Is there a mouse/keyboard shortcut in Google Chrome that when clicking a link opens the URL in a new tab and then makes that tab active? Kind of like CTRL + left click, but also activating the tab rather than loading it in the background.

  • i'm wondering if some kind of google chrome extension that can record a macro and associate it with a shortcut. Firefox has iMacros
    – barlop
    May 24 '15 at 2:07
  • 1
    Yeah, sometimes we miss obvious things. You're welcome. :)
    – Karan
    May 25 '15 at 4:21

There are many extensions that can open new links in an active tab (i.e., open links in a new foreground tab) with "one click."

Mouse Gesture Extensions

  • crxMouse Chrome Gestures

    By default, click on any link and drag to the right (→) to open it in a foreground tab. You can configure this gesture on the "Super Drag" tab of the extension's Options page.

  • Gestures for Google Chrome™

    Enable the "Super Drag(Drag&Drop Action)" option on the "Basics" tab of the extension's Options page. You can then open new foreground tabs by clicking on links and dragging downward. To change or configure this gesture, go to the "Drag Actions" tab on the Options page (only visible after enabling the "Super Drag(Drag&Drop Action)" option).

  • smartUp Gestures

    By default, click on any link and drag to the right (→) to open it in a foreground tab. To show visual feedback when dragging the link, enable the "Super Drag" feature by going to General → Features ON on the extension's Options page. You can configure the gesture by going to Simple Drag → Link Actions, or Super Drag → Link Actions (if you enabled Super Drag), on the Options page.

  • Smooth Gestures Plus

    Paid app with free trial period. By default, right-click on any link and drag upward (↑) to open it in a foreground tab. To make this a left-click drag instead, go to Settings → Mouse Button to Start Gesture on the extension's Options page.

Other Extensions

  • Long Press New Tab

    Allows opening new foreground tabs via "long-clicking", i.e., by clicking and holding down the mouse button on a link for a small amount of time. On the extension's Options page, you can enable long-clicking for the middle and right mouse buttons. You can even enable "Super Drag" to open links in the foreground by dragging them, making this extension a potential substitute for the mouse gesture ones.

  • Right Click Opens Link in New Tab

    Allows right- or middle-clicking to open links in foreground tabs. By default, right click opens a link in a foreground tab, and middle-click opens a link in a background tab. You can configure this on the extension's Options page.

  • Click to Tab

    Can open all links in new foreground tabs without gestures. To enable this behavior, uncheck the "Open in background" box on the extension's Options page.


On MacOS, it's Cmd + Shift + Click.


If you have a scroll wheel, click the scroll wheel over a link or url.

If you don't have a scroll wheel, you can simulate a middle click on a laptop touch pad by pressing both left click and right click simultaneously.

See how to change mouse settings here: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/26552/stupid-geek-tricks-use-both-laptop-mouse-buttons-to-simulate-middle-click/


I've found MagicPrefs and BetterTouchTool (BTT seems to be more advanced) useful as they allow to generate 'middle-click' which is commonly used by browsers on other OSes to open link in a new tab. And for a touchpad default is to use three finger click which is reasonable extension for two finger as right click.

Also this middle click is compatible with utilities like Synergy (synergy-project.org) so middle-click event is properly propagated to other desktop running Linux/Windows.

  • Open up a google homepage
  • Click on "Settings" available at bottom right corner. Make sure you select SETTINGS from a bottom right corner only.
  • Click on "Search Settings"
  • Select "Open each selected result in a new browser window"
  • "Save" your settings
  • You are good to go!!!
  • This is only for Google links. The poster is asking about ANY links. Oct 29 '17 at 2:12

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