Open a URL in a new tab (and not a new window) using JavaScript

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I’m trying to open a URL in a new tab, as opposed to a popup window.

I’ve seen related questions where the responses would look something like:

window.open(url,'_blank');
window.open(url);

But none of them worked for me, the browser still tried to open a popup window.

First answer

Nothing an author can do can choose to open in a new tab instead of a new window; it is a user preference.

CSS3 proposed target-new, but the specification was abandoned.

The reverse is not true; by specifying dimensions for the window in the third argument of window.open(), you can trigger a new window when the preference is for tabs.

Second answer

window.open() will not open in a new tab if it is not happening on the actual click event. In the example given the URL is being opened on the actual click event. This will work provided the user has appropriate settings in the browser.

<a class="link">Link</a>
<script  type="text/javascript">
     $("a.link").on("click",function(){
         window.open('www.yourdomain.com','_blank');
     });
</script>

Similarly, if you are trying to do an Ajax call within the click function and want to open a window on success, ensure you are doing the Ajax call with the async : false option set.

Third answer

window.open Cannot Reliably Open Popups in a New Tab in All Browsers

Different browsers implement the behavior of window.open in different ways, especially with regard to a user’s browser preferences. You cannot expect the same behavior for window.open to be true across all of Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome, because of the different ways in which they handle a user’s browser preferences.

For example, Internet Explorer (11) users can choose to open popups in a new window or a new tab, you cannot force Internet Explorer 11 users to open popups in a certain way through window.open, as alluded to in Quentin’s answer.

As for Firefox (29) users, using window.open(url, '_blank') depends on their browser’s tab preferences, though you can still force them to open popups in a new window by specifying a width and height (see “What About Chrome?” section below).

Demonstration

Go to your browser’s settings and configure it to open popups in a new window.

Internet Explorer (11)

Internet Explorer settings dialog 1

Internet Explorer tab settings dialog

Test Page

After setting up Internet Explorer (11) to open popups in a new window as demonstrated above, use the following test page to test window.open:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
  <head>
    <title>Test</title>
  </head>

  <body>
    <button onclick="window.open('https://stackoverflow.com/q/4907843/456814');">
      <code>window.open(url)</code>
    </button>
    <button onclick="window.open('https://stackoverflow.com/q/4907843/456814', '_blank');">
      <code>window.open(url, '_blank')</code>
    </button>
  </body>
</html>

Observe that the popups are opened in a new window, not a new tab.

You can also test those snippets above in Firefox (29) with its tab preference set to new windows, and see the same results.

What About Chrome? It Implements window.open Differently from Internet Explorer (11) and Firefox (29).

I’m not 100% sure, but it looks like Chrome (version 34.0.1847.131 m) does not appear to have any settings that the user can use to choose whether or not to open popups in a new window or a new tab (like Firefox and Internet Explorer have). I checked the Chrome documentation for managing pop-ups, but it didn’t mention anything about that sort of thing.

Also, once again, different browsers seem to implement the behavior of window.open differently. In Chrome and Firefox, specifying a width and height will force a popup, even when a user has set Firefox (29) to open new windows in a new tab (as mentioned in the answers to JavaScript open in a new window, not tab):

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
  <head>
    <title>Test</title>
  </head>

  <body>
    <button onclick="window.open('https://stackoverflow.com/q/4907843/456814', 'test', 'width=400, height=400');">
      <code>window.open(url)</code>
    </button>
  </body>
</html>

However, the same code snippet above will always open a new tab in Internet Explorer 11 if users set tabs as their browser preferences, not even specifying a width and height will force a new window popup for them.

So the behavior of window.open in Chrome seems to be to open popups in a new tab when used in an onclick event, to open them in new windows when used from the browser console (as noted by other people), and to open them in new windows when specified with a width and a height.

Summary

Different browsers implement the behavior of window.open differently with regard to users’ browser preferences. You cannot expect the same behavior for window.open to be true across all of Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome, because of the different ways in which they handle a user’s browser preferences.

Additional Reading

Reprint:https://stackoverflow.com/questions/4907843/open-a-url-in-a-new-tab-and-not-a-new-window-using-javascript
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