link_to(*args, &block) public

Creates a link tag of the given name using a URL created by the set of options. See the valid options in the documentation for url_for. It’s also possible to pass a string instead of an options hash to get a link tag that uses the value of the string as the href for the link, or use :back to link to the referrer - a JavaScript back link will be used in place of a referrer if none exists. If nil is passed as a name, the link itself will become the name.


  link_to(name, options = {}, html_options = nil)
  link_to(options = {}, html_options = nil) do
    # name


  • :confirm => 'question?' - This will add a JavaScript confirm prompt with the question specified. If the user accepts, the link is processed normally, otherwise no action is taken.
  • :popup => true || array of window options - This will force the link to open in a popup window. By passing true, a default browser window will be opened with the URL. You can also specify an array of options that are passed-thru to JavaScripts window.open method.
  • :method => symbol of HTTP verb - This modifier will dynamically create an HTML form and immediately submit the form for processing using the HTTP verb specified. Useful for having links perform a POST operation in dangerous actions like deleting a record (which search bots can follow while spidering your site). Supported verbs are :post, :delete and :put. Note that if the user has JavaScript disabled, the request will fall back to using GET. If you are relying on the POST behavior, you should check for it in your controller’s action by using the request object’s methods for post?, delete? or put?.
  • The html_options will accept a hash of html attributes for the link tag.

Note that if the user has JavaScript disabled, the request will fall back to using GET. If :href => '#' is used and the user has JavaScript disabled clicking the link will have no effect. If you are relying on the POST behavior, your should check for it in your controller’s action by using the request object’s methods for post?, delete? or put?.

You can mix and match the html_options with the exception of :popup and :method which will raise an ActionView::ActionViewError exception.


Because it relies on url_for, link_to supports both older-style controller/action/id arguments and newer RESTful routes. Current Rails style favors RESTful routes whenever possible, so base your application on resources and use

  link_to "Profile", profile_path(@profile)
  # => <a href="/profiles/1">Profile</a>

or the even pithier

  link_to "Profile", @profile
  # => <a href="/profiles/1">Profile</a>

in place of the older more verbose, non-resource-oriented

  link_to "Profile", :controller => "profiles", :action => "show", :id => @profile
  # => <a href="/profiles/show/1">Profile</a>


  link_to "Profiles", profiles_path
  # => <a href="/profiles">Profiles</a>

is better than

  link_to "Profiles", :controller => "profiles"
  # => <a href="/profiles">Profiles</a>

You can use a block as well if your link target is hard to fit into the name parameter. ERb example:

  <% link_to(@profile) do %>
    <strong><%= @profile.name %></strong> -- <span>Check it out!!</span>
  <% end %>
  # => <a href="/profiles/1"><strong>David</strong> -- <span>Check it out!!</span></a>

Classes and ids for CSS are easy to produce:

  link_to "Articles", articles_path, :id => "news", :class => "article"
  # => <a href="/articles" class="article" id="news">Articles</a>

Be careful when using the older argument style, as an extra literal hash is needed:

  link_to "Articles", { :controller => "articles" }, :id => "news", :class => "article"
  # => <a href="/articles" class="article" id="news">Articles</a>

Leaving the hash off gives the wrong link:

  link_to "WRONG!", :controller => "articles", :id => "news", :class => "article"
  # => <a href="/articles/index/news?class=article">WRONG!</a>

link_to can also produce links with anchors or query strings:

  link_to "Comment wall", profile_path(@profile, :anchor => "wall")
  # => <a href="/profiles/1#wall">Comment wall</a>

  link_to "Ruby on Rails search", :controller => "searches", :query => "ruby on rails"
  # => <a href="/searches?query=ruby+on+rails">Ruby on Rails search</a>

  link_to "Nonsense search", searches_path(:foo => "bar", :baz => "quux")
  # => <a href="/searches?foo=bar&baz=quux">Nonsense search</a>

