Clicking a link is one of the most basic tasks on the internet, and seems like one that’d be truly hard to elaborate on. Sorry, no. One second you think you know how it works, and the next you understand you always have more to learn. Like when you realize: “Wow, I don’t actually know all the ways to open a link in Google Chrome.”
OK, we may have been a little over-dramatic off the bat—we’re talking about browser tabs here, not a profound philosophical revelation. But if you’re someone who always has a lot of tabs open in Chrome and at least tries to keep them organized, it may be at least minimally life-changing to know you can drag and drop links to open them anywhere among your existing tabs could change how you use the web.
What does dragging and dropping a link actually mean?
When you click a link in Chrome, it’ll either take over the tab you’re currently in, or open in a new tab directly to the right of the one you’re using. If you right-click, you can open it in a new window or an incognito window too. That’s all basic. The problem with this is that if you try to keep all your related tabs next to each other, you have to rearrange them when things open far away from where you’d like them to be. This feature eliminates that task.
How to drag and drop a link on a computer
Chrome users on Windows and macOS are likely to see the most benefit, as this ability is much easier to use on a computer than on a phone. Simply click on the link you want, but keep your finger down. Hold it there and drag the link toward the top of your browser window. You’ll see a small opaque preview appear, and when you get to the row of tabs your cursor will spawn a green plus icon. As you move the preview over your existing tabs, you’ll also see a white arrow that indicates where it will open. Release your finger to drop the new tab.
If you’re not sure what’s in a tab, hover over it for a moment and it’ll open up. As long as you don’t let go of the link you’re holding, you can check every tab this way. And if you happen to drop it inside a tab that isn’t one where it’ll just paste the link (like Google Docs), your link will open directly to the right. You can also drop the link directly into the address bar (the omnibox, as Google calls it) and hit Enter to replace what’s in that tab.
One final tip: If you know something is a link but can’t drag it, right-click the words and select Copy Link to Highlight from the menu that appears. Just make sure it’s an actual link—if you highlight, drag, and drop normal text, it’ll only search Google for those words.
How to drag and drop a link on a phone
Oddly enough, you can’t do this on an Android phone (or at least we haven’t figured out how after a fair amount of time poking around). But if you use Chrome on an iPhone, you can. And because Safari and Chrome act similarly on Apple devices, this will work in Safari as well.
Here, press and hold your finger on a link. A popup menu will appear, but if you drag away from it, the link should turn into a floating preview with a green plus icon. (There were a few times this balked and wouldn’t work, but closing and reopening Chrome fixed it.) Then, still holding the link with one finger, use another finger to tap the address bar at the top to open Chrome’s menu options. Keep holding onto that link, use your second finger to tap the tab list icon (a square with a number in it) at the bottom of the screen. Doing so will allow you to view all your open tabs, and you can drag and place the link anywhere you want, including into an incognito tab or onto another device using the icons at the top of the screen.
There, now you can say “I know all the ways to open a link in Google Chrome.” We are positive doing so will make you the life of any party.