Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Weird Hyperlink Behavior.

Weird Hyperlink Behavior

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 28, 2021)

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. Choose Options form the Tools menu. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the View tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The View tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Clear or select the Field Codes check box, depending on whether you want to see the codes (selected) or their results (cleared).
  5. 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 (46) applies to Microsoft Word 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) 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. ...

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