One of the great annoyances on the Internet are links that are configured to open in new links or tabs. Outbound links, which means links that point to another domain, are usually prime targets for this method of linking but there are also cases that links on the same domain open up in new tabs or windows. The Firefox web browser comes with a set of options to open links in new tabs or windows but no obvious ones to prevent that from happening.
To open a link in a new window or tab one would simply right-click the link and select the appropriate option from the context menu. Users who like keyboard shortcuts can press the Ctrl key for opening links in new tabs or the Shift key to open them in new windows. Alternatively, a middle-click on a link opens it in a new tab as well.
Thankfully though there is a parameter in the Firefox configuration that allows Firefox users to force the web browser to open links in the same tab unless one of the previously mentioned ways of opening links in new tabs or windows is selected.
Users who want to change this behavior need to type in about:config in a tab in the Firefox web browser. This should open the Firefox configuration. First time users need to accept a disclaimer. They then need to filter for the term browser.link.open_newwindow. The default value of that entry is 3 which opens links that would normally open in a new window in a new tab.
To force Firefox to open links (no matter if they have been designed to open in a new tab or window) in the same tab one would need to change the value to  which will open all links that would normally open in a new window in the same tab. Changing the value to  would open new windows in a new window (duh).
Just noticed that changing the value to 1 does affect links that are opened in external applications as well. These links will now open in the active tab and not a new tab.
An anonymous commenter just mentioned that there is a new setting available under the preference browser.link.open_newwindow.override.external which defines how and where links from external sources are opened in Firefox. Its default value is set to -1 which makes Firefox use the browser.link.open_newwindow preference when it comes to determining how external links are opened in the browser. The preferences are the same and you can use the values you see above to modify the behavior for external links differently.Advertisement
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.