Friday, January 9, 2015

How to Hyperlink

"Just make a hyperlink."  Sounds easy, right?  For some people yes, for others, it sounds like techno speak.  I think people assume everyone knows how to hyperlink.  Truth is...they don't.  I think it is one of those times we tell our students about.  When you don't know how to do something, but you smile and nod and don't say a word because you are worried about what others will think.  What do you as the teacher say to that?  "You should just go ahead and ask because there are probably other kids who don't know either but no one is brave enough to ask."  Right?  I've said it.  If you've been in the classroom very long, chances are you've said it, or at least thought it.  I'm here to make sure that doesn't happen to you the next time someone says to "just hyperlink that".

A hyperlink is a word, phrase, or series of characters that becomes a clickable link.  You can click it and it will take you somewhere else.  That might be to another place in the same document or webpage, or a new document or webpage altogether.  Exactly how to create a hyperlink depends on the program or application you are using, however the basic idea is the same no matter what you are working on.  I'm going to give you the basics you need to know.  

Chances are you've created a hyperlink before and you haven't realized it.  When you found that cool website you wanted to share with a colleague, or that thing on Amazon you wanted your husband to order you for your birthday?  When you copied the web address and pasted it into an email, chat, or text message, you created a hyperlink.  Most programs and applications will take a web address and automatically make it a clickable link.  Problem with that is, sometimes it's really long and looks really messy.  If you are posting a link on a website or into a document or email, you might want something that looks a bit nicer, more professional.  This comes in especially handy now that we are working with so many Google Docs and Forms, which have long, complicated, and not-very-pretty web addresses.  

To make any word or series of words into a hyperlink: 

1.  Copy the web address of the site, document, or Google form you want to link to.  
2.  Type the word or words you wish to hyperlink.
3.  Highlight the word or words with your mouse.
4.  Find the hyperlink button and click it.
5.  Paste the web address in the space for the URL in the pop up window.

Now, finding the hyperlink button is a little different depending on the app you are using.  

The chain link symbol is pretty common.  You'll see this in Gmail and Google Docs.

In Google Docs it is located across the top of your document:

 In Gmail it is across the bottom of your compose message window:

You may also see just the word "Link" like in Blogger.

In Microsoft Word, there are two ways to hyperlink.  One way is to go to the "Insert" tab on the tool bar (also called the ribbon) and click the hyperlink button there, shown with a globe and a chain link.

In Word you can also highlight the text you wish to hyperlink and right click on it.  One of the options will be "hyperlink".  

That covers most of the common programs and icons.  

Once you click the hyperlink button, you will get some options for what you want the hyperlink to do.  Most programs and applications will offer you a place to paste the URL, or web address, for the site you want to link to.  Here are some common ones:


Google Docs:

Microsoft Word:

You'll notice in Microsoft Word, it gives you some other options down the left hand side.  You can link to a web page, file, or place in the same document.  You can also have it create a new document or open an email to a specific email address.  

You'll notice each of these programs has a place for "text to display".  This should be automatically filled with the word or words you highlighted to make your hyperlink.  

Regardless of the program you are using, I recommending testing the hyperlink before you send the email or publish the document, just to be safe.  Sometimes, when you are editing an email, you'll need to press control (command for MAC) and click on the link, instead of just clicking on it to test it.  Once you send the email, people will just be able to click on it.  When you are editing a Google Doc or a message in Gmail, if you mouse over the hyperlink, it will display the link for you to click on to test it out.

Now you can create your very own hyperlink!  Happy linking!

Thank you for visiting the TeachingTechNix blog!  Stop in again soon for more helpful tech tips.  

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