Tips on opening links and searches in Safari

Safari supports a number of hidden options for handling opened links and search result windows.

When you open a Web page in Safari, either by clicking a link, opening a bookmark, or performing a Web search, by default the results appear in the current browser window. Also, like most browsers, if you right-click on a link Safari provides a contextual menu where you can choose to open the link in a new tab or window. However, beyond these familiar options, Safari includes others that can be useful on occasion.

Like many programs in OS X, Safari has a number of hidden behaviors that can be invoked by using modifier keys, and a few of these affect how links and searches are managed by the program.

For example, you can set it so that Safari opens links in new windows but keeps the current window in focus, or you can change which tab is foremost when you open a new tab.

Entering a URL in Safari's address field will take you to that location, but you can change that with the following key combinations:

Opening in new windows:

Shift -- Open URL in new window
Option-Command -- Open URL in a new window behind the current one

Opening in new tabs:

Command -- Open URL in new tab, but keep current page in focus
Shift-Command -- Open URL in new tab and switch focus to the new tab

Saving to disk:

Option -- Save URL source to disk (downloads folder)

These modifier key options work both for URLs typed in Safari's search bar and for links clicked on a Web page. The same goes for text searches typed in the search bar: you can choose to get your results in a new tab or new window.

Unfortunately, Safari's combined address bar and search bar makes it not possible to directly search for URLs, since entering one will take you to that address instead of using the search engine. If you want to find pages that have the text of a specific URL, you would normally need to go to a separate search engine such as However, you can also do this in Safari's search bar by enclosing your URL in quotes, parentheses, brackets, or other container characters.

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