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How to Hyperlink in PowerPoint (Hyperlinking best Practices)

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In this post you'll learn all about how to hyperlink in PowerPoint.

And the reason that hyperlinking in PowerPoint is cool, is it allows you to jump around within your presentation or open documents outside of your presentation without leaving slide show mode.

This allows you to create interactive and non-linear presentations. Common things you might use hyperlinks for in PowerPoint are:

  • Hyperlinking to another slide in your presentation
  • Opening a document or file on your computer
  • Jumping to a page on the internet
  • Open another PowerPoint presentation or slide show
  • Create a pop-up text effect in PowerPoint

The other cool thing about hyperlinks in PowerPoint, is that they automatically convert to the PDF file format. For details, see our guide here.


A hyperlink is typically clickable text that jumps you to a location online, opens a file on your computer or performs some other action when you click it.

An online hyperlink can be written two ways:

  1. As the full URL address you are jumping to: For example, visit our website  www.nutsandboltsspeedtraining.com
  2. As shortened text with the hyperlink embedded inside the text (which is how it works in the Microsoft Office suite): For example: Visit our website here (with the entire URL address embedded in the text 'here').

This is an important distinction to make, as most of the hyperlinks you add in PowerPoint, Word and Excel will be clickable text or objects, with the hyperlink embedded within.

You can use hyperlinks in the Microsoft Office suite to do a variety of things like:

  1. Open a web page online
  2. Open files or documents on your computer
  3. Jump to a specific section in your document
  4. Create new documents (that you can begin editing)
  5. Start an email

These hyperlinks can be embedded (as you'll learn to do below) in text, shapes, pictures, charts, etc., allowing you to create interactive documents.

That is, people can click on things within your document to perform certain tasks, navigate to specific sections of your presentation or even open custom slide shows (if you have already set them up).

Note: In PowerPoint, you can also use clickable objects to trigger animated effects, but these are NOT hyperlinks. To learn how to setup trigger objects to fire your animations (like making objects appear and disappear), read our guide here.


To learn a bunch of other useful PowerPoint shortcuts to save you time, check out our guide here.


Hyperlinking to another slide in PowerPoint

To hyperlink to another slide in PowerPoint, simply select the text or object (see hyperlink best practices below) that you want to use as your trigger and open the Hyperlink dialog box

To insert a hyperlink, from the Insert Tab, click the Link drop down and select insert link

To add a hyperlink to another slide, simply:

  1. Select the Text or an Object on your slide
  2. Open the Insert Hyperlink dialog box (Ctrl + K on your keyboard)
  3. Within the dialog box, Select Place in this Document' on the left
  4. Choose the slide you want to hyperlink to
  5. Click OK

After adding a hyperlink, simply run your presentation in slideshow mode and click the link. For details on different ways you can start a PowerPoint slide show to text your links, read more about it here.

You can also click through to a hyperlink in the Normal View of your presentation by holding the Ctrl key on your keyboard and then clicking the hyperlink.

Instead of using hyperlinks to jump around your presentation, you can also use action buttons. To learn about action buttons, see GFC Global's blog post here.


Hyperlinking best practices

When given the choice of what to use as your hyperlink trigger, a best practice is to use the object itself, rather than text. That’s because you have little control over the default hyperlink text formatting as pictured below.

comparison of what hyperlinked text versus a hyperlinked object looks like

Both objects in the picture above have the same exact hyperlink applied to them and notice the difference.

When you add a hyperlink to text, it gets that underlined hyperlink formatting. On the flip side, you avoid that text formatting when you hyperlink the object itself.

On top of that, once you click a text hyperlink, you get the following formatting (which looks ugly).

Example of what the text looks like after a hyperlink has been clicked

If you do decide to use text hyperlinks in your slides, you can always change the used hyperlink formatting by resetting your hyperlinks.

When would using text hyperlinks make sense? When you want to see what you've already clicked on inside your presentation.

That's because the used hyperlink formatting gives you a sense of what you've already clicked on.


You can change your hyperlink color in PowerPoint in the Customize Colors dialog box. Change your color and click save to apply it to your presentation

To change the colors of your Hyperlinks and Followed Hyperlinks in PowerPoint, simply:

  1. Navigate to the Design tab
  2. Open the More Variants option
  3. Open the Color drop down
  4. Select Customize Colors
  5. Set a new Hyperlink and Followed Hyperlink color
  6. Select Save

Selecting Save, saves your new color combination as a PowerPoint Theme, and apply it to your current presentation. A best practice for doing this is to select hyperlink colors that have stark contrast to your presentation.

