By Andrew


2010-05-25 16:39:47 8 Comments

I would like to create an HTML button that acts like a link. So, when you click the button, it redirects to a page. I would like it to be as accessible as possible.

I would also like it so there aren't any extra characters, or parameters in the URL.

How can I achieve this?


Based on the answers posted so far, I am currently doing this:

<form method="get" action="/page2">
    <button type="submit">Continue</button>
</form>

but the problem with this is that in Safari and Internet Explorer, it adds a question mark character to the end of the URL. I need to find a solution that doesn't add any characters to the end of the URL.

There are two other solutions to do this: Using JavaScript or styling a link to look like a button.

Using JavaScript:

<button onclick="window.location.href='/page2'">Continue</button>

But this obviously requires JavaScript, and for that reason it is less accessible to screen readers. The point of a link is to go to another page. So trying to make a button act like a link is the wrong solution. My suggestion is that you should use a link and style it to look like a button.

<a href="/link/to/page2">Continue</a>

30 comments

@ghoppe 2010-05-25 16:41:42

<form>
    <input type="button" value="Home Page" onclick="window.location.href='http://www.wherever.com'"> 
</form>

@Pekka 2010-05-25 16:47:20

@Robusto that was a snarky comment about the empty space that used to be there :) This is not a good solution IMO, as it won't work without JavaScript.

@Sean Patrick Floyd 2010-05-25 16:49:45

@Pekka: yup, and also it's not even well-formed xhtml

@NimChimpsky 2013-04-26 10:14:22

if using form just use a submit, if using onclick why bother with the form. -1

@Peter Mortensen 2014-07-21 15:23:45

It is not well-formed HTML. The tag input does not have an ending tag.

@ghoppe 2014-07-21 19:38:51

@PeterMortensen According to the HTML spec, the input element is a void element. It must have a start tag but must not have an end tag.

@Kamil Kiełczewski 2020-06-28 11:11:46

Try

.abutton { 
  background: #bada55; padding: 5px; border-radius: 5px; 
  transition: 1s; text-decoration: none; color: black;
}
.abutton:hover { background: #2a2;  }
<a href="https://example.com" class="abutton">Continue</a>

@sosu alfred 2020-05-28 17:07:46

If you're using a css library or a theme just apply the classes of a button to the anchor/link tag.

Below is an example with OneUI

  <a  class="btn-block-option" href="">
    <i class="si si-reload"></i>
  </a>

@BalusC 2010-05-25 16:40:49

HTML

The plain HTML way is to put it in a <form> wherein you specify the desired target URL in the action attribute.

<form action="https://google.com">
    <input type="submit" value="Go to Google" />
</form>

If necessary, set CSS display: inline; on the form to keep it in the flow with the surrounding text. Instead of <input type="submit"> in above example, you can also use <button type="submit">. The only difference is that the <button> element allows children.

You'd intuitively expect to be able to use <button href="https://google.com"> analogous with the <a> element, but unfortunately no, this attribute does not exist according to HTML specification.

CSS

If CSS is allowed, simply use an <a> which you style to look like a button using among others the appearance property (it's only not supported in Internet Explorer).

<a href="https://google.com" class="button">Go to Google</a>
a.button {
    -webkit-appearance: button;
    -moz-appearance: button;
    appearance: button;

    text-decoration: none;
    color: initial;
}

Or pick one of those many CSS libraries like Bootstrap.

<a href="https://google.com" class="btn btn-primary">Go to Google</a>

JavaScript

If JavaScript is allowed, set the window.location.href.

<input type="button" onclick="location.href='https://google.com';" value="Go to Google" />

Instead of <input type="button"> in above example, you can also use <button>. The only difference is that the <button> element allows children.

@Pekka 2010-05-25 16:44:49

Simple and nice. A fine solution. Add display: inline to the form to keep the button in the flow.

@Andrew 2010-05-25 20:03:23

in safari, this adds a question mark to the end of the url...is there a way to do it that doesn't add anything to the url?

@Pekka 2010-05-25 20:09:25

@Andrew that is probably because of the GET method used by default by the form everywhere but in IE. You could switch the form method to POST but that would have other consequences, namely when you use the history to browse back after clicking the button. It may be unavoidable (it will have no effect anyway).

@Vladimir 2014-02-04 16:08:32

@BalusC Nice solution, but if it is inside some other form (parent form), then pressing this button redirects to address in the parent's form action attribute.

@BalusC 2014-02-04 16:52:46

@Wlad: nesting forms is illegal in HTML anyway. Browser's behavior is unspecified and should not be relied upon.

