Home How to create an HTML button that acts like a link?
Reply: 26

How to create an HTML button that acts like a link?

Andrew
1#
Andrew Published in 2010-05-25 16:39:47Z

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>
BalusC
2#
BalusC Reply to 2016-08-04 10:53:36Z

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="http://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="http://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 (only Internet Explorer support is currently (July 2015) still poor).

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

JavaScript

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

<input type="button" onclick="location.href='http://google.com';" value="Go to Google" />
Peter Mortensen
3#
Peter Mortensen Reply to 2014-07-21 15:22:44Z
<form>
    <input TYPE="button" VALUE="Home Page"
        onclick="window.location.href='http://www.wherever.com'"> 
</form>
Peter Mortensen
4#
Peter Mortensen Reply to 2014-07-21 15:24:08Z

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.

Peter Mortensen
5#
Peter Mortensen Reply to 2015-10-28 20:14:57Z

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.

Ani Menon
6#
Ani Menon Reply to 2016-11-08 04:58:17Z
<button onclick="location.href='http://www.example.com'" type="button">
     www.example.com</button>
Bern
7#
Bern Reply to 2017-10-31 16:56:13Z

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:

Bootstrap (v3) sample appearance:

Bootstrap (v2) sample appearance:

MuffinTheMan
8#
MuffinTheMan Reply to 2013-03-30 22:46:54Z

Are there any downsides to doing something like the following?

<a class='nostyle' href='http://www.google.com/'>
    <span class='button'>Schedule</span>
</a>

Where a.nostyle is a class that has your link styling (where you can get rid of the standard link styling) and span.button is a class that has the styling for your "button" (background, border, gradient, etc.).

Maarek
9#
Maarek Reply to 2013-11-15 17:34:17Z

If you want to create a button that is used for a URL anywhere, create a button class for an anchor.

a.button {
    background-color: #999999;
    color: #FFFFFF !important;
    cursor: pointer;
    display: inline-block;
    font-weight: bold;
    padding: 5px 8px;
    text-align: center;
    -webkit-border-radius: 5px;
    border-radius: 5px;
}
.button:hover {
    text-decoration: none;
}
Peter Mortensen
10#
Peter Mortensen Reply to 2014-07-21 15:26:10Z

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.

lukeocom
11#
lukeocom Reply to 2014-01-16 05:46:59Z

Another option is to create a link in the button:

<button type="button"><a href="yourlink.com">Link link</a></button>

Then use CSS to style the link and button, so that the link takes up the entire space within the button (so there's no miss-clicking by the user):

button, button a{position:relative;}
button a{top:0;left:0;bottom:0;right:0;}

I have created a demo here.

Lucian Minea
12#
Lucian Minea Reply to 2016-10-12 06:12:35Z

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".

Community
13#
Community Reply to 2017-05-23 10:31:39Z

Regarding BalusC's reply,

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

I needed to add variables to the button and wasn't sure how. I ended up using input type hidden. I thought this might be helpful to others who found this page like myself.

Logan Wayne
14#
Logan Wayne Reply to 2014-07-23 08:50:29Z

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

Nemanja
15#
Nemanja Reply to 2014-08-04 02:48:12Z

Use it as data-href="index.html" inside the button tag.

Peter Mortensen
16#
Peter Mortensen Reply to 2015-10-28 20:21:44Z

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:

<div class="link-button-wrapper">
    <a href="your/link/here">
        <h1>Button!</h1>
    </a>
</div>

Then in CSS, your styling should look 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;
}

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.

vakata
17#
vakata Reply to 2016-04-18 06:39:50Z

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>

ilans
18#
ilans Reply to 2014-11-09 15:42:15Z

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>
Jasch1
19#
Jasch1 Reply to 2014-11-16 01:39:53Z
    <input type = "submit" name = "submit" onClick= "window.location= 'http://example.com'">

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;
}

Working JSFiddle here

Peter Mortensen
20#
Peter Mortensen Reply to 2015-10-28 20:24:15Z

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.

Peter Mortensen
21#
Peter Mortensen Reply to 2015-10-28 20:25:01Z

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>
Peter Mortensen
22#
Peter Mortensen Reply to 2017-01-14 09:21:32Z

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>

EternalHour
23#
EternalHour Reply to 2017-10-30 20:54:17Z

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

Community
24#
Community Reply to 2017-05-23 11:55:18Z

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.

Peter Mortensen
25#
Peter Mortensen Reply to 2017-01-14 09:30:21Z

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>
Uriahs Victor
26#
Uriahs Victor Reply to 2017-01-22 16:53:41Z

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/

Bhawna Jain
27#
Bhawna Jain Reply to 2017-10-23 07:37:35Z

@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>
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