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Why don't Confluence pages open in new tabs?

To me, it's bizarre that Confluence pages don't open in new tabs. 

I work in Confluence all the time and obviously I'm going to want multiple Confluence pages open at once, because I'm referring to lots of things. 

Yet the assumption in the platform when you click a link is, oh, you must be done with the page you're on so bye bye! It's a document management platform. It's like you open a new Word document and it automatically closes another. That's nonsense. 

I am now used to habitually right-clicking every Confluence link and selecting "open in new tab". But I wonder how many extra clicks and time this is on a daily/weekly/monthly basis!

Does anyone know why the Confluence gods made this assumption that pages shouldn't automatically open in new tabs like so many other things?

7 comments

I'm not sure I would call Confluence a document management platform or compare it to Microsoft Word/File Explorer. I think it is more apt to compare it to Wikipedia. Atlassian even describes it as a wiki. And all the wikis and knowledge management tools I have used as far as I can remember have the default behavior of opening in the same tab. So I would venture to guess they would want to mimic what people are used to.

If you are interested in saving clicks, there are other ways to open new tabs. For example using Ctrl + click or clicking with your scroll wheel.

Hope this helps!

Like # people like this

Thanks for your reply!

A document management platform is 100% what I would call it, though. At Old Street, we write all our content in Confluence, and if you're writing an article, you're frequently going to need to refer to previous articles. Equally, you might be working on multiple articles at the same time. 

A wiki, to me, is something you trawl through for information. But Confluence is something you actively work in (well, our team does anyway!).

Outside of my work for Old Street, I'm an author and I've actually started using Confluence to write my next novel! Mainly because I'm working on it with my partner and the collaborative elements of Confluence are so good! But again, we write each chapter on a new Confluence page and often need to refer to other chapters at the same time.

G subramanyam Community Leader Jan 10, 2023

Hi @Christopher Berry welcome to the Atlassian community.

I have the similar question of "why not in a separate tab" to avoid more clicks! I believe this feature might be in their pipeline or a market place vendor might have developed a plugin.

Like Christopher Berry likes this

Thanks! Ooo, do you know which vendor?

Simply put, that's a very poor user experience.

The majority of people reading web pages don't want to have a hundred and eleventy twelve pages open as a result of clicking in the middle of something they are reading.

Don't inflict this on people, it makes your site unusable.

Like # people like this

Ah, but I'm not using Confluence to "read web pages". Confluence is much less a knowledge base to me than a workspace, and I'm using it to work on documents. And I often need to work on/refer to many documents at once. So to me, the poor user experience is the extra unnecessary clicks.

Maybe when it comes to public Confluence documentation spaces, the default should be that new pages open in the same tab - that makes sense because in those cases, it's acting like a wiki. But internally, I think the default should be that the page opens in a new tab.

But that's what Confluence is for - it's a wiki - it's intended to be read by a much large audience than just the authors.

A site should always have simple navigation, page to page.  Not open hundreds of unwanted tabs without being asked to.

But for our purposes it's not. Like I said, it's a space for working and collaborating on documents. We don't use Word, we don't use Google Docs. We use Confluence to write all our content. 

What you're saying sounds like public Confluence documentation spaces, which is why I suggested that they could perhaps have a different default setting. Something that changes when you make your space public.

But if you're using creating content internally, then that should have a different setting.

No, it absolutely should work the way it does.

Is nobody actually reading your content?   Please, think about the people who want to read Confluence, they really really don't want hundreds of windows or tabs, just because they happen to click "read this next"

Like Bryan Guffey likes this

I disagree. Confluence is as much for writers as it is for readers. You're only coming at this from the readers' perspective (and only some readers; even as a reader, I prefer links to auto-open in new tabs). This is why I think Confluence should at least provide the option to have this functionality.

Continually dismissing my use case out of hand won't make it go away.

No, I've spent a lot of my career as a technical author, albeit part time, slotted in between Atlassian admin stuff), and most of that was Confluence based.

I'm coming at this from the point of view of both reader and author.

I'm not dismissing your use case, I'm just pointing out that Confluence doesn't do it because most people don't want it and it's a poor user experience to inflict on people.

I'd have no problem with a personal setting that enabled it, as long as it was off by default, and inserted an indicator that "link opens in another window" so that people have the warning that you should have.   I suspect you would find very few people turn it on.

Like Christopher Berry likes this

Hey @Christopher Berry - while I agree with @Nic Brough -Adaptavist- in general that this isn't something you want to inflict upon your users, at a site level, I can understand why you, the user, might want to be able to do something like this in certain spaces. 

Here's a web browser extension that will give you this functionality, and you can limit the scope based on domain/URL:

I'm not sure this is something that needs to be built into Confluence. 

Like # people like this

This is a much more helpful reply, thank you! I'll look into that extension, although I still don't see why Confluence can't add this an option on a space-by-space basis.

Andrew Dildy Atlassian Team Jan 10, 2023

Some good observations in the other responses. I'd also point out that opening links in new tabs violates accessibility guidelines, see WCAG2.0 G200:

In general, it is better not to open new windows and tabs since they can be disorienting for people, especially people who have difficulty perceiving visual content.

On a personal level I see where you're coming from -- I often open Confluence (and links from other sites) in new tabs. As a solution I find it quick and easy to use cmd/ctrl+click as @Alex Young suggested.

Thanks for your reply. It does seem like everyone's concern is for readers and their experience, rather than for writers and theirs. Those accessibility guidelines again seem focused only on the reader experience.

Surely it can be conceded that if a writer is working in a Confluence space that's dedicated to creating content such as articles and web pages, then they are going need to refer to potentially many of those pages at the same time.

Capi _resolution_ Marketplace Partner Jan 11, 2023

I have always been baffled by the behavior, both as a reader and as a writer. And I don't think it has to do with the nature of Confluence being a Wiki -- for god's sake, it could be a configuration option!

Nah, I think Atlassian just doesn't think it's important and seeing that there are pros and cons, they're not willing to open a can of worms. My reason for saying this? Links always open in the same tab in Jira as well and between both products, which is extremely upsetting, as there seems to be no way to have a stable home tab from where I operate.

Like Christopher Berry likes this

Yes! Jira and Confluence both doing it drives me even nuttier. I work in Confluence and I work in Jira and I want them both open, I could do with Jira not assuming "oh, you're done with this issue" if I click on a Confluence link in an issue. More often than not, I'm NOT done with the issue.

Like Capi _resolution_ likes this
Capi _resolution_ Marketplace Partner Jan 11, 2023

I can also see how the default behavior of opening everything in a new tab would get out of hand real fast. But I would argue that at least links between Confluence and Jira should NOT open in the same tab. 

Like Christopher Berry likes this

A good reason why there should be a setting in Confluence (and Jira!) where you can turn it on/off per space. Or maybe it could be a user preference. 

Hi @Christopher Berry

You can open link in new tab with
"middle mouse button", usually that is done by pressing mouse scroll wheel.

You can also hold Ctrl (Command) and left click (works with touchpad).

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