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HYPERLINKS

Stop Word from Automatically Inserting Hyperlinks

The Annoyance:

Every time I type anything that looks like a web address or email address, Word creates a hyperlink for me. I can get rid of the hyperlink with Undo, but how do I stop Word from doing this?

The Fix:

In Word 2003 or Word XP, if you can see a Smart Tag under the start of the hyperlink, click the Smart Tag and choose Stop Automatically Creating Hyperlinks from the pop-up menu.

If there's no Smart Tag, choose Tools → AutoCorrect Options (in Word 2000, choose Tools → AutoCorrect), click the AutoFormat As You Type tab, and uncheck the "Internet and network paths with hyperlinks" box.

See Where a Hyperlink Will Really Take You

The Annoyance:

I've been sent a document with a hyperlink in it, but when I click the hyperlink, my browser displays a page with a different address than the one in the hyperlink.

The Fix:

You might find this annoying, but it's not a glitch. The anchor text for a hyperlink—the text that appears in the document to indicate the presence of the hyperlink—doesn't have to be related to the URL used in the hyperlink. Thus, you can create a hyperlink with descriptive text (for example, "Click here to display the brochure") rather than the address of the hyperlink.

Where this gets confusing is when, for example, someone pastes a URL or email address into a Word document. Word automatically creates the appropriate type of hyperlink (for example, an http:// hyperlink for a URL and a mailto: hyperlink for an email address) and displays the pasted text as the anchor text. If someone then accidentally (or intentionally) edits the anchor text, it will be different from the target URL or email address to which it is linked, but the link will still be correct, as long as it was correct in the first place.

If you need to edit the target address of a hyperlink, or you just want to see where it will take you, right-click it and choose Edit Hyperlink. (In Word 2000, right-click and choose Hyperlink → Edit Hyperlink.) From the Edit Hyperlink dialog box, you can edit the text of the hyperlink and the URL to which it links.

Bring Hyperlinks to Heel

The Annoyance:

What bugs me? You see a hyperlink embedded in a document, and you want to correct something within it. You put the cursor at the end of the hyperlink and begin to backspace over it to the offending character, and, lo and behold, the whole thing is automatically highlighted and deleted. Worse still, you try to click in a hyperlink to either edit the text or select it so you can move or delete it, and you're suddenly launched into cyberspace.

The Fix:

Most people agree that you can help maintain the sum total of happiness in the universe by not embedding hyperlinks in your documents, but the message hasn't caught on universally.

To add to the problem, Word 2003 and Word XP handle hyperlinks in a different way than Word 2000 does. In Word 2000, you click a hyperlink to trigger it and Ctrl-click to edit it; in Word 2003 and Word XP, by default, the actions are the other way around. To change the default behavior in Word 2003 and Word XP, choose Tools → Options, click the Edit tab, and clear the "Use CTRL + Click to follow hyperlink" box.


Warning:

If you get the click or Ctrl-click right, you can edit the text of hyperlinks directly in your document, but doing so is rarely a good idea. It's much better to display the Edit Hyperlink dialog box so that you can easily see whether you're editing both the hyperlink and the URL to which it is linked, or just the hyperlink.


The only safe way to approach a hyperlink is to right-click it and choose the appropriate command on the shortcut menu. For example, right-click and choose Edit Hyperlink to open the hyperlink in the Edit Hyperlink dialog box. (In Word 2000, right-click and choose Hyperlink → Edit Hyperlink.)

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