Download LinkThing  (requires Safari 5.1 or higher)

LinkThing is an extension that enhances your control over how links on web pages are opened. If, like me, you obsess over tiny details of your Macintosh browsing experience, you may find LinkThing useful. If not, you’ll probably wonder what’s wrong with me.

LinkThing’s General Settings dialog


Control positioning of new tabs

When you ⌘-click a link in Safari to open the link in a new tab, Safari 5.0 puts the new tab at the right end of the tab bar. Safari 5.1, on the other hand, puts it to the right of the current tab, or if you had previously ⌘-clicked another link on the same page, it puts it to the right of that tab.

If you would rather decide for yourself where new tabs from ⌘-clicked links go, LinkThing is your friend. You can choose to have new tabs from links open:

  • at the end of the tab bar,
  • at the beginning of the tab bar,
  • to the right of the current tab,
  • to the left of the current tab, or
  • wherever Safari wants.

You can set different positioning options for new foreground tabs and for new background tabs. Also, you can set these options globally (for all sites) and for any individual site. Any site-specific settings override the global ones.

What’s more, you can override your tab positioning settings for a particular link, on-the-fly, by pressing one of five user-configurable keys before you click the link.

Here are the default keys and what they do:

KeyLink will open in
ANew leftmost tab
SNew left tab
DNew right tab
FNew rightmost tab
GThe current tab

If you press one of these keys while the mouse is over a link, and then click it, LinkThing will open the link in the specified location. You can change any of these keys in the Advanced tab of LinkThing’s settings. There is also a setting that will cause pressing one of these keys to immediately open the link under the mouse, so you don’t have to actually click it.

(Thanks to Richard Marshall for the idea and his extensive testing of the tab position override keys!)

Open links in new tabs by default

If you find yourself ⌘-clicking links on a particular site almost all the time, LinkThing can save you the trouble of holding down the ⌘ key with every click. LinkThing has global and site-specific settings to open links in new tabs by default. There are independent settings for both onsite links and offsite ones (that is, links that go to other sites).

Note: If one of these options is set, ⌘-clicking means the opposite of what it normally means—so if LinkThing’s settings would cause a plain-click to open a link in a new tab, then ⌘-clicking it will open the link in the current tab instead. If you want ⌘-clicking to always open a new tab, there is a setting for that in the General Settings.

Open links in new tabs with a right-click

If you’ve ever wished there were a way to open links in new tabs without having to hold down the ⌘ key or use the context menu, now there is. With the appropriate LinkThing option enabled, you can simulate a ⌘-click on a link by right-clicking it. Instead of showing the links’s context menu, Safari will just open the link in a new tab. Don’t worry—you can still access a link’s context menu by control-clicking it.

Rewrite Google /url links

The links in Google search results sometimes don’t link directly to their destinations; instead, they link to a special Google page that then redirects to the destination. There are various reasons you may wish these links went directly to their destinations. LinkThing can make that happen.

Send links to Instapaper

After entering your Instapaper account info in the LinkThing section of Safari’s preferences window, you can right-click any link and select “Add Link to Instapaper” to instantly add the link to your Instapaper account for later reading.

View link URLs while keeping the status bar hidden

As a bonus, LinkThing also includes an optional “pseudo-statusbar” feature. As with other extensions that are dedicated to this kind of feature, you can hide Safari’s status bar to save screen space, without losing the ability to peek at the URLs of links. The feature works by showing link URLs in a little bar that only appears at the bottom of the window while the mouse is over a link. As soon as you move the mouse away from a link, the little bar disappears. LinkThing’s pseudo status bar is very lightweight—it doesn’t do anything fancy, like showing favicons or resolving shortened URLs, as some of the dedicated extensions do. But if you don’t need those kinds of features, this option may be all you need.

More screenshots

Site-specific settings
Advanced settings
Disabling LinkThing with URL filters
Adding a link to Instapaper

Download LinkThing  (requires Safari 5.1 or higher)

2012 Canisbos Computing
Creative Commons License