Putting hyperlinks into emails and other documents

Do you struggle to put hyperlinks to web pages into emails and other documents?

Copy and PasteEvery now and again when I am with a client, there is a need for them to put a hyperlink into an email message (or a Word document or other document) and I watch them really struggle to type the whole thing.

This is really not a good thing to do, for at least two reasons:

  • You are likely to make at least one mistake – thereby rendering the exercise futile as the hyperlink won’t work.
  • Many hyperlinks (eg those on Amazon for specific products) are so long that no-one in their right mind would attempt to type it in. The fact that a large part of a long link isn’t actually necessary to locate the web page is beside the point as you can’t easily tell how much is necessary.

The only technical skill you need to apply to make life a whole lot easier is a bit of knowledge of “copy and paste”.

Let’s suppose that you were so impressed with my recent blog post on “Juice Jacking” that you wanted to send a link to its web page to someone by email (a bit fanciful, maybe, but it’s as good an example as any).

These are the steps you would need to take:

  1. Visit the web page in question (by whatever means you find easiest, using whatever browser takes your fancy). The exact address is https://www.davidleonard.london/2022/07/02/what-is-juice-jacking-and-should-it-bother-you/ . Clicking on that link will, of course, take you there.
  2. You will see the address listed in the “address bar” of your browser. The address bar is, typically, about the second row down of text in your browser. The address as it appears in your browser may, or may not, include the “https://www.” at the beginning. This doesn’t matter. Using Safari, you won’t see the entire, specific, web page address until you take the next step.
  3. Chrome Address Bar
    Complete web page address shown in the Chrome browser address bar
  4. Left click once somewhere on that address. It doesn’t matter where. You should now see that the entire address is highlighted. This highlighting indicates that you have “selected” all the address. What you do next will be applied to all the selected text (ie all the address).
  5. Depress the control key on a Windows computer – ie the key that is probably marked “ctrl”. On a Mac, depress the “command” key – marked “cmd”.
  6. While the control/command key is depressed, tap the letter “c”. You have now copied the entire address into a part of the computer’s memory called the “clipboard” (also known as the “copy buffer”). There is no visual or auditory feedback to tell you that you have succeeded (which I’ve always thought is a shame).
  7. Let go of the control/command key.
  8. Go to the email message, Word document, or wherever it is that you wish to place the link. If it helps, you can close the browser that you were just using (minimising the browser window is a better option, but that’s a side issue).
  9. With your cursor at the position where you want the hyperlink to appear in your document/email, depress the control/command key again and tap the letter “v”.
  10. Let go of the control/command key.
  11. The hyperlink should now have appeared at the cursor position. You may need to tap a space or the “enter” key before the text turns blue and is underscored (the normal visual cues that a piece of text is a hyperlink).
  12. That’s it. Clicking on the hyperlink you have just created will open the web page if the link is in an email. If it’s in a Word document then, as it tells you onscreen, you need to depress control/command and then click on the link.

An Amazon link for one of its Kindles
An Amazon link for one of its own Kindles
As in so many cases of explaining something step by step, the instructions might look a tad long and forbidding, but a bit of practice should be all that is needed. This is the same technique of “copy and paste” that is so useful in many other computing contexts and is well worth mastering.

Donations Jar
Just click on the jar…