Difference between the values of target attribute

Difference between target=”_blank” and target=”blank”

In this short article, we will look at the differences between target=”_blank” and target=”blank”.


“target” is a HTML element attribute that we generally used in anchor tags to control if the link is going to be opened in the same tab, or a different tab or on a different browser window.

  • Not mentioning “target” attribute will open the link in the same browser tab.
  • target=”_self” is same as the default behavior. That means it will open the link in the same tab.
  • target=”_blank” will open the link in a separate browser tab (or window as this can be configured in the browsers’ settings)
  • target=”_parent” will open the link in the parent tab/window from where the current tab/window was originated. So you can say this is the reverse of “_blank”. If there is no parent then it behaves as “_self”
  • target=”_top” will open the link in the root parent. This is almost similar to “_parent”, but this will open the link in the root parent instead of immediate parent. For example, if tab A opens tab B, then tab B opens tab C, then if a link tag is clicked in tab C with target=”_top”, then will open in tab A.

In real life projects, mostly, either we do not use target attribute. or we use it in conjunction with “_blank”.

The difference

Lets try to understand the difference with the help of an example. Lets assume, tab A has opened a webpage with 3 links in it: link1, link2, link3. All of them have target=”_blank”. Now if you click on these links, 3 more tabs/windows will open to show the content behind the link.

Now lets consider the links now have target=”blank”. We first click on link1, it will open up in a new tab, say tab B. now lets come back to tab A again and click on link2. To your surprise, it will also open the link in tab B. link3 will also open up in tab B.

So, as you can see, with target=_blank, browser will spawn new tabs/window for every links. But for target=blank, it will just create a new tab for the first link. All subsequent links will open in the same tab again and again.

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