I run OS X Mountain Lion and open files in four ways:

  • the Finder
  • Alfred file search
  • the open command typed directly into the shell
  • shell scripts that run open and are triggered by applications like Alfred or Keymando

My primary editor is MacVim. I observe that sometimes when I open a file, it opens in the current window of MacVim. In other instances, it will open a new window. There is a similar phenomenon when running web searches from Alfred. Sometimes, a new tab will open up in a preexisting Safari window; other times it opens in an entirely new window. In Safari preferences, I have "open pages in tabs instead of windows" set to "Always".

I can't figure out what the pattern is here. Can anybody explain how it is that the system decides whether to open in a new or preexisting window, and how to make it always use the preexisting one?

  • I don't know about MacVim, but Safari opens a new window if for example you have edited the text on the location bar or some sheet is shown. – Lri Feb 28 '13 at 9:59
  • Aha! That's something. I don't really get the point of it though-- is there any way to disable it? – Sean Mackesey Feb 28 '13 at 15:47

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