@Sam Vloeberghs 2014-03-02 16:14:07

@Wlad if you'd like this functionality, using a form, "inside" the form, keeping it "legal", you could place it outside the parent form and position it using css

@user1752532 2014-04-29 09:11:11

Is it just me or is the <button> tag missing an obvious href attribute?

@Sam 2014-07-19 15:59:28

I like to add style="cursor:pointer;" to make act like a link also.

@birchbark 2014-12-25 16:33:54

This will not work when the page your linking to already has get variables encoded in it (i.e. http://domain.com/search?query=test). Compound that with the fact that it will add a question mark and I really feel this should not be chosen as the correct answer -- it encourages people to use a hack that will eventually fail in edge cases.

@Tejasvi Hegde 2015-01-16 13:56:20

Looks simple and nice, but may have side effects if not considered properly. i.e. creating 2nd form in page, nested form etc.

@BalusC 2015-01-16 13:59:46

@Tejasvi: "Side effects"? Those things are just basic HTML mistakes. The HTML developer would then better take a step back and restart learning basic HTML.

@Henry 2015-02-04 03:27:19

This is not really a great solution semantically. <a href=""> is the correct way to create a link. Plus you might run into some difficulty if your site is https and you're using this method to link to a non https page.

@BoltClock 2016-04-24 11:37:21

@gerdi: Why would the href attribute make sense on the button element, let alone obviously so? A button is not a hyperlink. That said, perhaps XHTML 2 will be of interest to you...

@Victor 2016-05-21 10:42:17

What if I want CTRL + Click to open the link in a new tab? This won't work with a button

@MohitC 2016-09-20 14:07:21

how do I say target="_blank" in the javascript one?

@Brambor 2018-01-02 17:07:51

I used that but in the end I had to copy all button attributes to this class so that the button looks exactly the same. Without it text of the button barely fit within the button borders.

@Muhammad Omer Aslam 2018-01-26 15:10:45

this would only mimic opening the link in the target window rather than target blank

@sijones 2018-12-27 05:24:30

this seems to work:<a href="w3schools.com"> <button> Button </button> </a>

@compski 2019-11-28 14:54:21

Unfortunately the Company Outlook blocks the button unless you press additional step "View in Browser". Any ideas how to get around that?

@Adam Hey 2020-04-20 16:24:55

Why would you have a form submit approach just for navigation?? Ridiculous

@BalusC 2020-04-20 16:35:23

@AdamHey: indeed.

@Lucretiel 2020-07-26 18:34:47

The problem is the "A that looks like a button" is that it doesn't automatically respond to the enter key, right? @AdamHey perhaps because the destination of the link is dynamic based on the content of the form?

@MoMo 2014-08-13 03:49:36

If you want to avoid having to use a form or an input and you're looking for a button-looking link, you can create good-looking button links with a div wrapper, an anchor and an h1 tag. You'd potentially want this so you can freely place the link-button around your page. This is especially useful for horizontally centering buttons and having vertically-centered text inside of them. Here's how:

Your button will be comprised of three nested pieces: a div wrapper, an anchor, and an h1, like so:

.link-button-wrapper {
    width: 200px;
    height: 40px;
    box-shadow: inset 0px 1px 0px 0px #ffffff;
    border-radius: 4px;
    background-color: #097BC0;
    box-shadow: 0px 2px 4px gray;
    display: block;
    border:1px solid #094BC0;
}
.link-button-wrapper > a {
    display: inline-table;
    cursor: pointer;
    text-decoration: none;
    height: 100%;
    width:100%;
}
.link-button-wrapper > a > h1 {
    margin: 0 auto;
    display: table-cell;
    vertical-align: middle;
    color: #f7f8f8;
    font-size: 18px;
    font-family: cabinregular;
    text-align: center;
}
<div class="link-button-wrapper">
    <a href="your/link/here">
        <h1>Button!</h1>
    </a>
</div>

Here's a jsFiddle to check it out and play around with it.

Benefits of this setup: 1. Making the div wrapper display: block makes it easy to center (using margin: 0 auto) and position (while an <a> is inline and harder to positionand not possible to center).

  1. You could just make the <a> display:block, move it around, and style it as a button, but then vertically aligning text inside of it becomes hard.

  2. This allows you to make the <a> display: inline-table and the <h1> display: table-cell, which allows you to use vertical-align: middle on the <h1> and center it vertically (which is always nice on a button). Yes, you could use padding, but if you want your button to dynamically resize, that won't be as clean.

  3. Sometimes when you embed an <a> within a div, only the text is clickable, this setup makes the whole button clickable.

  4. You don't have to deal with forms if you're just trying to move to another page. Forms are meant for inputting information, and they should be reserved for that.

