tab-opening work more often than before in IE8, unfortunately sometimes it's still a bit of a lottery as to whether IE8 will open a clicked link in a new tab, or in a new window, or will just overwrite the webpage I'm on. It's all so exasperating!

    However, I came across an alternative 'fix' that works every time — no matter what your Settings are… Simply hold down the "Ctrl" key when clicking a link! This will always cause the linked-to page/website to open in a new tab.

  23. Bivek says:

    I'm a programmer and i need the code that opens a link in new tab automatically, Since I don't have access to everybody's IE settings :)

    Thank you.

  24. Sameer says:

    Hey, Aseem. Thank You So Much for this information.

  25. Daniel says:

    I found it annoying to be pressing Ctrl/Shift keys to open a link in a new tab. The real alternative that works on IE8, (and it comes from Microsoft itself!!!) is to simply use your mouse's middle button. One click and it opens all links in a new tab.

    See: microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/ie/ie7/quickref.mspx

  26. Roel says:

    I have a great tip for the IE users!

    Use a real browser like Google Chrome or Firefox. It's much faster in everything and it renders websites like it should. It is also better for the future of the internet. IE means stagnation of progress.

  27. Stan says:

    Thanks for the article. It was giving me a headache.

  28. Manik says:

    Thank You. I have fixed this issue by your comments. But is there a chance to solve this issue in code instead of changing it in the IE settings.

    Kindly post Your valuable comments for further reference.

  29. Mehdi says:

    Thanks for the quick fix. One thing, though. We have to read to the end (of these instructions) then open the Tools menu, because, after you open the menu, you cannot access this page (scroll up/down) any more!

    Regards.

  30. Elizabeth says:

    Aseem,

    I do not have the option of opening a new tab next to current tab on the drop down window. Each time I click on a link within a tab, it opens to same tab.

    Please help me.

  31. Christal says:

    Thank you!

  32. Angara says:

    Thank you. It worked for me. Looked so simple, yet I overlooked it.

  33. AnonymousGuy says:

    Just click the link with the middle button (mouse wheel) and it will open in a new tab.

    Easy peasy. :-)

  34. Yasir Imran says:

    Thank you for helping me in getting rid of IE's most nasty behavior.

  35. VitAl2013 says:

    Doesn’t work, because it won’t save. Each time when I click OK it goes back to the default option.

  36. Malron says:

    After updating my computer, windows update, tabbed browsing quit working on most links (but not all) I mostly use IE7 and FireFox occasionly, Tabbed browsing didn't work in firefox either, after reading the comments, clicking the middle button or wheel worked in both IE7 and FireFox 4.0.1 I now have Tabbed browsing after searching a couple weeks on and off for a fix or an answer to why this was not working. Thanks Daniel

  37. Venu G says:

    Thank you, it is very useful:)

  38. Tom says:

    Thanks! I was having the opposite issue. IE kept opening links in a new tab, and I wanted them in a new window.

  39. cjg says:

    thanks great info!

  40. boxer says:

    thanks, but there’s still a problem with mine. My ie8 always open a new link in current tab…

  41. Johnny says:

    I have set the options to "open in new tab, however, it does not work. I also tried the shift ctrl hold down maneuver. This also does not work. Is there any other overide that might?
    thx

  42. Sri says:

    Thanks, mystery is solved now :-)

  43. steve says:

    thanks, open link in new tab worked fine.

    can my html website program force the same condition if the user hasn't checked the IE option open pop up in new tab

  44. Harinder Malhans says:

    There is one more trick to solve this problem. If you have gmail or google account- log in to your google account. Once you log in, you will see a black bar going across from left to right on the top of your google page. Look on the right side of this black bar. you will see your name as well as a white star (looks like a gear) click on it, then click "Search Settings" a new page will open. now look for "Where results open" ( Middle of the page) see if the square box has a check mark. just uncheck mark this box , go down and click save. thats it, I hope this would solve your problem.
    Just in case you find that the square box was unchecked already, in that case you or some one else who uses that computer may have another gmail/google account. So just log in to that gmail/google or google plus account and follow the same steps above.

  45. Px says:

    Very useful!!!

  46. Javier says:

    Thank you very much. Your tip from March 2009 is still useful in March 2012.

  47. A Person says:

    Not everyone is using a computer that’s chrome/firefox friendly, leaving IE as the only alternative. It runs really, really smoothly if you disable third-party extensions, which is something that usually gets overlooked, and causes most people to develop the ignorant idea that ‘newer is always better’, which is not the case.

  48. williamwclee says:

    Does “always open pop-up in new window” have a command line syntax?

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