If you work in large Excel files, Word documents or even e-mail, you may find it takes a long time to navigate and find the location you’re after.
Hyperlinks are like a time machine in that they can take you there in an instant (but unfortunately they can’t take you back in time), and the good news is they are dead easy to insert.
The few seconds it takes to set up a hyperlink can save hours of time over the life of the document.
By the way, that's a picture of Dr Who's Time Tardis if you didn't know 🙂
What is a Hyperlink?
Hyperlinks are everywhere these days but you’re probably most familiar seeing them on web pages.
They’re typically identified by underlined blue text. When you click on a hyperlink it takes you to a new location, which could be in the same document/workbook or it could take you to a web page, open a file or start a program.
You might also recognise a hyperlink when your mouse pointer changes to a hand when you hover over a picture. This indicates there is a hyperlink attached.
How to Insert a Hyperlink
- Select the cell containing the text or select the object (Shape or Picture)
- CTRL+K to open the Hyperlink dialog box or go to the Insert tab of the ribbon and select Hyperlink.
- You can now choose the location that you want to link to from:
- An existing file or web page
- A place in this document
- Create a new document
- An e-mail address
Hyperlinks to Existing Files or Web Pages
- To link to an existing file simply browse to the file location and select it from the list.
- To link to a Web Page either type or paste the URL in the address box.
Tip: Use this in emails to send files to colleagues as links rather than emailing large attachments. You'll find the Hyperlink tool on the Insert tab of the Ribbon, or remember you can use CTRL+K to open the hyperlink dialog box.
Note: Your colleague needs to have access to the file location for this to work. If they are not in your office then it probably won’t work.
Add a ScreenTip. A screen tip is some text that appears when you hover over the hyperlink. It can give further instructions to the user like in the example below. ScreenTips are optional.
Hyperlinks to a Place in This Document
- Type in the text to display box – this is the text that will appear in the cell that your Hyperlink is attached to. You can either type the text in the cell before you press CTRL+K to insert the hyperlink, or you can type it in the Text to display box as seen in the image above.
- Type in the cell reference you want to land in when you click on the hyperlink
- Choose the worksheet you want to link to.
- Add a screen tip.
Hyperlinks to a New Document
- Insert the text to display if you haven’t done so already
- Give your document a name
- Change the file location of the new document if required
- Choose editing options
Hyperlinks to an E-mail Address
When you click on an e-mail address hyperlink you may be prompted to point Excel, Word etc. to your email client. I use Microsoft Outlook so for me it automatically opens a new e-mail window and I can begin typing my email straight away.
To create an e-mail hyperlink:
- Choose Link to: e-mail address
- Enter the Text to display if you haven’t already typed it in. This can be the email address itself or it could be something like ‘click here to email me’.
- Enter the email address or select it from the list of Recently used e-mail addresses if you have any.
- Enter a subject. This pre-populates your new email with the subject automatically.
Note: When you type an email address into a cell Excel/Word/Outlook recognises the format and automatically sets it up with a hyperlink. But it doesn’t populate the Subject field. You can edit the hyperlink and put a subject field in by selecting the cell containing the email address and pressing CTRL+K to open the Insert Hyperlink dialog box.
Editing and Deleting Hyperlinks
To edit or delete a hyperlink right click on the cell or object containing the hyperlink and select from the menu:
Alternatively when you delete the contents of the cell or the object the hyperlink goes with it.
To delete ALL hyperlinks in a Word document or an Outlook e-mail press CTRL+A to select the entire document/e-mail > press CTRL+SHIFT+F9.
Note Doing this will convert all fields to plain text, not just hyperlinks.
To delete ALL hyperlinks in an Excel worksheet select the cells containing the hyperlinks > right-click > remove hyperlinks
Tip: You can change the formatting of a hyperlink from the default blue underline just as you would format any other text.
My Favourite Uses for Hyperlinks
- Attach them to shapes that look like buttons for a more professional look
- Insert them into emails instead of large attachments so my email gets delivered easily and I don’t end up with huge attachments filling up my e-mail file
- In large workbooks and documents to make it quick to jump from one location to another
- In files to link to supporting workbooks or documents
How do you use Hyperlinks? Share your ideas in the comments below.