Creating a link in a Microsoft Word document is an easy process, but many users don't realize a couple of different types of links exist. Internal links essentially act as Word bookmarks that help the reader navigate within the document. External links take the reader to exterior websites, documents or PDF files.
How Links Function
Links are a familiar element in web pages and documents, and they are easy to add in Word documents. The hyperlink highlights and underlines the chosen text, and when clicked, it takes the reader to a specific location within the document or to an external website.
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The standard link styling in Word is blue text with an underline. Customized coloring is possible by changing the color of the text after applying the link. However, blue is universal and easily recognized by most readers as a link.
After a link is applied, saving the document saves the link as well. Removing a link is also easy. Adding and removing links requires only seconds to implement the changes.
Creating Internal Links
Creating an internal link in a Word document to redirect a reader to a different section of the document is a two-step process. The first step involves bookmarking the location where the link points, and the second step is the link creation. Without the destination marking, internal links don't function.
Internal links are often used to reference relevant content, sources, and for table of contents sections that lead to specific sections of the document. Linking between a table of contents and section chapters or headings is a typical use of internal linking in Word documents.
Locate the text that serves as the destination of the link and highlight that text. In the case of a table of contents, the text might be a chapter or section title. With the text highlighted, go to the Word toolbar and choose Insert. Select the Bookmark option, name the bookmark — which must start with a letter and contain no spaces — and click Add to save the location. The name chosen is used for internal organization.
Navigate within the document and locate the text for the link. Highlight the text and click the Hyperlink icon. The icon is a globe with a paperclip or, in some cases, only the paperclip symbol. Click Place in Document for the link position and select the previously saved bookmark.
External Link Processes
External hyperlinks are easy to create in the document. To create a link, determine the text for the link and which link it opens. Open the web page and highlight, then copy, the URL. Go back to the document and highlight the desired link text. Click the same Hyperlink icon used for the internal links.
Paste the URL in the link destination box and click Apply to create the final hyperlink. Always test the link to ensure it opens the correct web page. A new web browser pops open to generate the web page when it is properly applied. However, a simple error in the naming convention can cause the link to fail. Make sure to highlight and paste the entire URL into the hyperlink box for successful web page retrieval.