Go 'back' to a new tab in some browsers

Many sites—from blogs to news sites like Macworld’s own MacCentral —consist of primarily links to other pages. It’s on sites like this that tabbed browsing really shows its strengths—just Command-click your way through the stories you find interesting, and each opens in a new background tab, ready for future reading. (Haven’t used tabbed browsing yet? To turn this feature on in Apple’s Safari, go to Safari: Preferences, click on Tabs, and select the Enable Tabbed Browsing option.)

But what happens if you accidentally click a link, instead of Command-clicking? Then the story will open in the current tab, replacing the page of news blurbs you were engrossed in. The typical solution to this problem is a quick two-step. Hit the Back button to put the news page on the screen again, and then Command-click the link you were interested in reading. Here’s a workaround that can help save a step, at least in Mozilla Firefox and Safari.

Instead of doing the two-step, just Command-click on the browser’s Back button. This will open the ‘back’ page (the news page, in this example) in a new tab, while leaving the new story active in the current tab. This isn’t quite a perfect solution, though, as you’ll find the news page is now at the end, rather than the start, of your open tabs. If you’re using Firefox 1.5, there’s an easy solution to that, too—just drag the tab from one end of your browser window’s tab bar to the other. You can do this in Safari, too, if you’re using the Saft extension.

This seems to only work in Safari and Firefox (and probably other Firefox family members). I tested OmniWeb, Camino, iCab, or Opera, but none of them treated a Command-click on the Back button in this manner. Perhaps they use a different key combination, but I didn’t discover any in my testing time.

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