  5. Allows you to cleanly separte the button styling and text styling from each other (stretch advantage? Sure, but CSS can get nasty-looking so it's nice to decompose it).

It definitely made my life easier styling a mobile website for variable-sized screens.

@Soren 2016-05-14 19:58:11

You actually get a reasonable button without any CSS at all

@Adam 2010-05-25 16:44:27

<button onclick="location.href='http://www.example.com'" type="button">
         www.example.com</button>

Note that the type="button" attribute is important, since its missing value default is the Submit Button state.

@Benjamin Crouzier 2012-12-10 14:15:40

Insn't it window.location.href='http://www.example.com' ? location.href doesn't seem to work for me in IE9...

@Adam 2012-12-10 17:56:04

@pinouchon Should work. window is implied. Could be an IE9 bug, stackoverflow.com/questions/7690645/…

@kenitech 2014-02-03 19:17:32

It seems that if you don't specify type="button" this won't always work. Looks like the button will default to "submit"

@bennos 2014-06-16 11:02:11

If you want to open the link in a new window/tab use: onclick="window.open('example.com','_blank');"

@Niels Keurentjes 2014-07-20 13:26:10

@kenitech correct, according to specs: "The missing value default is the Submit Button state."

@Irshu 2014-11-25 16:35:02

but user cannot right click open in new tab, for that to work , u need the anchor tag

@user2534035 2014-12-08 11:56:51

@kenitech how to specify type="button"? I mean what object do you use? (input) ?

@kenitech 2014-12-09 18:51:26

@RehanMehdi This was a long time ago. I guess I was saying <input type="button" or something.

@Navin 2018-05-05 23:57:24

Please don't do this. It breaks so many things such as the right-click context menu for links.

@Damian Green 2018-08-09 20:23:34

Note that the "location.href" part is simply JS. It resets the "window" object to have a new location with an href of whatever. Thus you could use other JS commands here as well, for instance, if you wanted to open the link in a new tab, you could use: <button type="button" onclick="window.open('https://....', '_blank');">.

@Lucian Minea 2014-02-11 15:29:15

It is actualy very simple and without using any form elements. You can just use the <a> tag with a button inside :).

Like this:

<a href="http://www.google.com" target="_parent"><button>Click me !</button></a>

And it will load the href into the same page. Want a new page? Just use target="_blank".

EDIT

Couple of years later, while my solution still works, keep in mind you can use a lot of CSS to make it look whatever you want. This was just a fast way.

@Hyder B. 2015-03-25 06:59:57

While this works, it should not be considered as a solution but a workaround because if you pass this code through W3C validator, you will get errors.

@Lucian Minea 2017-06-22 07:15:45

Yes, Hyder B. you're right, but one you also should keep in mind that the standards are only raw guides. As a programmer you should always think outside the box and try things that are not in the book ;) .

@Roko C. Buljan 2019-08-26 09:35:17

NEVER wrap other anchors or form-action elements into Anchor.

@Lucian Minea 2019-08-27 10:07:52

Aha, and why is that ?

@Stephen R 2020-01-30 16:09:48

You should use <button type="button">... so that it doesn't by default function as a Submit

@Vikash Chauhan 2019-08-02 13:04:27

if you are using SSL Certificate

<a href="https://www.google.com" target="_blank"><button>Click me !</button></a>

@Nasir Khan 2019-07-02 09:05:39

Type window.location and press enter in your browser console. Then you can get the clear idea what location contains

   hash: ""
   host: "stackoverflow.com"
   hostname: "stackoverflow.com"
   href: "https://stackoverflow.com/questions/2906582/how-to-create-an-html-button- 
   that-acts-like-a-link"
   origin: "https://stackoverflow.com"
   pathname: "/questions/2906582/how-to-create-an-html-button-that-acts-like-a-link"
   port: ""
   protocol: "https:"

You can set any value from here.

So For redirect another page you can set href value with your link.

   window.location.href = your link

In Your Case-

   <button onclick="window.location.href='www.google.com'">Google</button>

@Joshua Michael Waggoner 2019-05-04 05:32:17

In JavaScript

setLocation(base: string) {
  window.location.href = base;
}

In HTML

<button onclick="setLocation('/<whatever>')>GO</button>"

@Adnan Toky 2019-03-27 18:21:17

7 Ways to do that:

  1. Using window.location.href = 'URL'
  2. Using window.location.replace('URL')
  3. Using window.location = 'URL'
  4. Using window.open('URL')
  5. Using window.location.assign('URL')
  6. Using HTML form
  7. Using HTML anchor tag

