New Rich Content Editor: Open Links in New Window


In the old RCE, we can create links that open in new window by pressing CTRL+K on our keyboard.

This functionality is removed in the new RCE.

Would like to propose a simple improvement to the Links Option sidebar to add this functionality.


Community Contributor

Hi all,

Today, I discovered a way to add external links using the Rich Text Editor.


The new editor has changed the usual workflow of doing things!

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

 @danielcktan , you are correct: the new design of the RCE brings with it new user workflows. We've placed this idea into Moderation to ask if you would still like it to move forward as a request for modification to the current design of creating external links. Thanks.

Community Contributor

hi stefaniesanders

I gave some thoughts and propose to proceed with this idea, please. 

The new workflow is a replacement for Ctrl+K in the new RCE. 

However, some of the Instructional Designers may wish to convert an existing link into an external link or vice versa. 

Having a checkbox in the link options will help us greatly as an existing visual indicator and ease of changing the link settings. 

If the link is an external link, the checkbox will be toggled on. Else, the checkbox will be toggled off. 

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Sounds good,  @danielcktan ‌; the idea is once again open for voting.

Community Participant

The easy workaround would be to look at the HTML and simply set the target attribute to "_blank", the link will open in a new browser window or a new tab.

eg <a href=“...” target=“_blank” ...

almost as easy as a shortcut key. 

Community Participant

We need this. Please give us this functionality back in the New RCE! While we can edit the HTML as a workaround, that's really time consuming. For instructors without HTML knowledge, that's also very daunting. 

Community Novice

It is easy if you know how to use the HTML editor, however, the majority of Canvas users do not, so we need this functionality back. It is very important for our institution to have the ability to keep students able to get back to the page they were working on easily (especially since there is often no easy way in Canvas to mark your place - every time students open Canvas it is a search to find where they were!)


Thank you! 

Community Participant

We would very muck like this feature, please bring it back!

Community Participant

Yes, PLEASE include an option to "open link in new window/tab".  I am liking the Enhanced RCE more because a major focus has been to reduce the number of clicks to get things done. And this would be one of them (CRTL+K or Link Options, check or uncheck box, Done). The alternative is to go into the HTML editor and tweak the code (that is a lot of clicks and typing). 

Community Participant

I'm all for this suggestion. We have teachers and designers that often use the 'Control-K' Link menu in the Classic RCE to select specific in-course resources to open in a new tab. The new RCE has come a long way, but I know some of our power users will be disappointed to lose this feature.

Isn't the Canvas New RCE an implementation of TinyMCE? TinyMCE's default link editor includes a "target" field. I wonder what led to the decision to remove that functionality?

TinyMCE Link Menu.png


Community Novice

Yes, please!! How did we LOSE functionality? So sad to see that even the standard "CTRL+K" keystroke doesn't give us the option. Such an easy shift, I'm hoping it will quickly make its way back!

Community Novice

PLEASE, 2020 was hard enough. Make 2021 start with the Open in new tab.  Think about it, it's kind of a great metaphor for Canvas educators. 

Community Participant

Agreed. I am a massive 'CTRL K' user. It is one of life's easy shortcuts. Please don't make new RCE one of the few places that it is not available.

Community Member

The instructional designers use the CTRL + K shortcut constantly in our program, for all of our courses, to ensure that links open in a new tab: whether they are links within the same course (so students can access a resources/supplement without losing their place), or links to another Canvas course that students have access to (such as the cohort's program information page), or links to other university hosted websites which are sometimes pinged as "internal" links because of the similar URL ending.

This shortcut has also allowed us to quickly spin up anchor tags tied to headings within the same page (which allows for some incredibly helpful Table of Contents type structures), without constant fiddling with the HTML.


I would say that, effectively, none of our faculty are comfortable with using the HTML editor, while they are quite comfortable with the RCE. Most faculty that I've worked with outside of our program, across the University, are also not comfortable with regularly using the HTML editor, but still find some usefulness for the old CTRL + K shortcut and ensuring that certain links open in a new window or tab.


PLEASE include, at the least, the ability to toggle "open link in current window/tab" or "open link in new window/tab" for all hyperlinks, not only "external" links.

Community Member

Please bring back Ctrl K with a new window option.

Community Explorer

Ditto everyone else!

While I know that if you are using an external link, it will automatically open in a new tab/window, if you are linking to content in Canvas, it doesn't. Control + K was my friend.

I'm going to do the HTML work around but it's definitely more work.

Please bring it back! Or a version of it.


Community Member

Yes please. Please bring back the Ctrl+K menu options from previous editor. Searching through html to change the title text (what appears when the  mouse is hovered over the link) and adding "_blank" in html in right places is time consuming and prone to error. Selecting open in new window took seconds,

Community Member

Please bring the feature of a check box for open in a new window back. The teachers in my district are really having a hard time without the CTRL K option.  

Community Member

Yes, PLEASE. Constructers need to be able to distinguish whether a link opens in a new tab or not. Ctrl+K is used A LOT.

Community Explorer

I appreciate that external links now automatically open in new window.  But I need an easy way to make Canvas links open in a new tab.  Either bring back Control + K OR give us a checkbox to make that choice.