Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. 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: Weird Hyperlink Behavior.

Weird Hyperlink Behavior

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 1, 2020)


Has this ever happened to you? You go to insert a hyperlink in your document (either by inserting it or copying it from another location) and the URL for the hyperlink appears with brackets and the word "hypertext" in front of it. What's going on?

The solution is quite simple, if you understand how Word handles hyperlinks behind-the-scenes. Hyperlinks are managed through the use of field codes. Chances are good that this weird behavior is an indication that you are seeing the field code for the hyperlink, instead of the result of that field code (just the link itself).

Try this the next time you see the weird hyperlink: just move the insertion point somewhere between the two brackets and press Shift+F9. The field code for the hyperlink should disappear, replaced with the actual text you have associated with the link. The Shift+F9 shortcut controls the one field code under the insertion point. If you want to display the results of all field codes in your document, instead of viewing the codes themselves, press Alt+F9. You can also follow these steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 or a later version, display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click Advanced at the left side of the screen.
  3. Scroll through the available options until you see the Show Document Content section. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Show Document Content section of the Word Options dialog box.

  5. Clear or select the Show Field Codes Instead of Their Values check box, as desired.
  6. Click on OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12863) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Weird Hyperlink Behavior.

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. ...


Factory Default Settings for Word

Do you long for a way to reset Word to a "factory default" condition? It is almost impossible to get things to the way ...

Discover More

Adding a Break to Your Document

Want to modify the way your text flows between pages in a document? Word allows you to insert several types of breaks ...

Discover More

Saving Changes in the Personal Workbook

The Personal workbook is a special place used to store information and macros that you can access from all the other ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Embedding Linked Documents

Word allows you to link one document to another document rather easily. If you later want to grab the contents of a ...

Discover More

Associating a Name with a Position

Wouldn't it be great if Word allowed you to have a small pop-up that showed you some information associated with a ...

Discover More

Differences in Behavior of Links

Got some active links in your document? Do you want to have them activated when you click on them, or do you want to ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 9 - 1?

2021-11-12 23:18:40


Thank you! This was driving me mad seeing all my hyperlinks as field code.

2021-10-18 22:55:52


Hi Allen,
These instructions don't work for me. The options box is not available (can't find it anywhere). Is that because I am using Word for Mac 2019? My keyboard on my Macbook Pro has no F9 key either.
Thanks, K

2021-09-15 14:45:47


SO helpful, thank you!!!

2021-09-11 11:26:07


thank you for your solution .
It work correctly for my problem
Thanks and good luck

2021-06-21 13:09:45

Bruce Quinn

This was hugely useful for me. I was going crazy as my outbound client documents had the HYPERLINK format. Other easily available Q&A websites told me to change FILE / OPTIONS / DISPLAY / UNCHECK HIDDEN TEXT.


This was a life saver as I was frozen with the incorrect looking documents until I found this solution page.

2021-06-04 10:36:54


Hyperlinks -- I set hyperlinks to headings in a glossary section of my Word document. When I add new items (new headings) to the glossary, my hyperlinks start pointing to the wrong items. Is there a way to make Word not change the heading to which it points. If I entered all my new items/headings to the bottom of the glossary, it would work fine. But I want them in alphabetic order.

2021-05-15 05:05:16


Thank you very much for these very useful tips

2021-03-28 16:55:04


thank you very much, fantastic!

2021-01-19 09:29:03


Thank you for this! My cat walked across my keyboard and I couldn't figure out how to undo whatever magic she pulled. This article was quick and concise and helped me fix the problem!

2020-12-20 13:19:23


Thanks a lot !

Your Tip for the weird behaviour made me save valuable time today. This tip was very much useful and is written in a simple manner without any jargon.

Please keep up the good work.

Thanks once again.

Have a good wek-end!

2020-12-10 14:15:30


Thank you. I had to unchecked the box to see the link. It worked.

2020-12-10 10:49:59


it worked, Thank you very much

2020-10-16 21:32:35


Hi Allen
Much gratitude for your "Weird Hyperlink Behavior" - solved the issue for me ❤ Thank you!

2020-09-12 22:35:05

Dorla Grant

Thank you so very much. I forgot I enabled the shift F9 when I was completing mail merge. It did work.

2020-05-19 10:09:08


Thank you, this was so helpful! Instantly fixed the issue I've been having.

2020-05-06 09:13:27

Adam Anderson

Thank you so much for this article. I just started a new job and this was the default behavior and it was driving me nuts.

2020-04-03 17:50:09


Thanks for all the great info about how to use Word efficiently!

I'm encountering an issue with hyperlinks. Yesterday I could copy and past a hyperlink, and it would be blue and underlined. Today, I get this:


The Shift+F9 solution above does make it the blue, underlined link (thank you!!!), but how do I revert it to pasting like that automatically?

I tried unchecking the AutoFormat As You Type box "Internet and network paths with hyperlinks" box, to no avail.

Any ideas?

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.