Resetting Hyperlink to Original Color

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 26, 2017)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016


When Deborah is inserting a link into a Word document (especially a document that she is preparing to publish) and she tests that link, the link changes color. She wonders how she can get the link to either not change color (except when she wants it to) or at least allow her to return the link to its original color so she can publish the document.

There are a few approaches you can take. Perhaps the easiest is to 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 and later versions display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. At the left side of the dialog box click Advanced.
  3. Scroll through the available options until you see the General section.
  4. Make sure the Update Automatic Links at Open check box is selected.
  5. Click on OK.

These steps should only need to be done once, and you may find that the check box in step 4 is selected already on your system. (It is selected by default when you first install Word.) Now, whenever you close and reopen the document, Word shows those hyperlinks in their pristine, unvisited state.

That, of course, brings up another possible approach. Word uses two built-in styles for its hyperlinks. One is called (appropriately enough) "Hyperlink" and the other is called "FollowedHyperlink." When you first open a document, all hyperlinks are formatted, automatically, to use the Hyperlink style. If you click on a hyperlink, it is switched—again, automatically—to the FollowedHyperlink style. If you want all the followed (clicked on) hyperlinks to look like all the other hyperlinks, then change the colors used by the FollowedHyperlink style so they match those used by the Hyperlink style. (How you edit styles has been covered in other WordTips.)

Finally, you can trick Word into thinking that a particular link has not been followed. You can do this by simply right-clicking the hyperlink and choosing Edit Hyperlink from the resulting Context menu. Word displays the Edit Hyperlink dialog box, and you should immediately click the OK button, without making any changes. Word treats the hyperlink as brand new, and automatically applies the Hyperlink style to it. The result is that the link appears to have never been visited.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13508) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

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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What is 2 + 2?

2023-02-01 05:17:36


Thanks it helped!

2021-08-05 12:31:05


Hi Allen the tip about changing the colour of FollowedHyperlinks was great – bothered me for years! Thank you

2020-09-15 08:26:54


Thanks for the "right click>edit>okay" fix - easy enough when you only have a couple links!

2020-07-29 03:04:18


Please try to add images for instructions

2020-04-08 07:43:49


If you don't want to change anything, and you can be consistent about it, then just test the link using incognito (or private) mode.

2020-03-16 11:10:25


Thank you. That solved my problem

2018-08-31 10:23:32


Did not work. I am using 2003, but the options are the same. Box was checked. Closing and opening Word did nothing.

I had previously changed all the text to Arial.

Links exist, but are black, and stay black.

2018-08-22 00:04:59


The best explanation I found on the net for the question I had. I don't know why such huge corporation like Microsoft having experience with millions of customer feedback can't publish such a simple answer. If you search for something, usually their answers are full of unwanted stuff and never the correct or simplest answer that you are looking for. Thanks for your post Allen, appreciate it.

2016-12-27 11:03:11


I am able to right-click on the link, select edit hyperlink, and press enter. This resets.

2016-12-25 01:20:12

Phil Reinemann

If I'm using Word to generate some web page content ("publish") do the followed hyperlinks in the end result change color based on Word's setting or is there a different setting/rule for "publish" or does the displayed web page assume the settings of the browser that's displaying it?
(I don't have anywhere to publish to or a web site to put data on, so I can't really try without a fair amount of setup.)

2016-12-24 06:44:21

Abdul Quadir

Thanks a lot. I wasn't aware of the FollowedHyperlink style.

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