How to preview a link in Safari for Mac without opening a new tab


Did you know that you can quickly preview any link in macOS Safari browser by using a special trackpad gesture? Safari contains an extremely handy little feature, one that often goes unnoticed, which allows you to quickly preview pages without leaving the current page.

Stop wasting your time opening new pages and new tabs just to see what lurks behind a link. Instead, learn to wield the power of the link-previewing three-finger trackpad tap!

First and foremost, make sure the Look up option is enabled in System Preferences → Trackpad → Point & Click:

System Preferences TrackPad Point and Click


Previewing a link in Safari

To preview a link in Safari, while maintaining your focus on the current page, do the following:

  • Hover over the link that you wish to preview
  • Tap on the trackpad with three fingers

You’ll immediately notice a new pop-up preview window that loads the URL of the link you tapped in an interface that temporarily hovers above the current web page. You can then use your trackpad to scroll on the previewed page, just like you would in a normal Safari window.

Safari Preview Trackpad Lookup

If you want to load the full page in its own full-sized tab, simply click on the preview overlay. You also have the option of adding the page directly to your Reading List by using the Add to Reading List button in the upper right-hand corner of the preview window.

This truly is an unheralded, underreported, and under-appreciated feature of the Safari browser in macOS. Did you know about this preview gesture? If not, do you plan on using it going forward?