How to Manage Tabbed Browsing in Safari for macOS

Easily navigate your many tabs with these simple tips

As is the case with most browsers, Safari offers advanced tab browsing in macOS. With this feature, you can have multiple web pages open at the same time within the same window. Tabbed browsing within Safari is configurable, allowing you to control when and how a tab is opened. Related keyboard and mouse shortcuts are also provided. This tutorial teaches you how to use the iOS Safari tab manager, as well as how to control tab browsing with shortcuts.

Manage Safari Tabs

To access the Tabs settings in Safari, open Preferences under the Safari menu (or press Command+, (comma) on the keyboard.

Preferences in Safari

When the Preferences menu opens, select Tabs.

The Tabs section in Safari preferences

Open New Pages in Tabs

The first option in the Safari Tabs menu is a drop-down menu labeled Open pages in tabs instead of windows. This menu contains the following options:

  • Never: With this option selected, when you click a link that's coded to open in a new window, the link opens in a separate Safari window.
  • Automatically: With this option selected, when you click a link that's coded to open in a new window, the link opens in a new tab in most cases. Although Safari makes an effort to launch a tab instead of a new window, it may not always be successful with this option enabled.
  • Always: With this option selected, when you click a link that's coded to open in a new window, the link opens in a new tab. Safari overrides all settings and forcefully opens the link in a new tab each time.

The Safari Tabs Preferences dialog also contains the following set of check boxes, each accompanied by a tabbed browsing setting.

  • Command-click opens a link in a new tab: Enabled by default, this option provides a keyboard shortcut (Command+mouse click) to force a specific link to open in a new tab.
  • When a new tab or window opens, make it active: When enabled, a new tab or window automatically gains focus as soon as it is opened.
  • Use Command-1 through Command-9 to switch tabs: Also enabled by default, this setting allows you to skip to specific open tabs by using these keyboard shortcuts.

Shortcuts

At the bottom of the Tabs Preferences dialog are some helpful keyboard and mouse shortcut combinations:

  • Command+mouse click: Opens a link in a new tab (only when enabled; see above).
  • Command+Shift+mouse click: Opens a link in a new tab and makes it the active tab.
  • Command+Option+mouse click: Opens a link in a new window.
  • Command+Option+Shift+mouse click: Opens a link in a new window and makes it the active window.
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