Three Word-based hyperlink questions

BY J. CARLTON COLLINS, CPA
July 1, 2013

Q: Why is it that sometimes when I type a webpage address in Word, it converts to a hyperlink automatically, and sometimes it does not?

A: Word recognizes and converts to a hyperlink webpage addresses containing “www” (such as www.irs.gov), but not those that don’t (such as irs.gov). The next time your webpage address fails to convert to a hyperlink, insert a “www.” in front of the webpage address, position your cursor after the last letter of the webpage address, and press the space bar to convert it to a hyperlink. 

 
Q: I am baffled by this. I received a Word document containing a hyperlink, but when I click it, my browser says it cannot find the webpage, even though the web address is correct (see attached file). Can you tell me why this is happening?

 
A: If you look closely, there are forensic signs that suggest what is causing your hyperlink problem. Specifically, the hyperlink and the hyperlinked text do not match.

If you create a hyperlink in Word 2007 (or earlier Word editions), then later edit the hyperlinked text, Word 2007 does not automatically update the hyperlink to match that text. Thereafter, the hyperlink remains incorrect, even for users opening the document in Word 2010 or 2013. It appears that the author of your document originally created this hyperlink in Word 2007 (or an earlier edition), then edited the linked text.

Note: It is not possible to create this type of error in Word 2010 and 2013, as those editions of Word automatically update hyperlinks as the hyperlinked text is edited.

Q: I received the attached Word document (pictured below), but I can’t get the hyperlinks to work. What am I doing wrong?

 
A: The Word document you forwarded to me does not contain hyperlinks: The author of that document used blue text and underline formatting to make those web addresses look like hyperlinks. Either the author wanted to make that text look like hyperlinks for printing purposes, he doesn’t know better, or perhaps he sent this document to you on April Fools’ Day.

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