How-To Geek

Quick Tip: Open Firefox Searches in New Tab

The default action for searching with the Firefox toolbar is to open the search in the current tab. This drives me crazy, but thankfully it’s easy to fix.


New Search Tab with Hotkey

Just search using Alt+Enter instead of hitting the normal Enter key. This will work even if the default is still the current tab.


New Search Tab by Default

Type about:config into the address bar, and then put the following into the filter box:

Double-click the value to change it to true.


New Search Tab with Tab Mix Plus Installed

Open Tab Mix Plus Options through the Tools menu. Click on Events.

Check the box for “Search bar” under the “Open tabs from” section.

New Search Tab with Middle-Click

You can also middle click the search button after entering text into the search box. (Thanks to markdr in the Lifehacker comments for this one)

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 04/21/07

Comments (20)

  1. kewpiedoll99

    changing about:config doesn’t seem to work. results still display in the present window. even tried restarting firefox.

  2. anonymous

    Or more simply, just use Alt-Enter and that will open results in a new tab

  3. The Geek


    The Alt+Enter tip was the very first one in the list… =)

  4. mr. fox

    i prefer to middle click on the magnifying glass when i want the results in a new tab. great tip though.

  5. cyberbuff

    About:config does nt work in FFX 1.0

  6. Rehan


  7. Rehan

    Thank you

  8. Juliana Peña

    Alt-enter. That’s no doubt the easiest way. BTW, this also works in IE7 (not that I use it…. ughhh)

  9. butchcassidy

    this always drove me nuts!!

  10. Mersine

    ugh, I’ve had this feature from tabmixplus for so long and it drove me crazy. I finally put it back to default. Alt Enter or alt click is the best way if you do want to open the link in a new tab

  11. Strangest

    config worked
    alt enter worked
    middle click magnifying glass worked


  12. amir

    is there any way to make firefox open a new window when pressing enter on the address bar ?
    without pressing alt+enter…?

    this is a really annoying issue , and i havent found a solution for it yet…

    any help ?

    Amir Tal.

  13. Frank Bell

    The fix seems to be written up backwards. I set it to “true” on my computer, and it still opens searches in the same tab. Set to “false”, searches open in a new tab, which is what I want!

  14. Lawrence Hawk

    A similar problem with Thunderbird 2

    Opening an email link in Thunderbird while keeping Thunderbird on top would also be nice.
    I’d like to keep Thunderbird open, on top, while the link is opened in a new tab ready to be opened; when I want it to open.

    Currently, the only option available, is to left click on a link in Thunderbird, and the link opens in a new tab on top, while Thunderbird is minimized. Ugh!

    Middle clicking a link in Thunderbird 2 does nothing, (double Ugh!)

    It’s annnoying


  15. Sean Schiraldi

    Thank You Mr. Fox!!!

    Best and quickest fix. period!!!!

    **i prefer to middle click on the magnifying glass when i want the results in a new tab.** great tip though.
    THAT IS EASY AND PERFECT!!!! Solves that maxthon to firefox hassle!

    I’ve been browser crazy lately, obsessed with the best between IE, mozilla, and maxthon

    1.) I need quick fill, billeo’s best IMO, 2.) I need streaming audio capture, IMO orbit’s best 3.) of course pop up block..etc, and all are ok

    as far as the 3 browser choices:

    1.) can’t stop IE from starting a second, backup crash recovery, taking double cpu, but it accommodates the two services the best. (download stream and quick fill) –also loaded with spyware..etc after ad-aware scan

    2.) Maxthon 2 was great as far as cool customizing, was the fastest and used the least amount of cpu
    I also loved that it started a search in a new window, but it seemed to have no efficient media catcher, orbit or others wouldn’t work although they claimed to.Even add ons are limited and mostly chinese. it’s worth keeping around as a two. BTW, maxthon 3, to me, took a major step backward.

    3.) my favorite all around ( and many others online, was Firefox) It used slightly more memory than Maxthon and plenty less than the two IE8s, but that’s in part to the selection of add ons that is wonderfully abundant from down loaders to customizing skins , like the victoria secrets header i like. lol
    Billeo works great and there are many other auto fill choices. orbit works, although not as easily as the IE exclusive toolbar, but rather a one-click you tube grabber. (Why is video so much more prevalent than audio?)

    Firefox is also compatible with most IE plugins which should be more than enough, regardless how obsessed we have become!

    AGAIN, The fix above makes firefox the best!!!

    if you guys know anything better for these, please, I’d appreciate opinions:

    1. Orbit downloader- love how it grabs everything so quickly and reliably. The IE toolbar saves as mp3’s–great. the youTube one click in firefox is reliable, but it downloads in FLV, adding a step to convert. If that did mp3’s it would rock.
    My problem with both is that it doesn’t capture the name of file or barely ever gets meta data, so you will have 20 downloads names stream.mp3, stream (1), stream(2)..etc. it is rough when it piles up.

    2. form filler besides billeo- decent one built in mozilla, but not to save sites


  16. Mika

    Ok, I’m a dullard. What magnifying glass are you guys middle clicking on?

  17. Mika

    Oh, right, THAT magnifying glass. I knew I was having a not-so-smart moment.

  18. heba

    Can you give me a account

  19. TechGeek

    I know this is an older topic but, thought I would share anyway for future visitors. Open Link in New Tab 0.1.201012160 add on for FireFox does the trick. You can customize it to fit your needs via tools > Addons > Open Link In New Tab > Options.

  20. Sanchit Goyal

    Thanks!! Works well in Firefox 5.

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