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Configuring Firefox and Mozilla to open pages in new windows/tabs

Bill's Web - Tip

reviewed by BillWebb on 9/6/05


The Firefox, Mozilla and Opera browsers, along with most of the tabbed browsing extensions I've tried for Internet Explorer, such as Avant, allow you to configure them to open links in new tabs or windows. Firefox and Mozilla allow you to do it with a click on the mouse wheel, if you have one, or from the right-click context menu if you don't. Opera is configured similarly "out of the box," and so are most of the others. (If you haven't tried tabbed browsing yet, you really owe it to yourself.)


Here's how you do it in Firefox:


From the Tools menu, go to "Options," then "Advanced," then click on the little + mark next to Tabbed Browsing. Check "Open links from other applications in: 'a new window,' or 'a new tab in the most recent window.'" Also check "Select new tabs opened from links," if you want focus to go to the new tab automatically. Click "OK" and close the window. Now, when you left-click on a link it will open in a new window; center clicking a link will open it in a new tab, and center clicking an opened tab will close it.


Mozilla is done similarly. I don't have a copy on my computer right now, but their options are pretty close to identical with Fx's, since they both use the Gecko engine.


Regarding tabbed browsers in general, Firefox is my choice simply because it's small, and highly configurable with extensions written by the extensive community of enthusiasts. Opera and Avant are both faster-loading, as is Internet Explorer. (In actual browsing, I don't see any important difference in speed.) I really like the Avant interface, but it does use the Internet Explorer engine and is thus prone to all the security problems inherent in IE. Both are safe to use only if you keep your copy of Windows scrupulously updated. Opera and Mozilla are great if you want a full system, with mail client and other bells and whistles. I don't. If I did, I'd probably choose Opera, which is free if you don't mind a "toolbar" of Google ads at the top, or $39.95 US if you do mind. Personally, I don't mind.


Quote from Bill - My motto is K.I.S.S., so don’t expect to find any deep, mysterious geek stuff in my posts.

read more articles from Bill Webb