Best Practices: Opening A Document In A New (non-D2L Content Viewer) Window

For those wrestling with the issue of Desire2Learn blocking links in documents displayed in the D2L Content Viewer, there is one workaround that seems to work across web browsers and computer operating systems.  The workaround makes use of D2L “Documents” to link to files and then display them outside of the D2L Content Viewer.  Please note that this workaround requires the use of PDF documents to work properly.  However, Word and PowerPoint documents are easily saved in the PDF format by using the 2007, 2010, 2013 versions of Word and/or PowerPoint on Windows-based computers. All Apple Macintosh computers can save files in the PDF format.

The option to make the file open in a new window is available when the URL is inserted into the D2L Document.  Start by clicking on “Content” and going to the Table of Contents.  Select the Module in which you would like the list of documents to appear.

From the “New” action menu, select “Document.”  When the screen appears for you to create the new document, give the document a title.  When you are ready to insert the link to document you want displayed, click the “Insert Quicklink” button on the toolbar in the text editor.

When the “Insert a Quicklink” dialogue box appears, change the “What do you want to insert?” pull-down menu to “Course File,” after which the dialogue box will reload with new options.  Click the “Add a File” button, and select the file (upload a file if necessary) with the hyperlinks.  In the “Link Caption” text box enter the text you would like to have displayed as the link to the document you just selected.  Then comes the most important part.  In the “Open In” area, select the radio button for “New Window.”  Click the blue “Insert” button, and save your D2L document.

Now when you click on the link to the PDF file, it should open in a new tab or an entirely new window (depending on your browser and computer operating system).  The links in that document should now work and open the linked site(s).


Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.
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