Magento: Direct Link To Tab in Adminhtml Tab Widgets

For an extension I was recently working on, I wondered if there was a built-in way to link directly to a tab on a backend page. My research didn’t result in anything useful (read: my Google foo had failed me), so I dug into the core code to see where to start. I’ll share what I found out.

The Problem

In particular, I wanted to link to the “Manage Label / Options” tab on the “Edit Product Attribute Page”:


The Solution

Actually it’s possible with a URL parameter ?active_tab=$id.

How To Find The Right Tab ID

Find the responsible tab container class. This is a child class of Mage_Adminhtml_Block_Widget_Tabs, in my case, Mage_Adminhtml_Block_Catalog_Product_Attribute_Edit_Tabs.

You’ll find calls to $this->addTab(), usually in the methods _beforeToHtml(), or _construct(). The first parameter of addTab() is the tab id:

    $this->addTab('labels', array(
        'label'     => Mage::helper('catalog')->__('Manage Label / Options'),
        'title'     => Mage::helper('catalog')->__('Manage Label / Options'),
        'content'   => $this->getLayout()->createBlock('adminhtml/catalog_product_attribute_edit_tab_options')->toHtml(),

So, the URL is /admin/catalog_product_attribute/edit/attribute_id/123/?active_tab=labels, generated with this code (within an adminhtml block):

        array('attribute_id' => 123, '_query' => array('active_tab' => 'labels'));

How it works

Let’s have a look at the responsible code:


Sets the active tab based on URL parameter or session value. If setActiveTab() is not called, the _activeTab property defaults to the first added tab:

        if ($activeTab = $this->getRequest()->getParam('active_tab')) {
        } elseif ($activeTabId = Mage::getSingleton('admin/session')->getActiveTabId()) {


Here, the result of getActiveTabId() is passed to the varienTabs instantiation in JavaScript:

    <script type="text/javascript">
        <?php echo $this->getJsObjectName() ?> = new varienTabs(
            '<?php echo $this->getId() ?>',
            '<?php echo $this->getDestElementId() ?>',
            '<?php echo $this->getActiveTabId() ?>',
            <?php echo $this->getAllShadowTabs()?>);

The varienTabs constructor takes the active tab id as parameter and shows it. For the curious, the code is in js/mage/adminhtml/tabs.js

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