Setting the Default Target

Setting the Default Target

A link, by default, opens in the same window or frame that contains the link. You can choose another target for each link individually, as described on page 108, or specify a default target for all the links on a page.

Figure. Use the base tag to set the default target (in this case the characters window) in order to save typing. Notice that I no longer have to specify the target for the links in the first paragraph. This document is equivalent to the one shown in Figure.

To set a default target for a page:

In the head section of your Web page, type <base.

Type target="title", where title is the name of the window or frame in which all the links on the page should open, by default.

Type /> to complete the base tag.


  • Target names are case sensitive! In addition, you should always enclose them in quotation marks.

  • You can override the default target specified in the base tag by adding a target attribute to an individual link (see page 108).

  • While the base tag is part of (X)HTML strict, the target attribute is not. I use it anyway (see the last tip on page 108).

  • You can also use the base tag to set the base URL for constructing relative URLs. This can be particularly useful when a Perl CGI script (see page 253), located off in the cgi-bin directory, is generating the (X)HTML page, and you want to reference a bunch of images or links in the main part of your server. Use <base href="base.url" /> where base.url is the URL that all relative links should be constructed from. Put another way, the URL reflects the virtual location of the generated (X)HTML page.

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