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Adding Text Hyperlinks with Adobe InDesign

by Ron Kurtus (revised 8 January 2017)

You can add text hyperlinks in your Adobe InDesign document. A text hyperlink consists of one or more words that, when clicked with your mouse, will take you to another location in your document or to another website. Typically, the appearance of the hyperlink gives an indication of its function. It may be a underlined or a different color than other text.

Often you may want the PDF file or e-book that you export from your Adobe InDesign document to include text hyperlinks. The method to do that is to first create a hyperlink Character Style, including the appearance you want for the hyperlink. You then open the Hyperlinks panel, select your text and click the Create New Hyperlink icon.

You can also edit or delete existing hyperlinks in your InDesign document.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.

Set hyperlink character style

When you create a text hyperlink in InDesign, you want to have it appear as a hyperlink to the user—usually with the words underlined and colored blue, which is the standard look.

Create style

In such a case, you need to create a new Hyperlinks character style. In a book, it is best to set the style in the Style Source document and then synchronize the documents that have hyperlinks.

1. Choose Type > Character Styles or Shift-F11 to open the Character Styles panel.

2. Open the menu from the top right icon of the panel and choose New Character Style.... The New Character Style dialog box appears.

  • Under General, you can name the style (i.e. Hyperlink)
  • Under Basic Character Formats, you can click the Underline square
  • Under Character Color, you can set the color—typically Light Blue
  • Under Underline Options
    • Check Underline On
    • Set Weight = 1 pt and Type = Solid Line
    • Set Color = Light Blue

3. Click OK.

You are ready to apply the style when you create new hyperlinks in this document.

Import style

If you have numerous documents, such as in a book, you can import your hyperlink character style into the other documents.

Open the document needing the character style.

Open the Character Panel and display the panel menu from the upper right icon.

Select Load Character Styles... The Open a File dialog box appears. Open a file that has your hyperlink style.

The Load Styles dialog box appears. Check the style to load and click OK.

The hyperlink style is loaded to your document.

Create new hyperlink

The method to create one or more text hyperlinks in your document is:

Open the document.

Choose Window > Interactive > Hyperlinks to open the Hyperlinks panel.

Select or mark the text, frame or graphic that you want as the source of the hyperlink.

Click the Create new hyperlink icon at the bottom of the Hyperlinks panel to open the New Hyperlink dialog box. Alternatively, you can open the Options menu from the upper right hand icon and select New Hyperlink....

In the New Hyperlink dialog box, select your destination from the Link To: drop down menu.

  • For URL, you can enter the web address after http://
  • For File, you can browse to select a file and Path: within on your computer
  • For Email, you can enter the Address: and Subject Line:
  • For Page within your document or book, you can select or browse for the Document name or you can designate a Page number. You can also set the Zoom Setting for the linked page
  • For Text Anchor, you can select a Document and named Text Anchor
  • For Shared Destination, you can

Define a Character Style by checking the Style box or leaving it blank. If you check the Style box, you must have defined a character style for your document.

Define the Appearance of your hyperlink by selecting a Visible Rectangle or Invisible Rectangle. If you selected Visible Rectangle, you can select its color and line width. An Invisible Rectangle would apply if you had defined a Character Style for the hyperlink.

Click OK.

Edit or delete hyperlink

Select or mark the existing hyperlink in document

Choose Window > Interactive > Hyperlinks to open the Hyperlinks panel.

Click the Options menu.

Click Hyperlink Options...

From the Destination drop down list, select Edit or Delete

If editing, you can change Destination, Type, Name, Page and/or Zoom Setting.

Click OK


The method to include text hyperlinks in your InDesign documents is to first create a Hyperlink Character Style, including the appearance you want for the hyperlink. Then open the Hyperlinks panel, select your text and click the Create New Hyperlink icon.

You can also edit or delete existing hyperlinks in your InDesign document.

Plan for the future

Resources and references

Ron Kurtus' Credentials


Hyperlinks - Adobe InDesign Help

Create a PDF Hyperlink Using InDesign CS5 - InDesign for Dummies

How to Create Interactive PDFs in InDesign Using Hyperlinks - Tuts plus

Making Text Anchors the Fast Way - InDesign Secrets

InDesign Resources


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