To learn all about how to create and apply PowerPoint themesread our guide here.

Next you'll see how to reset your Followed Hyperlink color back to the default color you set.


If you are using text hyperlinks, as you click them in your presentation, the hyperlink color will change to the Followed Hyperlink color. This is fine if you want them to change colors, but it's annoying if you don't.

This means that after you've tested out your hyperlinks, you'll want to reset them back to their normal, default color.

To change the color of a hyperlink you've already clicked, simply:

  1. Select the hyperlinked text
  2. Open the Insert Hyperlink dialog box (CTRL + K on your keyboard)
  3. Immediately click Okay

Clicking Okay automatically resets the used hyperlink formatting back to the default unused text hyperlink formatting.

If you do go with text hyperlinks, the used formatting gives you a sense of what you've already clicked on. That means you won't waste time navigating to something you've already covered.

That said, you will need to reset the text formatting each and every time before you give your presentation.


To remove a hyperlink, right click the hyperlink and select Remove Hyperlink

To remove a hyperlink in PowerPoint:

  1. Select the hyperlinked text or hyperlinked PowerPoint object
  2. Right-click
  3. In the right-click menu select Remove Link

Regardless of what the link was pointing to, removing a hyperlink automatically removes the text hyperlink formatting and breaks the link that you (or someone else) created. 


If you have a Microsoft Office 365 subscription, there is a new way to add hyperlinks in PowerPoint. It's what's now called the Zoom transition (or what I call Zoom slides below).

To create a Zoom transition, simply click and drag a slide from the Thumbnail view on the left of your presentation, onto the slide you are currently using as pictured below.

Click and drag a slide from the thumbnail view onto your slide to create a zoom slide

Once you have created a  Zoom slide, selecting it on your slide opens up the Zoom Tools Format tab. From this tab, you have a variety of different formatting and transition options to choose from.

For example, do you want your Zoom transition to return to the slide it started on?

If yes, then in the Zoom Tools Format tab Zoom Options, simply select Return to Zoom (see picture below).

To adjust your zoom slide settings, from the Zoom Tools format tab make your select in the Zoom Options group

Selecting Return to Zoom means that after jumping to your Zoom slide, when you advance your slideshow, you will automatically return to the jumping off point within your presentation.

That allows you to create a dashboard like effect within your presentation. For example, you could present your audience with options - have them vote - and then click the link to jump to that section of your presentation.

And while this might seem complicated, you are in fact just creating hyperlinks (with a cool zoom effect).

For a FULL walk through of how to create a Zoom link and everything you can do with it,  see the Presentation Guild's full training webinar here.


First off, Hyperlinks are meant to work in Slideshow Mode.

So before troubleshooting your hyperlinks, make sure you have tried them in the Slide Show mode first. See video below for a quick walk-through of the shortcuts you can use.

If your hyperlinks are still not working, the likely cause is that your hyperlink is broken. That is, whatever you were hyperlinking to has been deleted or moved. If this is the case, you simply need to rest the hyperlink.

To reset (or fix) a hyperlink in PowerPoint, simply:

  1. Make sure you have access to the file, slide or location you want to hyperlink to
  2. Select your hyperlinked text or object
  3. Open the insert hyperlink dialog box (CTRL + K on your keyboard)
  4. Set up your hyperlink to the correct slide, document or location on your computer
  5. Click Okay

Clicking Okay, your hyperlink should work again now that you’ve set it back up to the correct location or file.


Another clever use of hyperlinks in PowerPoint is to leverage the ScreenTip functionality to create the pop-up text effect in PowerPoint.

For an example of what this looks like and how to set it up, see our step-by-step guide here or watch the short video below.


Conclusion

So that's everything you need to know about how to hyperlink in PowerPoint.

In short, hyperlinks are a great way to create choices within your presentation. That is, giving your audience a choice and then jumping to topics within your presentation that they are most interesting in learning more about.

If you enjoyed this article, you can learn more about our PowerPoint training and free tutorials here.

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Updated on October 22, 2019

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