How to Open All External Links in a New Tab in MadCap Flare

external links to open in new tab

Having external links (links that go to other sites, via a http: link) set to open in a new tab often leads to a better user experience. For example, if your Flare topic contains a process, and in that process there is a link to an external site for more information, you don't really want users to navigate away from the process to get that info - it is better if they can view it in another tab or window. When you add new external links, you can choose for them to target a new tab or new window easily, but what do you do if you have a project with lots of external links and they are all currently set to open in the same tab as your Flare topics? Read on.

Using a Script to Open All External Links in a New Tab

My gut feeling was that maybe a property in the CSS stylesheet could make all external links open in a new tab, but that's not the case. There are two ways of getting them to open in a new tab:

  • Go through the project and reset the target for every external link manually. My God, you don't want to do this on a large project.
  • Use a script on your master page(s). This way is quick and easy, just how I like it.

The script you need to add is as follows (and thanks to Dave Lee for suggesting this on the MadCap Forums):$("a[href^='http://']").attr("target","_blank");/*]]>*/If you're not sure about adding the script, you can just copy and paste the following into your master page's xhmtl code (It can go anywhere inside the body tags. I usually add mine at the bottom).<script type="text/javascript">/*<![CDATA[*/$("a[href^='http://']").attr("target","_blank");/*]]>*/</script>That's it! All your external links will open in a new tab, while your internal ones will still open in the current tab (where you are viewing the Flare content).

Craig Wright technical author

Craig Wright is an experienced technical writer based in Chesterfield, UK.  He hates writing about himself in the third person, so I shall stop now.

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