Safari Tip of the Day: Force new pages to open into tabs

I spend the majority of my computing life in the warm embrace of Apple and their wonderful OS X operating system (Snow Leopard 10.6.1). I don’t think of myself as an Apple “fanboy,” as I did spend 12 years (from 1996 – 2008) in self-imposed exile in Windows World. However, I am very pleased that I am fast approaching my 2nd anniversary as a renewed member of the Apple Tribe.

One of the last hold-out pieces of software from my Windows-only days has been Firefox. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely LOVE the universe of Firefox extensions, which is why I have resisted making the move over to Safari. If you are a Mac user you know how much faster/efficient Safari is compared to Firefox. Even the latest Firefox 3.5 seems like it is running in molasses compared to Safari. This tip comes as I try to ween myself away from Firefox.

As great as Safari is, it does have its peculiarities and it is, sadly, still laking an extension infrastructure. (Apple… hint, hint) If Apple does not add a serious extension infrastructure to Safari I expect I will formally become a Google Chrome devotee once that browser hits an official release for OS X. I do use Chrome on a daily basis at this point, but it is clearly the poor step-child to the Windows version. It bums me out that extensions are still unavailable on Mac through Chrome (yes, I am running the dev channel).

This brings me to my “Safari Tip of the Day” — Forcing new pages to open into tabs

I am one of those people that clicks my way around the Internet. Unfortunately, by default, Safari (on Mac) opens every new page in its own window. This makes no sense to me. The whole concept of tabs, I thought, was to help avoid clutter. Safari has great support for tabs, but for some unknown reason new pages always open in a new window (unless you hold down the “command” key). I guess command-clicking links qualifies as a tip as well, but this is not the official tip. The official tip is a way to tell Safari to always open new pages into a new tab, without needing to command-click the link.

So, without further ado:

From the command line you need to execute the following…

defaults write TargetedClicksCreateTabs -bool true

This tells Safari to always open new windows into a new tab. (You need to completely restart Safari after you make this change.)

To reverse the operation, execute the following (also from the command line)…

defaults delete TargetedClicksCreateTabs



If there is anyone out there that can tell me why Safari defaults to opening new pages in new windows I’d love to know.

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