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Automatically open new tab for links/external tools set to 'Load in a new tab'

Automatically open new tab for links/external tools set to 'Load in a new tab'


Previously under the title "Link to External URL"

When linking to an external url that Canvas will not (or cannot) embed, link should automatically open in a new tab or window.  Currently, Canvas opens another page saying you have to open it in a new tab, then you have to click that link to do that.  Why not just go directly to that page in a new tab?  Links in other locations already do this.

If Canvas is worried a user would be confused by being outside of Canvas suddenly, perhaps they could flash a redirect page saying they are leaving the course and to close this tab to return, or something along those lines.  

Comments from Instructure

New behavior governing external tool links was released to production in November 2019. For more information, please read through the Canvas Deploy Notes (2019-11-20)

Community Member

This needs to happen!

Community Member


Adventurer II

I don't know if this is purely a technical issue.

It would be nice to have someone commenting on why something which (to the non-technical) seems fairly straightforward has not been implemented.

Does anyone know just exactly how complex this task is?


This ridiculous issue has been driving me NUTS as I try  to fix a huge collection of broken links in one of our courses.  I admit, it can be a little confusing in the mobile environment when a site opens in a new tab, but that's only because mobile browsers don't handle tabs well.  The Canvas solution of warning the user accomplishes nothing to help in that situation. On a computer, it's insane to have to click twice to get to a link!

Community Member

Just to add that in the app, the button and text instruction are off screen, meaning users have to know to scroll (horizontally) to find the button for the extra click.

Most just assume they have come to a content-less page or there has been an error.

Community Team
Community Team‌, would you please initiate a separate feature idea relating to the mobile app (Canvas Student) about this? It would need to be a request to make the page responsive so people didn’t have to scroll horizontally on a phone. Thanks.

Community Member

Hi stefaniesanders

That's done now. My first Canvas idea - how exciting Smiley Happy

Please let me know if I've missed something.


Explorer II

Funny....I tried to VOTE this up again!


The idea doesn't seem to be getting much traction but it still bugs me: so clunky and just plain wrong to have to click twice to get a single piece of content. I suspect the issue is philosophical rather than technical since it's simple HTML to open in a new tab. Canvas knows the size of the browser and could easily adapt to something different for mobile devices if that's the rub. As developers of the course, we should be given a choice as developers of a course as to whether we open in a new tab or not on screens where that works well.