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How to: Open external links in a new window

Over the weekend, I attended WordCamp Denver, and I was asked by John Hawkins how to force links to open in a new tab with out editing the source code. So, today lets learn a simple jQuery trick to open all external links in your site in a new tab or window. We are going to make sure you have jQuery active on your site, you can do this easily in WordPress, since it’s bundled with the latest installations. Use this code in your header: <?php wp_enqueue_script('jquery'); ?> then, below the wp_head add the following:

<script type="text/javacript">
var $j = jQuery.noConflict();

$j(document).ready(function() {
//external attribute
        .attr({ target: "_blank" });

That’s it, just make sure you change the to your website.


If you like you can remove the var $j = and replace all $j with simply just $


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  1. Shawn Parker

    March 1, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    Good tip, thanks for picking this up after my blunder. A couple more things to note:

    1. Instead of worrying about jQuery’s noConflict you can simply use jQuery(…) instead of $ – then everything you do is safe even if jQuery doesn’t get started in no conflict mode.

    2. jQuery(document).ready(function() { can be replaced with just jQuery(function() {

    3. To be xhtml future proof you can’t use target=”_blank” any more. Something like this would be more appropriate:

    jQuery(function() {
    .click(function(){; // pop a new window
    return false; // return false to keep the actual link click from actuating

  2. Pingback: Open Links in New Windows or Tabs Without Target=”Blank”

  3. Elena Coen

    May 8, 2009 at 5:24 am

    Hi there,

    Is there a hack for this that would allow links from a folder to open automatically in a new window? I have an RSS feed from another install I did in a folder. I want anything from there to open in a new window but because it starts with the same URL, such code recognizes it as a match and keeps it opening in the same window. So else would open in same window, any external URLS plus I want to open in a new window.

    Thank you, Elena

    • Austin

      May 8, 2009 at 11:44 am

      Hmmm.. This may be possible with some anchor not attributes in jQuery. Let me browse around and see what I can come up with..

  4. Udegbunam Chukwudi

    September 21, 2009 at 1:54 am

    Wonderful tutorial. Would definitely come in handy for some folks. For me, when I link to old posts on my blog from a new post, I like them opening in a new window so the reader doesn’t get lost trying to find his/her way back to the start.
    BTW is there a way of making this code force all links to open in a new window?
    .-= Udegbunam Chukwudi´s last blog ..Top 10 Ways Nigerians Make Money Online =-.

  5. Pingback: | opening external links in a new window using jquery

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