<!-- Using window.location.href = 'URL' -->
<button onclick='window.location.href = "https://stackoverflow.com"'>
  Click Me
</button>

<!-- Using window.location.replace('URL') -->
<button onclick='window.location.replace("https://stackoverflow.com")'>
  Click Me
</button>

<!-- Using window.location = 'URL' -->
<button onclick='window.location = "https://stackoverflow.com"'>
  Click Me
</button>

<!-- Using window.open('URL') -->
<button onclick='window.open("https://stackoverflow.com","_self","","")'>
  Click Me
</button>

<!-- Using window.location.assign('URL') -->
<button onclick='window.location.assign("http://www.stackoverflow.com")'>
  Click Me
</button>

<!-- Using HTML form -->
<form action='https://stackoverflow.com' method='get'>
  <input type='submit' value='Click Me'/>
</form>

<!-- Using HTML anchor tag -->
<a href='https://stackoverflow.com'>
  <button>Click Me</button>
</a>

@Hayz 2019-02-25 18:51:38

You can use javascript:

<html>
<button onclick='window.location = "http://www.google.com"'>
            Google
        </button>

</html>

Replace http://www.google.com with your website, make sure to include http:// before the URL.

@Anders Martini 2014-12-10 15:21:15

You could also set the buttons type-property to "button" (it makes it not submit the form), and then nest it inside a link (makes it redirect the user).

This way you could have another button in the same form that does submit the form, in case that's needed. I also think this is preferable in most cases over setting the form method and action to be a link (unless it's a search-form I guess...)

Example:

<form method="POST" action="/SomePath">
  <input type="text" name="somefield" />
  <a href="www.target.com"><button type="button">Go to Target!</button></a>
  <button type="submit">submit form</button>
</form>

This way the first button redirects the user, while the second submits the form.

Be careful to make sure the button doesn't trigger any action, as that will result in a conflict. Also as Arius pointed out, you should be aware that, for the above reason, this isn't strictly speaking considered valid HTML, according to the standard. It does however work as expected in Firefox and Chrome, but I haven't yet tested it for Internet Explorer.

@Arius 2014-12-10 15:23:23

Element 'button' cannot be nested within element 'a'.

@Anders Martini 2014-12-12 13:54:59

according to the standard no, But in my experience this works fine though. Haven't cross-browser tested it extensively yet, but at least FF and Chrome seem to handle it just fine, with expected behaviour.

@Anders Martini 2014-12-12 15:53:42

Arius: Read up a bit, experimented some more, and found that a button element can in fact be nested inside a <a> element, as long as the button element does not have its own action applied (since that would obviously result in a conflict - which action will the browser perform? the buttons or the <a>'s ?) but as long as you make sure the button-element itself doesn't trigger any action once clicked,this should work just fine (probably shouldn't be considered a best practice though)

@Arius 2014-12-14 15:33:32

It's not about possibility. This is just against HTML5 specification and that's all.

@Jasch1 2014-11-16 01:39:53

I used this for a website I'm currently working on and it works great!. If you want some cool styling too I'll put the CSS down here.

input[type="submit"] {
  background-color: white;
  width: 200px;
  border: 3px solid #c9c9c9;
  font-size: 24pt;
  margin: 5px;
  color: #969696;
}

input[type="submit"]:hover {
  color: white;
  background-color: #969696;
  transition: color 0.2s 0.05s ease;
  transition: background-color 0.2s 0.05s ease;
  cursor: pointer;
}
<input type="submit" name="submit" onClick="window.location= 'http://example.com'">

Working JSFiddle here.

@C.Gadd 2018-08-03 10:05:30

Why not just place your button inside of a reference tag e.g

<a href="https://www.google.com/"><button>Next</button></a>

This seems to work perfectly for me and does not add any %20 tags to the link, just how you want it. I have used a link to google to demonstrate.

You could of course wrap this in a form tag but it is not necessary.

When linking another local file just put it in the same folder and add the file name as the reference. Or specify the location of the file if in is not in the same folder.

<a href="myOtherFile"><button>Next</button></a>

This does not add any character onto the end of the URL either, however it does have the files project path as the url before ending with the name of the file. e.g

If my project structure was...

.. denotes a folder - denotes a file while four | denote a sub directory or file in parent folder

..public
|||| ..html
|||| |||| -main.html
|||| |||| -secondary.html

If I open main.html the URL would be,

http://localhost:0000/public/html/main.html?_ijt=i7ms4v9oa7blahblahblah

However, when I clicked the button inside main.html to change to secondary.html, the URL would be,

http://localhost:0000/public/html/secondary.html 

No special characters included at the end of the URL. I hope this helps. By the way - (%20 denotes a space in a URL its encoded and inserted in the place of them.)

