How to Add Hyperlinks to a Word Document

Hyperlinks are everywhere, and you can take advantage of them in your Microsoft Word documents to make it easier for your reader to navigate to websites or other places in your document. Here’s how.

Image: Pavel_R, Getty Images/iStockphoto

Hyperlinks are everywhere and hardly need an explanation, but just in case you use them but don’t know where they are called, a Hyperlink is text or content that you click on to go somewhere else. The content you click on is usually sufficient explanation. For example, you can click on a hypertext title to read that article. In a Microsoft Word article, you can include hyperlinks to other parts of the document, other documents, or even websites.

SEE: Recap: Microsoft Build 2020 (Free PDF) (TechRepublic)

In this article, you will learn how to add hyperlinks to a Word document. (What you’re learning also applies to Outlook. Also, I’ll use the linked term throughout this article.)

I use Microsoft 365, but you can use older versions. You can work with your own text or use the downloadable demo .docx file. This article is not appropriate for the browser edition of Word.

How to link to a webpage

Linking to a webpage is easy and becoming common practice. In general, a link can redirect you to a web form or more information on a particular topic. Let’s illustrate with a quick example:

  1. Open a browser, go to any page and copy the URL to the clipboard. For our purposes, you can copy this one:
  2. Move to the text you want to add the link to, select it and right-click. In our demo file, this would be the first two words of the first paragraph (Figure A).
  3. Select Link from the resulting submenu.
  4. In the resulting dialog box, click inside the Address control and paste the copied URL. Note that the text to display shows the selected text Virginia bellflower.
  5. Click OK.

Figure A

To use the link, hold down the Ctrl key and click on the formatted text. Word’s style for links is universal: underlined, blue font. You can change the format, but the link won’t be obvious to your readers.

The link will open your browser to the linked URL. As you can see in Figure Bthe url and the instructions to get there are displayed on the screen in the form of a tooltip.

Figure B

How to link to content in the same document

You can use the same process to link text in your documents. Let’s do it now by linking a graphic to the text. In the demo file there is an image of bluebells. We will add the link to this graphic in order to view Bluebell content by clicking on it. It’s as simple as using a URL, but there is one requirement: you must style the content as a title or insert a bookmark. In this short illustration, we’ll do the first:

  1. Start by adding a title to the short paragraph about bluebells and style it as Heading 3, and apply the italics directly.
  2. Next, select the bluebell image, right-click and choose Link (Figure C). (The image is partially obscured by the submenu.)
  3. In the resulting dialog box, click Place in this document in the Link To pane (left).
  4. If necessary, expand the Titles node in the Select a place in this document list (Figure D).
  5. Click OK.

Figure C

Figure D

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 document path name, which is not very helpful. Let’s fix this as follows:

  1. First, copy the title text (Mertensia virginica) to the clipboard.
  2. Right-click the image and choose Edit Link.
  3. In the resulting dialog box, click Tooltip (top right).
  4. In the resulting dialog box, paste the title text (Figure E).
  5. Click OK twice.

Now when hovering over the blue bellflower image, the tooltip will show the header of the section the link will jump to (Figure F).

Figure E

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 doesn’t exist, but you’ll need a bookmark first. To insert a bookmark, select the text, copy the text to the clipboard, then do the following:

  1. Click the Insert tab, then click Bookmark in the Links group.
  2. In the resulting dialog box, type or paste the name of the bookmark. As you can see in G-figure, there is no space between genus and species. Bookmarks must start with an alpha character and cannot contain spaces.
  3. Click Location (because we’re linking).
  4. Click Add, then click OK.


Following the instructions in the last section, replace the header 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.

SEE: Microsoft Word: How to Use AutoCorrect to Manage Junk Words (TechRepublic)

To link to another Word document, open the Insert Hyperlink dialog (the same one we’ve been working with all along) and click Existing File or Web Page in the left pane. This will expose your local system so you can locate and select the file. You can also add tooltip text.

Stay tuned

Soon we’ll go over the same kinds of examples using tooltips instead of links.

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