I’ve recently switched back to using Firefox 4 beta from Chrome as the hardware accelerated rendering finally works on my laptop and it seems a lot less bloated and stable. However, I couldn’t find an option to force links that have been middle-clicked to open in a background tab – the default behaviour for a middle click is to open the link in a new tab which is immediately brought to the front.

The solution is to change one of the settings in the about:config page, which can be reached by entering ‘about:config’ in the address bar in Firefox. Then, enter ‘browser.tabs.loadDivertedInBackground’ into the Filter field which will display the setting. Double click and it will change to true:

about:config page
Now links that are middle clicked will open in a background tab. To change the setting back, repeat the above and double click the setting again to change it back to false.

Update 22/3/11: Since installing the final version of Firefox 4, I had to find the setting to change to open bookmarks in the background – this is ‘browser.tabs.loadBookmarksInBackground’.

3 thoughts on “Open tabs in background with middle click in Firefox

  1. browser.tabs.loadBookmarksInBackground

    Perfect!!! I just upgraded to Firefox 4 and had the same problem. Thanks for the solution.

    It was difficult to find a solution so I’ll add some keywords for the search engines:
    +”firefox 4″, open bookmark in background tab with middle or ctrl click

  2. Consider using the TabMixPlus addon, it gives you even finer options (bookmark, link, address bar, etc.). Also offers many other features.

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