Note: The localhost:0000 will obviously not be 0000 you'll have your own port number there.

Furthermore the ?_ijt=xxxxxxxxxxxxxx at the end off the main.html URL, x is determined by your own connection so obviously will not be equal to mine.


It might seem like I'm stating some really basic points but I just want to explain as best as I can. Thank you for reading and I hope this help someone at the very least. Happy programming.

@EternalHour 2015-07-02 19:03:46

As of HTML5, buttons support the formaction attribute. Best of all, no Javascript or trickery is needed.

<form>
  <button formaction="http://stackoverflow.com">Go to Stack Overflow!</button>
</form>

Caveats

  • Must be surrounded by <form> tags.
  • <button> type must be "submit" (or unspecified), I couldn't get it working with type "button." Which brings up point below.
  • Overrides the default action in a form. In other words, if you do this inside another form it's going to cause a conflict.

Reference: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/HTML/Element/button#attr-formaction Browser Support: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/HTML/Element/button#Browser_compatibility

@Luca Detomi 2015-10-02 08:44:06

Just to complete information: formaction is compatible since "IE world" since version 10 and above

@EternalHour 2015-10-02 13:18:58

@LucaDetomi - That is correct, however it is HTML5 specific. I've added another link with support data.

@pseudosavant 2015-10-05 00:57:37

@EternalHour Genuinely curious. In the examples you and I have provided is there supposed to be an appreciable difference between the behavior of those two forms? In this specific case does <button formaction> === <form action>?

@EternalHour 2015-10-05 05:20:59

@pseudosavant - The difference is that your answer relies on Javascript in order to work. In this solution, no Javascript is needed, it's straight HTML.

@pseudosavant 2015-10-05 19:15:21

@EternalHour Sorry, I should have been more clear. Obviously the JS makes mine different but it is just a progressive enhancement. The form still goes to that link without the JS. I was curious about the intended behavior of just the HTML <form>s in each of our examples. Is formaction on a button supposed to add the ? to an empty GET submission? In this JSBin it looks like the HTML behaves exactly the same for both.

@hbulens 2017-05-03 02:55:27

If you want to open the uri in a new tab, you should add formtarget="_blank" to the button.

@Adsy2010 2017-06-14 21:23:26

Its useful to note that this only works when wrapped by form tags. Found that out the hard way...

@EternalHour 2017-10-30 20:55:18

@Adsy2010 - Yeah unfortunately, that's why I put them there. I did add some additional information to the answer that specifies that.

@Katinka Hesselink 2018-09-20 09:59:37

Just to let readers know: this DOES work in IE11, when using html5 and an enclosing form tag.

@Spongman 2018-11-12 22:15:42

unfortunately, doesn't work when formaction='#anchor'.

@user10736793 2019-01-26 00:56:31

Interesting fact: You can have multiple buttons (and multiple urls) inside the form tags :)

@Meir Gabay 2018-03-08 15:07:30

If you want to redirect for pages which reside within your website, then then here's my method - I've added the attribute href to the button, and onclick assigned this.getAttribute('href') to document.location.href

** It won't work if you reference for urls outsite of your domain because of 'X-Frame-Options' to 'sameorigin'.

Sample code:

<button onclick="document.location.href=this.getAttribute('href');" href="/">Home</button>

@Bern 2012-12-05 08:59:29

If it's the visual appearance of a button you're looking for in a basic HTML anchor tag then you can use the Twitter Bootstrap framework to format any of the following common HTML type links/buttons to appear as a button. Please note the visual differences between version 2, 3 or 4 of the framework:

<a class="btn" href="">Link</a>
<button class="btn" type="submit">Button</button>
<input class="btn" type="button" value="Input">
<input class="btn" type="submit" value="Submit">

Bootstrap (v4) sample appearance:

Sample output of Boostrap v4 buttons

Bootstrap (v3) sample appearance:

Sample output of Boostrap v3 buttons

Bootstrap (v2) sample appearance:

Sample output of Boostrap v2 buttons

@scottkellum 2015-05-12 21:16:33

Seems a little overkill for styling a single button, no? With border, padding, background, and other CSS effects you can style buttons and links to look similar without bringing over an entire framework. The methodology Bootstrap uses is good, however using Bootstrap seems excessive.

