Open in new tab should switch to new tab immediately

Opening a link in a new tab should switch to the new tab immediately. This should be a configurable setting.

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I’ve seen this request as far back as 2015. One would think there is someone with enough intelligence to add this bit of code to enable this feature? Laziness perhaps? For at least SIX YEARS we’ve been requesting this feature. I guess this is why FireFox is STILL my default browser.

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That’s a pretty important usability thing, sadly still missing from Brave. I’ve learned that Ctrl+Shift+Click does that, but it’s not what I’ve learned and got used to the last 20 years on the web. I mostly open links in new tabs through the middle mouse button, and there’s no replacement for that. I don’t even want any replacement. I just want new tabs to always activate right away. Ever. No questions or options asked.

I understand that some people don’t want to see the tabs they’ve just opened. I don’t know why they wouldn’t want to see them and why they’ve opened them in the first place. But I respect that workflow because that’s what they’re used to for a long time. It’s about supporting the workflow everyone is used to.

And it’s not like this feature is a complicated thing. If the Brave source code is anywhere well-designed, this is nothing more than another toggle option on the settings page and an if statement and some method call at one or two places in the code where new tabs are opened. Estimated effort (excl. testing and documentation): less than an hour.

I’d work on that myself, if setting up the build environment for a modern browser wouldn’t take days and gigabytes on its own. Let alone finding the right places in the code that a regular Brave developer might already know. I’m a bit puzzled why there’s a feature requests category on this forum if repeatedly wished for features like this aren’t considered in years.

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Looks like an extension can fix this if the browser can’t:

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This topic has a long history. A very cursory search using the Brave Community search function quickly turned up, (for example)

Automatically Switch to New Tab When Opening Link

Open link in new tab” doesn’t focus on the new tab and

Switch to New Tab When Opening Link

Do your own search. The list goes on. And on. And on… The request remains unresolved, at least by Brave.

@Sectre (in this thread) comments “I’ve seen this request as far back as 2015.” That may be a bit of a stretch. I’m unsure whether Brave had been released in 2015 …


Brave initially used Muon as its engine. The Muon version of Brave did offer to automatically switch focus to a new tab when a link was opened. It was an option. Some folks didn’t / don’t like it. It’s an option. Use it or don’t use it, but give users the choice.

@ygoe (again, in this thread) suggests the add-on / extension Tabs to Front about which I know nothing. Tabs to Front may be excellent. I don’t know …

note: I've edited the following reference to Tab Activate since I posted my initial comment; explained a few comments down.

Since August 2020, I’ve been using Tab Activate:

How Tab Activate compares to Tabs to Front … I’m clueless.

Worth adding — and if you take nothing else away from this post, it’s imperitive that you pay close attention to this: Good add-ons / extensions go bad. Here are four citations:

3/1/2020 The Case for Limiting Your Browser Extensions

11/20/2020: Abusive add-ons aren’t just a Chrome and Firefox problem. Now it’s Edge’s turn

2/5/2021: A 0-day, malicious extension, and sync abuse are keeping Google developers busy.

3/1/2021 Is Your Browser Extension a Botnet Backdoor?

Again, do your own web search. Take the warnings to heart.

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I didn’t mean to say that I’m happy needing an extension for such a primitive feature. Every extension is one too much, it’s a trade-off. Not just that they can turn to evil, more often they simply break in new versions of the host app. (Thunderbird is an excellent example for that.) Some extensions are valuable, others unnecessary. For now, “Tabs to Front” is on the valuable side for me, until Brave devs show some interest.

According to the description, “Blank new tab page” makes the new tab page empty, but doesn’t affect links opened in a new tab. “Tabs to front” activates newly opened tabs but shouldn’t affect the new tab page. Those two seem totally unrelated to each other.

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I understand. I’d like Brave to revert to what was first implemented with Muon as the engine in Brave’s early releases: allow users — optionally — to automatically shift focus to a newly opened tab, whether it’s blank or populated.

Which leads to your comment about Tab Activate: whether …

opening a (blank) new tab;
right-clicking to open a stored bookmark; or
right-clicking on a displayed web address …

… the behavior is the same: what’s selected opens in a new tab and focus shifts to that tab.

But, if Tabs to Front does what you need, why change?

I’ve made a note of Tabs to Front should Tab Activate fail.

Re-considering your reply to me: I realized I’d made a Big Mistake in my original reply in this thread which I’ve now edited and corrected. Yes, I have Blank New Tab Page installed. It takes care of a task unrelated to the topic at hand.

The extension to which I meant to refer is Tab Activate:

Tab Activate does appear to offer functionality similar to Tabs to Front. If the latter does what you need, Tab Activate is an alternative for you as Tabs to Front is an alternative for me.

Sorry for any confusion I caused.

Thanks for clarifying. I tested the “Tab Activate” extension and found two disadvantages over “Tabs to Front”:

  • It requires extensive permissions. While the author states that no data is collected, still the possibility exists from a technical POV. One of the permissions seems to be necessary to support the Shift key toggle to not focus a new tab once (which I’m never going to use).
  • It cannot activate the new tab when pressing the home page button with the middle mouse button. An action I’m going to use a lot in the future when replacing the bookmarks bar with a custom start page (that I can then use in every browser on all devices).

The other permission is explained for use with bookmarks but I couldn’t find any difference between the behaviour of both extensions. I guess “Tabs to Front” applies to a lower level, catching more new tabs, but leaving less flexibility to not focus a new tab once. I’m fine with that.

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Thanks for that additional information. It’s important enough that it provoked me to switch from Tab Activate to Tabs to Front.

Still, the best alternative would be for Brave to restore this feature in the browser. “Restore”? It was in Brave’s Muon version:

  • No need to write new code.
  • No need to test new code.
  • No need to debug new code.
  • Port the relevant Muon code to Chromium.
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