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How to hyperlink in PowerPoint (best practices)

In this post you’ll learn how to hyperlink in PowerPoint.

And the reason that hyperlinking in PowerPoint is important is that it allows you to jump around within your presentation or open documents outside of your presentation without leaving Slideshow 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 the mouseover text effect in PowerPoint (using ScreenTips)

The other great thing about hyperlinks in PowerPoint is that they automatically convert to the PDF file format. For details on how to convert PowerPoint into the PDF file format, read our guide here.

Table of Contents

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 in 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 are 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:

  • Open a web page online
  • Open files or documents on your computer
  • Jump to a specific section in your document
  • Create new documents (that you can begin editing)
  • Start an email message

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 set up trigger objects to fire your animations (like making objects appear and disappear), read our guide here.

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To hyperlink to another slide in PowerPoint, the first thing you need is some text or an object to anchor your hyperlink in. Once you have the object, simply select the text or object and hit Ctrl+K on your keyboard to open the Insert Hyperlink dialog box.

The hyperlink shortcut is control plus K in PowerPoint

If you do not like keyboard shortcuts, you can alternatively open the Insert Hyperlink dialog box using your Ribbon.

Select your object, click the insert tab, open the Link drop down and click Insert Link

To add a link to an object (or block of text) using the PowerPoint Ribbon, simply:

  1. Select your text or object that you want to use as the anchor for link
  2. Click the Insert tab
  3. Open the Link drop down
  4. Select Insert Link…
Regardless of how you open the Insert Hyperlink dialog box, this is where you can now control the destination of your hyperlink. Your destination can be a webpage, a place within your current document, a new Microsoft Office document, or an email message.
The Insert Hyperlink dialog box is where you control the destination of your hyperlinks in PowerPoint

For this example, I have done the following in the Insert Hyperlink dialog box:

  1. Selected a Place in this Document
  2. Selected Slide 3 (the slide I want to jump to within this presentation)
  3. Clicked OK

You can choose for yourself where you want your hyperlink to link to. Just keep in mind that a hyperlink can only have a single destination. A hyperlink cannot link to multiple locations at the same time.

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.

Note. To use the Show and Return feature at the bottom of the Slide preview window, you need to hyperlink to a Custom Slideshow.  That is, a smaller subset of your slides that you set up. 

Once you’ve inserted a hyperlink into PowerPoint, there are two ways to trigger it.

#1. Slideshow mode (Presentation View)

When in any of the Presentation Views (like Presenter View), simply hover your mouse over your hyperlink and click it like you would any online link. Triggering the hyperlink then jumps you to the destination you selected (see details above).

To expand your knowledge and learn the different ways to start a PowerPoint slideshow (including how to start Presenter View), read more about it here.

#2. Normal View

In the Normal View in PowerPoint (the standard editing view), you can trigger a hyperlink by holding the Control key and clicking the hyperlink with your mouse. This creates the same effect as simply clicking a hyperlink in the Presentation View.

Hyperlinking text vso Objects

When given the choice of what to use as your hyperlink trigger, the 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.

Example of the different hyperlink colors when you hyperlink text versus objects

All the objects in the graphic above have the same exact hyperlink applied to them. Notice how the hyperlinked text displays formatting, while the hyperlinked objects do not show any formatting.

When you add a hyperlink to text, it not only gets that underlined hyperlink formatting, but it also changes color once you have clicked the hyperlink. In PowerPoint, this is known as the Followed Hyperlink color. On the other hand, when you anchor your hyperlink on an object, the text never displays the hyperlink formatting. This is why most presenters prefer to anchor their hyperlink on their object instead of anchoring it on their text.

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

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 Followed Hyperlink color (I’ll show you how to change that in a second) shows you exactly what you have already clicked on.

To reset a hyperlink's color, simply select the hyperlink, hit control plus k to open the Insert Hyperlink dialog box and click ok

If you are using text hyperlinks, as you click them in your presentation, the hyperlink color changes to the Followed Hyperlink color. This is fine if you want them to change colors (demonstrating what you have already clicked on), but it’s annoying if you don’t.

If you are using text hyperlinks, this means that after you have tested them out, you will need to reset the hyperlinks, so they start with the unfollowed hyperlink color.

To reset the color of a text hyperlink in PowerPoint, simply:

  1. Select the hyperlinked text
  2. Open the Insert Hyperlink dialog box (Ctrl+K)
  3. Immediately click OK

Clicking OK 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 time before you give your presentation.

To change the color of your hyperlinking in PowerPoint, from the Design tab, navigate to customize colors, change your hyperlink and followed hyperlink colors and click save

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

  1. Navigate to the Design tab
  2. Open the More option (downward facing arrow)
  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. When selecting your own colors for your hyperlinks, stark colors work best so they stand out from your presentation.

To learn all about creating your PowerPoint template (including selecting your own theme colors, etc.), read our guide here.

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

To remove a hyperlink in PowerPoint, right click the hyperlink and select Remove Link

To remove a hyperlink in PowerPoint:

  1. Select the hyperlinked text or hyperlinked PowerPoint object
  2. Right-click the object (or text)
  3. Select Remove Link

Regardless of what the link was pointing to, Remove Link removes the hyperlink formatting and the link. 

If you have a Microsoft 365 subscription, there is a new way to add hyperlinks to PowerPoint called the Zoom transition. To make it easier to refer to, I will simply call them 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.

To create a zoom slide, click and drag the slide you want to zoom to onto your current slide in PowerPoint

Once you have created a Zoom slide, selecting it on your slide opens 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).

Once you have a zoom slide in your presentation, you can use the Zoom tab to control the behavior of the zoom

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 online seminar here.

First off, hyperlinks are meant to work in Slideshow Mode or Presentation View of PowerPoint.

So before troubleshooting your hyperlinks, make sure you have tried them out in the proper view first.

If your hyperlinks are still not working, the probable 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 reset your 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 OK

Clicking OK, your hyperlink resets, and will properly take you the slide, document, or location that you set it to.

Another way to user hyperlinks in PowerPoint is to leverage the ScreenTip functionality to create the mouse pop-up text effect in PowerPoint that you can see in the picture below.

Example of the mouseover text effect in PowerPoint when you hover your mouse over an object

In this case, you are not using the hyperlink to jump around your presentation. Instead, you are leveraging the ScreenTip functionality, to display text as you hover your mouse over an object in PowerPoint.

To expand your knowledge for creating this effect, see my guide on how to create this mouseover text effect in PowerPoint.


As you can see, there is more to hyperlinking in PowerPoint than just inserting the link. There are considerations on what you anchor your link to, how to change the color of your hyperlinks, and how to reset them as well.

I always hyperlink objects instead of text whenever possible as it creates fewer formatting issues as you click through the slides. That said, if you want a visual cue of which links you’ve already clicked in your presentation, you will want to hyperlink your text directly.

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 interested 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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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Eric

    On a different machine with Powerpoint 2016 Home, my hyperlinks are clickable in Normal Edit View, but on another machine with Powerpoint 2016 Professional I have to view in Slideshow to click the hyperlinks. What gives?

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