@Bhawna Jain 2017-07-21 05:59:07

@Nicolas,following worked for me as yours didn't have type="button" due to which it started behaving as submit type..since i already have one submit type.it didn't worked for me ....and now you can either add class to button or to <a> to get required layout:

<a href="http://www.google.com/">
    <button type="button">Click here</button>
</a>

@Uriahs Victor 2017-01-16 04:24:49

You can simply put an a tag around the element:

<a href="http://google.com" target="_blank">
<button>My Button</button>
</a>

https://jsfiddle.net/hj6gob8b/

@Bart Read 2017-01-22 12:53:48

I'm not sure why this hasn't got more upvotes, to be honest. It works exactly as I need, and I did it this way because I wanted search engine spiders to be able to spot and follow the link. With JS that probably wouldn't have happened, and I'm not too sure of search engine behaviour when it comes to forms. It also doesn't result in any layout or behavioural side-effects (although I did assign a class to the anchor and set the text-decoration for that class to none).

@Quentin 2017-01-22 16:55:58

No, you can't. HTML forbids nesting <button> inside <a>.

@Quentin 2017-01-22 16:57:57

This is essentially the same as this answer from years earlier.

@Uriahs Victor 2017-01-22 20:43:29

If it forbids it then why does it work? :) No serious developer takes heed to everything W3C validator says...try passing Facebook or Google or any huge website through there...The web isn't waiting for anyone

@Jacob 2017-05-23 21:42:04

@UriahsVictor It may work today, but one day browser vendors may decide to change the behavior as it isn't valid.

@Uriahs Victor 2017-05-24 05:58:05

@JacobAlvarez browser maintainers know better. This isn't something uncommon, they wouldn't want to go down as the browser which broke the internet.

@Jacob 2017-05-24 15:04:46

@UriahsVictor Flash and Java applets were pretty common too.

@Zeek2 2017-06-27 07:50:36

FYI HTML also forbids the opposite (according to VS2015): nesting <a> inside <button> but that also works on: IE11, Edge, Firefox, Chrome and Safari and some/all mobile browsers.

@Elnaz 2016-11-21 13:07:00

Also you can use a button:

For example, in ASP.NET Core syntax:

// Some other tags
 <form method="post">
      <input asp-for="YourModelPropertyOrYourMethodInputName"
      value="@TheValue" type="hidden" />
      <button type="submit" class="link-button" formaction="/TheDestinationController/TheDestinationActionMethod">
      @(TextValue)
      </button>
  </form>
// Other tags...


<style>
       .link-button {
        background: none !important;
        border: none;
        padding: 0 !important;
        color: #20a8d8;
        cursor: pointer;
    }
</style>

@Nicolas Bouvrette 2016-05-19 23:29:45

There seems to be three solutions to this problem (all with pros and cons).

Solution 1: Button in a form.

<form method="get" action="/page2">
    <button type="submit">Continue</button>
</form>

But the problem with this is that in some version of popular browsers such as Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer, it adds a question mark character to the end of the URL. So in other words for the code above your URL will end up looking like this:

http://someserver/pages2?

There is one way to fix this, but it will require server-side configuration. One example using Apache Mod_rewrite would be to redirect all requests with a trailing ? to their corresponding URL without the ?. Here is an example using .htaccess, but there is a full thread here:

RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} \?\ HTTP [NC]
RewriteRule ^/?(index\.cfm)? /? [R=301,L]

Similar configurations can vary depending on the webserver and stack used. So a summary of this approach:

Pros:

  1. This is a real button, and semantically it makes sense.
  2. Since it is a real button, it will also act like a real button (e.g. draggable behavior and/or mimic a click when pressing space bar when active).
  3. No JavaScript, no complex style required.

Cons:

  1. Trailing ? looks ugly in some browsers. This can be fixed by a hack (in some cases) using POST instead of GET, but the clean way is to have a server-side redirect. The downside with the server side redirect is that it will cause an extra HTTP call for these links because of the 304 redirect.
  2. Adds extra <form> element
  3. Element positioning when using multiple forms can be tricky and becomes even worse when dealing with responsive designs. Some layout can become impossible to achieve with this solution depending on the order of the elements. This can end up impacting usability if the design is impacted by this challenge.

Solution 2: Using JavaScript.

You can use JavaScript to trigger onclick and other events to mimic the behavior of a link using a button. The example below could be improve and remove from the HTML, but it is there simply to illustrate the idea:

<button onclick="window.location.href='/page2'">Continue</button>

Pros:

  1. Simple (for basic requirement) and keep semantic while not requiring an extra form.
  2. Since it is a real button, it will also act like a real button (e.g. draggable behavior and/or mimic a click when pressing space bar when active).

Cons:

  1. Requires JavaScript which means less accessible. This is not ideal for a base (core) element such as a link.

Solution 3: Anchor (link) styled like a button.

