March 26, 2015 | Sarah Danks

I recently wrote about whether or not external links should open in new tabs, and even took a poll to ask others’ — marketers, bloggers, developers, etc. — opinions on it. Turns out only 1 of the 75 people who responded said they prefer content opens in the same tab…

…whereas the rest agreed with me that links to offsite content should open in a new tab.

Those of us somewhat familiar with code know to add target=”_blank” into our <a href> code to open links in a new tab; for those of you who’d rather stay in the WYSIWYG view, here’s a little tutorial on how to quickly and easily “code” these links in a few content management systems (CMS).

Open Links in New Tab

While there are many, many CMS options out there available for use, I’m only mentioning the “top few” here because, well…I’m a busy girl. Who’s got time to research how to open links in external tabs for every possible CMS, anyway?


What can I say, I’ve really grown to like WordPress. Obviously I have to like it, right, since it’s what we use here exclusively at ThinkSEM. But more than that, I like it because it’s:

  1. Easy to use,
  2. extremely well supported, and
  3. flexible.

So there’s my plug(in) for WordPress. Back to the point —

Here’s how you add target=”_blank” to your external links without having to switch to Text mode.

First, copy the URL of the page you want your link to go to. Next, in the content section of WordPress highlight the text you want to link to said web page. Head up to the toolbar at the top of your content and click the paper clip-looking icon — also known as the insert/edit link button (activated once text has been selected):


You’ll then get a pop-up box where you can paste your URL. If you want the link to open in a new tab, check the box underneath the Title bar (leave the box un-checked if you prefer the content to open in the same tab, which we recommend for all internal links).


Click the “Add Link” button and voilà! You just created a link that’ll open in a new tab. Check it out in the Text view. See?wordpress-target-equals-blankSo that’s how you do it in WordPress.


I’ve used Joomla before, and while I personally don’t like it — it isn’t nearly as easy to use as the WordPress CMS — at least it’s easy to open links in a new tab.

In fact, the process is very similar to that of WordPress — highlight text, click on the edit insert/edit link icon — except within the link editor you have to choose “Open link in a new window” in a dropdown menu within the Target bar:

Click Insert and you’re done.

Pretty easy!


Unfortunately, Drupal is against opening external links in a new tab, as evidenced by the advice I found while researching how to do just this very thing in their CMS. Evidently you have to download a plugin (or module, as they like to call it) to even do this. Well, to do it easily, at any rate. I’m sure you can hand-code each link if you were so inclined…

…either way, it seems like kind of a pain to me.

Okay, so I’ll throw a bone to you e-commerce people out there…


We’ve never used Shopify but Dave, our fearless designer/developer, dabbled a bit in their CMS’s code language, Liquid (PS: isn’t alliteration fun?). Upon looking at their how-to it seems Shopify doesn’t recommend opening content in new tabs, either. Stands to reason they then don’t tell you how to get around that advice…

…well, they do but it’s only possible through the code editor. I.e., manually inserting target=”_blank” in every single link.

Okay, so let’s try another e-commerce CMS.


While BigCommerce doesn’t tell people not to open any links in new tabs, it would seem (from skimming their forums/help sections) that the only way to do it in their CMS is also via the code. So, no WYSIWYG help from this e-commerce CMS either, it seems.

Best have the time to wade into the code every time you want to open a link in a new tab.

And, because there are so many bloggers out there, here’s a CMS that (mainly) caters to your crowd (although, again there are many types of content management systems good for blogs out there).


I’ve been using Blogger for my personal blogs since about 2005, mainly because waaaaaaaaay back then it was a much easier-to-use interface and, frankly, it still is; I recommend it for any blogger.

Same rules apply as with WordPress and Joomla for starting a link — highlight your text, click on Link in the bar, then within the link editor you check the denoted box to open links in a new tab:


As you can see, Blogger has more edit link options than any of the other CMS platforms. What I like about them is they give you the option of linking to a URL or to an email address. Neat!

AND, let’s not forget they offer you the possibility of adding the ‘rel=nofollow’ code to your links. But that’s a conversation for a different day…

Did you happen to notice the verbiage for the link above? “Open this link in a new window,” it says. Well, it actually opens content in a new TAB; not a new browser window. FYI.

Well, there you have it. A handful of popular content management systems and how to add target=”_blank” in WYSIWYG view. Go forth and open external links in new tabs!

Questions? Opinions? I’d love to hear about them in the comment section.




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