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_Parent _self _blank _top Frame Specifications

Article by:  Jeff Anderson  ( 1362 ) (3/25/2002)
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Summary: How to specify frames and how to break out of them using standard link tags.
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_Parent _self _blank _top Frame Target Specifications

Specifying the correct frame in your link tags seems one of the trickier aspects of HTML for beginners to get to grips with, but in fact it's not that difficult.

Calling specific frames

If you want a link to change the page in another frame (for example in our frame navigation tutorial we had a left hand navigation frame which changes the right hand content frame), you need to give each frame its own name, and then specify that name in the link. Here's how the frameset might appear:

<HEAD><TITLE>My First Frame Page</TITLE>

<FRAMESET COLS="25%,75%">
<FRAME NAME="navigation" SRC="/html/frames/navigation_page.htm">
<FRAME NAME="content" SRC="/html/frames/content_page.htm">

Each of our two frame pages has it's own NAME attribute. Now here is the code for a link within the navigation frame which causes a new page to load within the content pain:
<a href="/html/frames/new_content.htm" target="content">New Content Page Link Text</a>

The target attribute is what does the trick here. It tells the browser that the frame labelled 'content' should be loaded with the new page "/html/frames/new_content.htm".

Using target="_top"

target="_top" within a link tag causes the new page to load in the full body of the window, which is useful if you ever want to break out of the frameset you have created and have a frameless page.

Using target="_parent"

target="_parent" is similar to target="_top" but will refer to the immediate parent of a frame. In more advanced frame usage there may be several nested frames and this allows more control over which frames are specified. (It's actually something developers rarely need to use).

Using target="_blank"

target="_blank" causes the link to open in a totally new browser window, leaving the page with the refering link still open behind it. Unlike Javascript pop ups, however, the developer has no control over the size of the resulting window - it just depends what the browser happened to do the last time they shut their browser down!

Using target="_self"

target="_self" loads the page within the same frame as the link tag.

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