One of the great annoyances of bad web design is the link that opens a new tab in your web browser rather than simply loading the new page in the current tab. It was even worse in the days before tabbed browsers, because it would open an entirely new browser window, but it’s still annoying and still bad web design: The idea is to keep you on the current web site (“pleeeeeze don’t leave!”) but it actually makes it more difficult to get back to the original page because the “Back” button no longer works. In other words, it causes the problem it’s intended to prevent. It has been known to be bad web design for 10 years now, but people still do it.
You know what’s worst about it, though? It’s just plain rude to treat visitors to your web site this way. The first rule of effective web design is, “Don’t piss off people who visit your web site”. So, all you web designers out there: Stop using the “target= ” attribute in your links! (Unless you’re using it with in a page that uses Frames — if you design web pages that use frames just step out back and shoot yourself now.)
Fortunately, there is a way for Firefox users to override inconsiderate web designers who use this technique. With a simple customization, you can make all links open in the same tab (and if you want to open a link in a new tab you can just right-click and select “Open Link in New Tab”).
Here’s how you do it:
In the Address Bar of Firefox, type the words “about:config” and then press the Enter key. This brings up the built-in customization page where you can configure myriad options in Firefox. To reach any one of them you can either scroll through the entire list or, if you know what you’re looking for, start typing it into the Filter box above the list.
Type “browser.link” into the Filter box. This will bring up three results. The one we want is the middle one shown in the image at right: “browser.link.open_newwindow”.
Double-click on “browser.link.open_newwindow” and you’ll get the dialog box shown below, with the default value of “3″ showing.
In the dialog box, replace the default value of “3″ with “1″ and click OK.
You’re done! Now every link will open in the same tab unless you decide otherwise!
(Just in case you’re curious, setting the value to “2″ would make every link open in a new tab.)
Enjoy your new browsing experience.