At chromium 56 when a link at an html document is clicked focus is gained at new window.


How to disable focus at newly opened tab and retain focus at current tab?

  • Can you give an example of a link that doesn't open as a background tab when you control+click it?
    – DK Bose
    Apr 14, 2017 at 16:39
  • @DKBose When right-click on a link and click "Open link in new tab" the expected result is for new tab to open loading resource in background, though for current window in tab to retain focus. Currently, the new tab gains focus, whether ctrl is simultaneously pressed or not. Apr 14, 2017 at 16:45
  • What happens when you use the scroll wheel to open a new tab, is it opened in the background or is the new tab given focus? This may not be ideal, but have you tested this functionality in a different Desktop Environment or possibly in a Virtual Machine and seen if the undesired functionality still persists?
    – Ken
    Apr 20, 2017 at 16:15
  • @i_pk_pjers_i What do you mean by "scroll wheel"? Apr 20, 2017 at 16:18
  • By scroll wheel I meant the scroll wheel button on your mouse - that is supposed to open a new tab in the background when you click on a link.
    – Ken
    Apr 20, 2017 at 16:25

2 Answers 2


The issue was caused by --auto-open-devtools-for-tabs flag being set.


// This flag makes Chrome auto-open DevTools window for each tab. It is
// intended to be used by developers and automation to not require user
// interaction for opening DevTools.
const char kAutoOpenDevToolsForTabs[]       = "auto-open-devtools-for-tabs";

Removing the flag from launcher resolved issue. Bug report.

  • Thats odd, I can't reproduce this unconfirmed bug.
    – Elder Geek
    Apr 24, 2017 at 21:54
  • @ElderGeek What steps did you take to reproduce? Apr 24, 2017 at 22:04
  • Only the steps necesarry to substantiate it. chromium-browser --auto-open-devtools-for-tabs
    – Elder Geek
    Apr 24, 2017 at 22:08
  • @ElderGeek If you launch chromium from terminal while an instance of chromium is open the new instance will have same settings as open instance. Try specifying a different --user-data-dirthan open instance of chromium, which does not have to exist when command is run, chromium-browser --user-data-dir="/home/USER/.config/chromium-tab-focus-test" --auto-open-devtools-for-tabs. You can then delete the created directory following test rm -rf /home/USER/.config/chromium-tab-focus-test Apr 24, 2017 at 22:13
  • 1
    Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – Elder Geek
    Apr 24, 2017 at 22:45

A Fresh install of Chromium Version 57.0.2987.98 installed from the repositories provides the behavior you desire. "right-click on a link and click "Open link in new tab" the new tab opens loading resource in background.It's available via the software center as seen below:


As you can see, I don't experience this issue with a clean install and no extensions enabled:


EDIT: If you are still experiencing this difficulty it's likely due to one of the plugins that provide this behavior that you may have forgotten that you installed. OR you are launching chromium with a flag set which you didn't mention in your question that is causing this problem for you.

Further edit: Launching with only --auto-open-devtools-for-tabs flag set does not cause this behavior. It seems that this problem only occurs when launching with both --auto-open-devtools-for-tabs flag and --user-data-dir set. Sources:

Testing.on 64 bit Xenial 16.04 LTS (Unity) & Xubuntu 16.04 32-bit (XFCE)

How to disable chromium focus to new tab when clicking link?

  • No, that does not solve issue. Current version of chromium is actually 57.0.2987.98 Apr 24, 2017 at 19:21
  • You'll note that yes, that is the version I have installed. Edited answer
    – Elder Geek
    Apr 24, 2017 at 19:35
  • That is the version of chromium am currently using. The behaviour described at Question persists at the same version. Apr 24, 2017 at 19:37
  • 1
    Just found the possible issue. Launched a different instance of chromium without --auto-open-devtools-for-tabs flag set, where when right-click on hyperlink the new tab is opened in background, while retaining focus at current tab. Appears to be a bug associated with that flag. Apr 24, 2017 at 19:53
  • 1
    I'm glad you got it sorted. :-)
    – Elder Geek
    Apr 24, 2017 at 19:56

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