Styling a link like a button is relatively easy and can provide similar experience across different browsers. Bootstrap does this, but it is also easy to achieve on your own using simple styles.

Pros:

  1. Simple (for basic requirement) and good cross-browser support.
  2. Does not need a <form> to work.
  3. Does not need JavaScript to work.

Cons:

  1. Semantic is sort of broken, because you want a button that acts like a link and not a link that acts like a button.
  2. It will not reproduce all behaviors of solution #1. It will not support the same behavior as button. For example, links react differently when dragged. Also the "space bar" link trigger will not work without some extra JavaScript code. It will add a lot of complexity since browsers are not consistent on how they support keypress events on buttons.

Conclusion

Solution #1 (Button in a form) seems like the most transparent for users with minimal work required. If your layout is not impacted by this choice and the server side tweak is feasible, this is a good option for cases where accessibility is the top priority (e.g. links on an error page or error messages).

If JavaScript is not an obstacle to your accessibility requirements, then solution #2 (JavaScript) would be preferred over #1 and #3.

If for some reason, accessibility is vital (JavaScript is not an option) but you are in a situation where your design and/or your server configuration is preventing you from using option #1, then solution #3 (Anchor styled like a button) is a good alternative solve this problem with minimal usability impact.

@pseudosavant 2015-05-05 22:58:30

I know there have been a lot of answers submitted, but none of them seemed to really nail the problem. Here is my take at a solution:

  1. Use the <form method="get"> method that the OP is starting with. This works really well, but it sometimes appends a ? to the URL. The ? is the main problem.
  2. Use jQuery/JavaScript to do the link following when JavaScript is enabled so that ? doesn't end up appended to the URL. It will seamlessly fallback to the <form> method for the very small fraction of users who don't have JavaScript enabled.
  3. The JavaScript code uses event delegation so you can attach an event listener before the <form> or <button> even exist. I'm using jQuery in this example, because it is quick and easy, but it can be done in 'vanilla' JavaScript as well.
  4. The JavaScript code prevents the default action from happening and then follows the link given in the <form> action attribute.

JSBin Example (code snippet can't follow links)

// Listen for any clicks on an element in the document with the `link` class
$(document).on('click', '.link', function(e) {
    // Prevent the default action (e.g. submit the form)
    e.preventDefault();

    // Get the URL specified in the form
    var url = e.target.parentElement.action;
    window.location = url;
});
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>

    <head>
        <script src="https://code.jquery.com/jquery-1.11.1.min.js"></script>
        <meta charset="utf-8">
        <title>Form buttons as links</title>
    </head>

    <body>
        <!-- Set `action` to the URL you want the button to go to -->
        <form method="get" action="http://stackoverflow.com/questions/2906582/how-to-create-an-html-button-that-acts-like-a-link">
            <!-- Add the class `link` to the button for the event listener -->
            <button type="submit" class="link">Link</button>
        </form>
    </body>

</html>

@Anees Hameed 2014-09-24 22:30:08

For HTML 5 and styled button along with image background

<a id="Navigate" href="http://www.google.com">
  <input 
    type="button"
    id="NavigateButton"
    style="
      background-image: url(http://cdn3.blogsdna.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Windows-Phone-7-Series-Icons-Pack.png);
      background-repeat: no-repeat;
      background-position: -272px -112px;
      cursor:pointer;
      height: 40px;
      width: 40px;
      border-radius: 26px;
      border-style: solid;
      border-color:#000;
      border-width: 3px;" title="Navigate"
    />
</a>

@Mark Amery 2015-10-04 14:28:22

Doesn't validate. Pasting into validator.w3.org/nu/#textarea gives Error: The element input must not appear as a descendant of the a element.

@saravanabawa 2015-01-24 06:59:50

If you are using an inside form, add the attribute type="reset" along with the button element. It will prevent the form action.

<button type="reset" onclick="location.href='http://www.example.com'">
    www.example.com
</button>

@Stephen R 2020-01-30 16:11:59

Only if you want it to reset your form. Use type="button"

@RedFilter 2010-05-25 16:42:24

Use:

<a href="http://www.stackoverflow.com/">
    <button>Click me</button>
</a>

Unfortunately, this markup is no longer valid in HTML5 and will neither validate nor always work as potentially expected. Use another approach.

@Robert Harvey 2010-05-25 16:50:44

@BalusC 2010-05-25 16:55:40

@Rob: that's not my problem :) Throw it at Meta and see. However the target attribute is imo on the edge.

