Microsoft Word: Inserting & Modifying Hyperlinks

Instructor: Dr. Douglas Hawks

Douglas has two master's degrees (MPA & MBA) and a PhD in Higher Education Administration.

Microsoft Word has a feature that can significantly improve the interest of your readers. In this lesson, we'll talk about how hyperlinks can easily direct readers to websites, email forms, places within the document, or creating a new document.

Hyperlinks are words or phrases that, when clicked, take you to another location in a document, file, website, or begin an email prompt. You are probably most familiar with seeing hyperlinks on the Internet; technically, every 'click here'-type advertisement or lead is a hyperlink. In the simplest terms, hyperlinks exist as an easy way to navigate among webpages, documents, and other locations in the web of possible landing pages that has become the Internet.

Not all hyperlinks live within the Internet, however. In Microsoft Word you can insert hyperlinks that can do a number of actions when you click on them. In this lesson, we'll discuss where the hyperlink menu is in Word, how to insert and modify a hyperlink, and how the different hyperlinks can be used to make navigating a document easier for your audience. The specifics in this lesson are from Word 2013 for PC, but the content will be very similar for Mac or previous versions of Word.

Hyperlinks in Microsoft Word

As is usually the case in Microsoft, there is more than one way to insert a hyperlink. Let's talk about those two methods first, since once you get to the hyperlink menu - however you do it - the steps are the same.

The first option you have is to right click on a single word or a selection of words. In each situation, the second option from the bottom of the menu that appears simply says 'Hyperlink.' The second way to insert a hyperlink is to click on the 'Insert' menu on the toolbar, and then click on the 'Hyperlink' button - located about half way across the screen.

The one difference you will notice between these two methods if is if you right click from a word, or a selection, that word or selection will already be displayed in the 'Text to show' field at the top of the dialog box that appears. Other than that, your other options will be the same. You'll have four options for hyperlinks, meaning by clicking the hyperlink you are creating, you can select four different places to direct your readers. These places are:

  • An existing file or web page
  • A place in the existing document
  • Create a new document
  • A 'create email' dialog box

Now, we'll walk through the steps for each one of your four choices, and how the options with each choice will determine what the hyperlink can do.

A Website or a Designated Document

If you select the first option by clicking on the button on the top left side of the 'Insert Hyperlink' dialog box, the dialog box should look like Figure 1.

Fig. 1 Hyperlink Dialog Box
Word Hyperlink Dialog Box

First, enter the text you want the hyperlink to display. If you right-clicked on a word or phrase, then that word or phrase is already entered in the 'Text to display' field at the top of the dialog box. Below that, you have two choices. You can either use the typical browsing technique of Word to find the file you want the hyperlink to open, or you can select a browsed Internet page, or you can select from a recent file. All of those options are buttons below the 'Text to display' field. Or, below those fields, you can simply type the website you want the hyperlink to go to. If you enter 'www.study.com,' then when you click the link (which by default will be blue, underlined text), you'll open up study.com.

Place in This Document

If you want your hyperlink to go to a place within the current document, you need to be able to use headings and bookmarks, so Word can find the destination. The beginning of the document is an easy one, and if you used the 'headings' and 'bookmark' options, they would be listed under those headings in the 'Select a place in this document' box. To use headings, you will need to use the preset 'headings' in the 'Home' ribbon of Word. Once you place a heading, or subheading, in your document, it will show up in the dialog box used to specify the destination of your hyperlink.

A bookmark can go anywhere in your document. To insert a bookmark, you simply put the cursor where you want the bookmark to be, and then go to the 'Insert' ribbon in Word. Find and click the bookmark button, and you'll be asked to name the bookmark. That name will then show up in the 'Place in this document' dialog box when you are inserting a hyperlink.

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