The three options specific to link_to (:confirm, :popup, and :method) are used as follows:

  link_to "Visit Other Site", "http://www.rubyonrails.org/", :confirm => "Are you sure?"
  # => <a href="http://www.rubyonrails.org/" onclick="return confirm('Are you sure?');">Visit Other Site</a>

  link_to "Help", { :action => "help" }, :popup => true
  # => <a href="/testing/help/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">Help</a>

  link_to "View Image", @image, :popup => ['new_window_name', 'height=300,width=600']
  # => <a href="/images/9" onclick="window.open(this.href,'new_window_name','height=300,width=600');return false;">View Image</a>

  link_to "Delete Image", @image, :confirm => "Are you sure?", :method => :delete
  # => <a href="/images/9" onclick="if (confirm('Are you sure?')) { var f = document.createElement('form');
       f.style.display = 'none'; this.parentNode.appendChild(f); f.method = 'POST'; f.action = this.href;
       var m = document.createElement('input'); m.setAttribute('type', 'hidden'); m.setAttribute('name', '_method');
       m.setAttribute('value', 'delete'); f.appendChild(m);f.submit(); };return false;">Delete Image</a>
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July 4, 2008
6 thanks

Window open a dialog of no menu, no status, have scroll


link_to name, url, :popup => ['dialog name','toolbar=no,location=no,directories=no,status=no,menubar=no,scrollbars=yes,resizable=yes']
April 25, 2012 - (>= v3.1.0)
6 thanks

HTML5 data- attributes using RESTful approach

HTML5 specifies extensible attributes like data-foo=“bar” (or as in Twitter Bootstrap data-toggle=“modal”), which poses two problems for Rails.

First, if you’re using symbol notation in link_to to specify attributes, this fails (dash is not a valid symbol character), so


link_to "Edit", @user, :class => "btn", :data-toggle => "modal"

There are two solutions:

  1. put the symbols in quotes,

  2. use the special :data hash

Solution 1: Quote Symbols

link_to "Edit", @user, :class => "btn", "data-toggle" => "modal"

Solution 2: Use the :data hash

link_to "Edit", @user, :class => "btn", :data => {:toggle => "modal"}

Resulting HTML

<a href="/users/1" class="btn", data-toggle="modal">Edit</a>

The second is minimally documented, but as a hash, can accept multiple values and is perhaps a little cleaner

July 26, 2010 - (<= v2.3.8)
2 thanks

:confirm, :popup, and :method override :onclick

upplying any combination of :confirm, :popup, and/or :method options to the link_to method results the :onclick option being overridden.


link_to "Delete", '#', :confirm=>"Are you sure?", :onclick=>"destroyJsFunction()"
# expected output
# => <a href="#" onclick="if(confirm('Are you sure?')) {destroyJsFunction()}; return false;">Delete</a>
# actual output
# => <a href="#" onclick="return confirm('Are you sure?');">Delete</a>

Note that the actual output doesn’t include any mention of the “destroyJsFunction()” passed to the link_to method.

Rails 3 will use unobtrusive JavaScript, and I haven’t tested how that will interact with the :onclick option.

February 17, 2009
2 thanks

Remember to sanitize name

While useful when in need of richer markup inside a link, the name parameter isn’t sanitized or escaped and thus should be escaped when its content can’t be guaranteed to be safe.


link_to(url, url)

may cause problems with character entities if url contains ampersands.

Correct usage
link_to(h(url), url)

This applies to all dynamic content.

March 19, 2009
2 thanks


You can put some expression too. For example for I18n (using haml on view):

# some_locale.yml

  contacts: "My contacts"

# index.html.haml

= link_to "#{t "links.contacts"}", :action => 'contacts'
March 7, 2011 - (>= v3.0.0)
1 thank

:method => :delete, etc.

If you’re upgrading to Rails 3 you’ll need to make sure you include rails.js (which is in public/javascripts when you rails new someproject) You’ll need to include it after prototype. And you’ll need to have a 1.7 version of prototype.

When you do a

link_to "Delete", @some_obj, :method => "delete", :confirm => "Are you sure?"

Rails 3 will generate

<a href="some_obj/id" data-confirm="Are you sure?" data-method="delete">Delete</a>

rails.js will creates observers that convert that into a form.

Be aware that this probably won’t work as a link from inside a form (since forms in forms isn’t valid).

November 10, 2011
0 thanks

logic in class/id

If you need to place some simple logic in class or like that, I think that best to make it with simple brackets:

Code example

<%= link_to ‘All actions’, switch_action_tab_path, :remote => true, :class => (‘selected’ if @tab == ‘all’) %>

September 7, 2009
0 thanks

:popup gotcha in IE

If your popup title contains spaces or escaped HTML characters, Internet Explorer (at least 6/7) will not pop up a new window but open the link in the existing browser window.