Hyperlinks are everywhere and you can take advantage of them in your Microsoft Word documents to help your reader navigate to websites or other places in your document. Here’s how.
Hyperlinks are everywhere and hardly need an explanation, but just in case you use them without knowing where they are called, a Hyperlink is text or content that you click to go elsewhere. The content you click on is usually pretty self explanatory. For example, you can click on a hypertext title to read this article. In a Microsoft Word article, you can include hyperlinks to other parts of the document, other documents, or even websites.
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In this article, you will learn how to add hyperlinks to Word document. (What you learn also applies to Outlook. Additionally, I’ll use the term related throughout this article.)
I am using Microsoft 365, but you can use older versions. You can work with your own text or use the downloadable .docx demo file. This article is not suitable for the browser edition of Word.
How to link to a web page
Linking to a web page is easy and is becoming common practice. In general, a link can take you to a web form or to more information on a particular topic. Let’s illustrate with a quick example:
- Open a browser, go to any page, and copy the URL to the clipboard. For our purposes, you can copy this one: https://www.wildflower.org/plants/.
- Navigate to the text you want to add the link to, select it, and right-click. In our demo file, these would be the first two words of the first paragraph (Figure A).
- Select Link from the resulting submenu.
- In the resulting dialog box, click inside the Address control and paste the copied URL. Note that the text to display displays the selected text hyacinth of Virginia.
- Click on OK.
To use the link, hold down the Ctrl key and click the formatted text. Word’s style for links is universal: blue underlined font. You can change the format, but the link will not be obvious to your readers.
The link will open your browser to the linked URL. As you can see in Number B, the url and the instructions to access it are displayed on the screen in the form of a tooltip.
How to link to content in the same document
You can use the same process to link text in your documents. Now let’s do this by linking a graphic to some text. In the demo file, there is an image of bluebells. We will add the link to this graphic so that clicking on it will bring up the bluebell content. It’s as easy as using a URL, but there is one condition: you need to style the content like a title or insert a bookmark. In this short illustration, we’ll do the first one:
- Start by adding a title to the short paragraph on hyacinths and give it the title Heading 3 and apply italics directly.
- Then select the bluebell image, right click and choose Link (Figure C). (The image is partially hidden by the submenu.)
- In the dialog box that appears, click Place in this document in the Link To pane (on the left).
- If necessary, expand the Topics node in the Select a location in this document list (Number D).
- Click on OK.
As before, when you hover over the linked image, the tooltip displays the linked content and instructions. In this case, the linked content is the path name of the document, which is not very useful. Let’s fix this as follows:
- First, copy the header text (Mertensia virginica) to the clipboard.
- Right click on the image and choose Edit Link.
- In the dialog box that appears, click Tooltip (top right).
- In the resulting dialog, paste the header text (Encrypted).
- Click OK twice.
Now when you hover over the bluebell image, the tooltip displays the header of the section the link will go to (Figure F).
The link still works, but it now displays the header text instead of the document path. You can accomplish the same thing by using a bookmark instead.
How to link to a bookmark
You can use a bookmark if the title text does not exist, but you will need a bookmark first. To insert a bookmark, select the text, copy the text to the clipboard, and then do the following:
- Click the Insert tab, and then click Bookmark in the Links group.
- In the dialog box that appears, type or paste the name of the bookmark. As you can see in Number G, there is no space between genus and species. Bookmarks must begin with an alpha character and cannot contain spaces.
- Click on Location (because we are creating a link).
- Click Add, then click OK.
Using the instructions in the last section, replace the title text link with the bookmark. In this case, the linked image works the same whether you choose a title or a bookmark. The latter is useful when there is no header text to link to.
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To link to another Word document, open the Insert Hyperlink dialog box (the same one we’ve always worked with) and click Existing File or Web Page in the left pane. This will expose your local system so that you can locate and select the file. You can also add tooltip text.
Soon we’ll go through the same types of examples using tooltips instead of links.