Several readers have written to ask me for help in dealing with hyperlinks in Word documents. Some have complained that Word doesn't automatically turn a URL into a hyperlink; others have complained that Word is automatically turning URLs into hyperlinks. Luckily, Microsoft provides a way to control hyperlinks that makes everybody happy.

Automated Hyperlinks

To enable or disable automatic hyperlinks, open the AutoCorrect dialog box and move to the AutoFormat tab. Under Replace, select or deselect (depending on whether you're on the Yea or Nay side of this feature) "Internet and network paths with hyperlinks." Here's how to get to the AutoCorrect dialog box:

  • In Word 2007, click the Microsoft Office button, then select Word Options, Proofing, AutoCorrect Options.
  • In Word XP/2003, choose Tools, AutoCorrect Options.
  • In Word 2000, choose Tools, AutoCorrect.

Hyperlinks in Existing Documents

Changing the option takes care of the way hyperlinks work in new documents you create. But what about text in existing documents or text you've copied into a Word document that contains a hyperlink or contains text that you want to turn into a hyperlink?

Creating Hyperlinks

To change text into a hyperlink, select the text, right-click, and choose Hyperlink. In the Insert Hyperlink dialog box, select the appropriate type of hyperlink and enter the text for the hyperlink you're creating. In addition to hyperlinking URLs, you can create hyperlinks for email addresses (which includes the “sendto” command), a file that exists on your computer, or another section of the Word document you're working in.

Removing Hyperlinks

To remove a hyperlink, right-click and choose Hyperlink, Remove Hyperlink. The text remains in the document.

If the document has a lot of hyperlinks, you don't have to remove just one hyperlink at a time. Press Ctrl-A to select the entire document, and then press Ctrl-6 to remove all hyperlinks.