Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Hyperlinks Not Found.

Hyperlinks Not Found

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 10, 2018)

When you insert hyperlinks into your Word documents, how you specify the URL in the hyperlink's field can affect how the hyperlink behaves in the future. Typically, if you are referencing a URL in your hyperlink, it is inserted in the format https:\\wordribbon.tips.net. This is called an absolute hyperlink, because it indicates exactly where the resource is located, regardless of the location of the document in which the hyperlink is created.

When you create hyperlinks to files, it is much more common to create relative hyperlinks instead of absolute ones. For instance, let's say you have two documents, named (appropriately enough) MyDoc1 and MyDoc2. If you are working in MyDoc1, and you want to include a hyperlink to the bookmark CoolPlace in MyDoc2, the field containing your hyperlink may end up looking like this:

{ HYPERLINK "MyDoc2.doc" \l "CoolPlace" }

This is a relative hyperlink, and in later resolving the link, Word assumes that MyDoc2 is located in the same folder as MyDoc1. If you end up separating MyDoc1 and MyDoc2 into different folders, you will get “Error! Bookmark not defined” instead of the expected hyperlink in MyDoc1.

A partial solution to this problem is to always use absolute references for files when setting up hyperlinks. For instance, the foregoing hyperlink would look like the following when it uses absolute references instead:

{ HYPERLINK "D:\SomePath\MyDoc2.doc" \l "CoolPlace" }

Now, if you move MyDoc1 into a different directory, Word can still find MyDoc2 and the hyperlink will still work as expected. Notice, however, that I said this was only a “partial solution.” The reason is that you will still get an error if you move MyDoc2 to a different place than the noted directory. In that case, the only solution is to modify your hyperlinks so they point to the new absolute location of MyDoc2.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11189) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Hyperlinks Not Found.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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