Software

How to configure Firefox to open a new tab for search results

If you're tired of the Firefox search bar results opening in the same tab you're working in, this is the fix for you.

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Image: iStock/StockGood

I can't tell you how many times this has happened to me. I've been working on a site or reading an important blog or post and remember something I need to google. Without thinking, I go to the search bar, type my search string, and hit Enter. The search results appear, kicking the site I was working on to the curb.

Although this can easily be avoided by first opening a new tab, sometimes our fingers work faster than our minds. Fortunately, this situation can be changed, such that Firefox always opens a new tab for search results.

Let me show you how to configure this. I'll demonstrate with Firefox 61.ob14 on Elementary OS. The platform won't matter, and this setting should be available for most releases of Firefox. To configure this, we'll use the about:config tool.

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There is one caveat to this: This configuration option doesn't work with the address bar, only the search bar. So you need to have the search bar added to your toolbar. This configuration option is handled in Preferences | Search. Set that and then close out the Preferences window.

To configure the new action, type about:config in the address bar and hit Enter. You may be prompted to okay that you understand the "dangers" of using about:config. Once in the tool, type browser.search.openintab in the about:config search bar. The entry for openintab should appear and be set to false. To change that, double-click the entry, and it should shift to true. That's it. You can close about:config, and the next time you use the search bar, the results will open in a new tab, instead of your current working tab.

If you're like me, and your hands tend to function faster than your brain, enabling a new tab to open for search results will keep you from having to hit the back button, hoping you haven't lost work. This configuration has prevented such happenings for me. I hope it does the same for you.

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About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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