MS Word

Bring Hyperlinks to Heel

The Problem:

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 Solution:

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.)