@ilans 2014-11-09 15:42:15

If what you need is that it will look like a button, with emphasis on the gradient image, you can do this:

<a href="www.yourlink.com" class="btn btn-gradient"><i class="fa fa-home"> Button Text</i></a>

@corn on the cob 2020-07-21 10:30:50

You'll need some kind of https:// or http:// before the URL though. You can also link to local files using file:///

@Logan Wayne 2014-07-23 08:50:29

People who have answered using <a></a> attributes on a <button></button> was helpful.

BUT then recently, I encountered a problem when I used a link inside a <form></form>.

The button is now regarded like/as a submit button (HTML5). I've tried working a way around, and have found this method.

Create a CSS style button like the one below:

.btn-style{
    border : solid 1px #0088cc;
    border-radius : 6px;
    moz-border-radius : 6px;
    -webkit-box-shadow : 0px 0px 2px rgba(0,0,0,1.0);
    -moz-box-shadow : 0px 0px 2px rgba(0,0,0,1.0);
    box-shadow : 0px 0px 2px rgba(0,0,0,1.0);
    font-size : 18px;
    color : #696869;
    padding : 1px 17px;
    background : #eeeeee;
    background : -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, color-stop(0%,#eeeeee), color-stop(49%,#eeeeee), color-stop(72%,#cccccc), color-stop(100%,#eeeeee));
    background : -moz-linear-gradient(top, #eeeeee 0%, #eeeeee 49%, #cccccc 72%, #eeeeee 100%);
    background : -webkit-linear-gradient(top, #eeeeee 0%, #eeeeee 49%, #cccccc 72%, #eeeeee 100%);
    background : -o-linear-gradient(top, #eeeeee 0%, #eeeeee 49%, #cccccc 72%, #eeeeee 100%);
    background : -ms-linear-gradient(top, #eeeeee 0%, #eeeeee 49%, #cccccc 72%, #eeeeee 100%);
    background : linear-gradient(top, #eeeeee 0%, #eeeeee 49%, #cccccc 72%, #eeeeee 100%);
    filter : progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.gradient( startColorstr='#eeeeee', endColorstr='#eeeeee',GradientType=0 );

}

Or create a new one here : CSS Button Generator

And then create your link with a class tag named after the CSS style you have made:

<a href='link.php' class='btn-style'>Link</a>

Here's a fiddle:

JS Fiddle

@Blake A. Nichols 2014-08-07 20:02:31

Set the button type="button", that will allow you to click it without submitting the form.

@artie 2013-12-03 05:09:21

Going along with what a few others have added, you can go wild with just using a simple CSS class with no PHP, no jQuery code, just simple HTML and CSS.

Create a CSS class and add it to your anchor. The code is below.

.button-link {
    height:60px;
    padding: 10px 15px;
    background: #4479BA;
    color: #FFF;
    -webkit-border-radius: 4px;
    -moz-border-radius: 4px;
    border-radius: 4px;
    border: solid 1px #20538D;
    text-shadow: 0 -1px 0 rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.4);
    -webkit-box-shadow: inset 0 1px 0 rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.4), 0 1px 1px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.2);
    -moz-box-shadow: inset 0 1px 0 rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.4), 0 1px 1px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.2);
    box-shadow: inset 0 1px 0 rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.4), 0 1px 1px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.2);
}
.button-link:hover {
    background: #356094;
    border: solid 1px #2A4E77;
    text-decoration: none;
}

<HTML>
    <a class="button-link" href="http://www.go-some-where.com"
       target="_blank">Press Here to Go</a>

That is it. It is very easy to do and lets you be as creative as you'd like. You control the colors, the size, the shapes(radius), etc. For more detailsm, see the site I found this on.

@Pekka 2010-05-25 16:41:43

The only way to do this (except for BalusC's ingenious form idea!) is by adding a JavaScript onclick event to the button, which is not good for accessibility.

Have you considered styling a normal link like a button? You can't achieve OS specific buttons that way, but it's still the best way IMO.

@Web Logic 2010-05-25 16:44:03

I think he is talking about not only functionality (click) but also appearance.

@Pekka 2010-05-25 16:46:19

@Web Logic yup, that's why I'm talking about styling the link to look like a button.

@Pekka 2014-08-06 15:06:46

@ChrisMarisic there's many downsides to using onClick: it doesn't work with JS turned off; the user can't open a link in a new tab/window, nor copy the link into their clipboard for sharing; parsers and bots won't be able to recognize and follow the link; browsers with a "prefetch" feature won't recognize the link; and many more.

@Chris Marisic 2014-08-06 15:50:25

While those are valid points, I don't really think that really address accessibility. Did you mean usability, not accessibility? In web development accessibility is usually reserved to be specifically about whether users who have visual impairments can operate your application well.

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