How to force Atom to open files in tabs, instead of new instance of program



I’ve seen more topics on the internet with this issue, but I never seen any resolution. Was this function implemented? All topics are from '14/'15 and it’s '17. Any input is welcome,

kind regards



Can you share the exact steps to reproduce the behavior you’re talking about?


If your are talking about opening files via cli, you might be looking for the --add switch.


Hi there. So, I open any random file, and it opens new instance instead of new tab inside the atom.


Greetings MoritzKn. Nope, I’m not using CLi. I’m opening random files located at my computer and they’re being randomly opened either in a new instance of Atom, or in a tab [not depending on the directory, sometimes it opens the file from the same directory in the same tab, sometimes in a new instance].


@uplink can you let us know what operating system and Atom version (atom -v) you’re running? Also, can you share more exact steps to reproduce e.g. something like:

  1. From Windows Explorer, right-click on a file and click Open with Atom
  2. From Windows Explorer, right-click on a different file in the same directory and click Open with Atom


Greetings Rsese

Where do I type the atom -v? In ctrl + p line? [CLi?] [Is that CLi? :D].

And double click on any random file within Windows Explorer. Drag and drop always fits it into the tabs.

Thank You

kind regards



Press the Windows key and R, then type cmd, press Enter. A window will open (the command line), and you can type atom -v in there.


When I’m at work tomorrow, I’ll be sure to do that and report back here. Thank You! [I’m a total Atom Newbie, I’m the incarnate of Notepad++ and Sublime Text, but Sublime is missing in action in tons of syntax checking tools, so I ported to Atom. Also, Atom is free for commercial use, Sublime is kind of expensive.]


Thanks - I just gave this a try on Windows 10 and Atom 1.16.0 and couldn’t reproduce. I tried with Atom not started yet and double clicked a file in Windows Explorer and that started Atom with that file. I then double clicked another file and that opened in a tab in the existing Atom window.

We’ll wait to hear back about what versions you’re running but if you can share any more details that might be relevant, that would be helpful. A screencast or GIF of the behavior could be useful too.


Greetings guys. Thank You so far for Your interest. I’m gonna wipe the computer during weekend and do a clean install, so I will update the thread on Tuesday, after holidays, as I’m gonna have a clean and well set installation. Thank You so much for now!


Anyways, it’s not half-irrelevant, but I’m using this version:


Hi guys,

Long time no see. Sorry, had a pretty rush week [more like two]. So uh. It looks like when I switched the platform [mobo, vga, cpu] from X370 running with Ryzen 1700X and RX480 to Z270 running with Intel Core i7 7700k and GTX 1060, everything works fine. Don’t ask me why. I don’t understand 90% of the things that didn’t work with Ryzen and RX480 [VGA]. It all made and still doesn’t make no sense. But I know one thing. With Intel + Nvidia everything works as it should, even Atom, perfectly, opens everything as he should, without a quesiton + my bootup of Atom is really fast! He boots up within 1.2-1.4 seconds, display and windows works, GPGPU acceleration works superbly, and many others which failed hard on AMD platform.

Well anyway, problem solved, for me. Via longshot, yes, but solved.

[My conclusion to radically come back from full AMD computer to Intel + Nvidia came after a month and a half, where I suffered, was furious, angry, running mad and crazy from nincompoopic drivers, architecture, or whatever that was from AMD. On the advice of my “friend” I tried a full AMD computer. Well, I sure won’t try one for next two decades, even if AMD stuff was free and Intel/Nvidia overpriced [which they already are :)] like hell.

Cheers and thank You for Your time, patience and everything!

Keep it up!

kind regards