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This has puzzled me for years: How does Blender decide the window where it will display the rendered image when I hit F12 to render?

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By default it picks the largest area, unless an image editor already exists.

You can alter this behavior by setting the Display option in the render settings:

enter image description here

  • Keep UI

    Does not change the UI. The render will not be automatically shown.

  • New Window

    Opens a separate window containing only an image editor showing the render.

  • Image Editor (default)

    Renders into an image editor. Turns the largest area into an image editor if one doesn't exist.

  • Full Screen

    Replaces the UI with a full screen image editor showing the render.

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    $\begingroup$ To be clear for future users redirected from the linked question (how to select the view for the render result): This is not possible to select the target view, the largest one will always be selected and it can be anything (e.g. the dope sheet view -- IMO there is room for improvement here...) Thanks for the explanation. $\endgroup$ – mins Mar 12 '16 at 17:33
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    $\begingroup$ @mins If you want more control over which area is used for displaying the render, one way is to use Keep UI and press F11 over the area you want to turn into an image editor/render display area. $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Mar 12 '16 at 20:22
  • $\begingroup$ One weird quirk of this is that even if you have the UV/image editor open, the render will only appear there if no image or a previous render is shown in there. However, if you are displaying some other image, such as a texture for uv mapping, it will render to another panel. However, you can get back to the previous view by pressing Esc or F11. $\endgroup$ – MrFlamey Nov 9 '16 at 8:57
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In 2.8 I found this in the top menu Render/Display Mode

enter image description here

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