When delving into the core aspects of HTML, the term ‘target’ often emerges as an HTML attribute of paramount importance. This attribute, when applied to HTML elements, largely determines how the linked document will open in web browsers such as Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, and Safari. This article provides an in-depth examination of the ‘target’ attribute, its syntax, values, browser support, and a few practical examples to better understand its application.

What is the Target Attribute in HTML?

Any reputable programming homework service would state that in HTML, the ‘target’ attribute is used within specific elements like ‘<a>’, ‘<form>’, and ‘<base>’ to specify where the linked document should be opened. The value assigned to this attribute dictates whether a new window or tab opens, whether the link will open:

  • in the same frame
  • a parent frameset
  • or the full body of the window.

In short, it influences the browsing experience by controlling the navigation among documents.


The syntax of the HTML ‘target’ attribute is straightforward. It is included inside the HTML element, and it is typically associated with the ‘<a>’ tag. Here’s a simple representation:

<a href="url" target="value">Link Text</a>

In the syntax above, ‘url’ represents the link you want to navigate to, ‘value’ is where you want the linked document to be displayed, and ‘Link Text’ is the visible part that users interact with.


There are several predefined values for the ‘target’ attribute that can be used to achieve the desired navigational outcomes. These values include ‘_blank’, ‘_self’, ‘_parent’, ‘_top’, and framename. Let’s examine these values more closely.


When the ‘target’ attribute is set to ‘_blank’, the linked document will open in a new window or tab. This is particularly useful when you want to keep your website open while your users visit another link.

<a href="https://www.example.com" target="_blank">Visit Example.com</a>

In the example above, ‘Visit Example.com’ is the link text that users click on. Upon clicking, the page ‘https://www.example.com‘ will open in a new tab or window, depending on the user’s browser settings.


‘_self’ is the default value of the target attribute. If ‘_self’ is set, the linked document opens in the same tab or window as the original document. This is useful when you want the user to navigate away from the current page.

<a href="https://www.example.com" target="_self">Visit Example.com</a>


‘_parent’ is used when a page is embedded within another page, and you want to load the linked document in the immediate parent frameset. A frameset is a group of named frames where you can display documents.

<a href="https://www.example.com" target="_parent">Visit Example.com</a>

In the example above, ‘Visit Example.com’ will load in the parent frameset.


‘_top’ is utilized when you want the linked document to load in the full body of the window, essentially replacing any current framesets.

<a href="https://www.example.com" target="_top">Visit Example.com</a>


In addition to the predefined values, the ‘target’ attribute also accepts a framename as a value. The framename must correspond to a named frame or iframe. When a framename is used, the linked document will load in the specified frame or iframe.

<iframe src="demo.html" name="myFrame"></iframe>
<a href="https://www.example.com" target="myFrame">Visit Example.com</a>

Browser Support

As of this writing, all modern web browsers including Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, and Safari support the ‘target’ attribute. Therefore, using the ‘target’ attribute in your HTML code should result in consistent behavior across different platforms and devices.


The target attribute in HTML plays an integral role in shaping the user’s navigation experience. By understanding its different values and knowing when to apply each, web developers can fine-tune the browsing experience to suit their specific needs and requirements. Whether it’s opening a linked document in a new tab with ‘_blank’, in the same frame with ‘_self’, in the parent frameset with ‘_parent’, or in the full body of the window with ‘_top’, the flexibility and control that the target attribute offers are indispensable to effective HTML coding.


What is the purpose of the “target” attribute in HTML?

The “target” attribute in HTML is used to specify where to open the linked document. It can determine whether the link should open in a new window or tab, the same frame as it was clicked, the parent frameset, or the full body of the window.

What are the different values that can be used with the “target” attribute?

The “target” attribute accepts several values including “_blank”, “_self”, “_parent”, “_top”, and framename. Each value serves a unique purpose in determining how and where the linked document opens.

To open a link in a new window or tab, the “target” attribute should be set to “_blank”. For example: <a href="https://www.example.com" target="_blank">Visit Example.com</a>

Can the “target” attribute be used with elements other than <a> tags?

Yes, apart from ‘<a>’ tag, the ‘target’ attribute can be used with ‘<form>’ and ‘<base>’ elements as well.

How does the “target” attribute affect the navigation of framesets?

The “target” attribute can affect the navigation of framesets when it is set to “_parent” or “_top”. “_parent” loads the linked document in the immediate parent frameset, while “_top” loads the linked document in the full body of the window, replacing all current framesets.

What is the Differences between “_blank” and “_self” in HTML target attribute?

The difference lies in how the linked document is opened. “_blank” opens the linked document in a new window or tab, while “_self”, which is the default value, opens the linked document in the same window or tab.

Why use target attribute in HTML?

The ‘target’ attribute allows developers to control where a linked document will be opened, providing a finer level of control over the browsing experience. This can improve user experience by allowing navigation to occur in a way that’s optimal for the content and context.

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