I am having trouble discovering how to send a hyperlink in an email so that
the email recipient can simply click on and open the hyperlink from the email
message. Additionally, I’d like to be able to place hyperlinks in a word
document so I can click on it and have it open from the word document.
You’re asking a question that email newsletter publishers have been asking
in frustration for a long time. The problem is that 90% of the time it’s simple
and it just works.
The other 10% of the time has us pulling our hair out.
The problem is that it all depends on the email program that’s used to read
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The 90% Case
In plain-text formatted email, all you need to do most of the time is
include the full URL in your email. For example:
http://ask-leo.com to get your tech questions answered.
Will, when displayed by most email clients automatically
notice that there’s a URL beginning with “http://” and make it clickable:
http://ask-leo.com to get your tech questions
work for most people.”
In otherwords, you need do nothing special.
In HTML email most of the time all you need do is include the HTML for a
link. So you might include in your HTML:
href=”http://ask-leo.com”>http://ask-leo.com</a> to get your tech
And the recipient of the email will usually see:
Visit http://ask-leo.com to get
your tech questions answered.
Now, the “caveat” here is that depending on what email program you
are using to compose your email, you may or may not be able to enter the HTML
directly as I’ve shown above. You’ll need to check. In most cases if you can’t
edit the raw HTML, but the email program will provide an “insert link” function
instead which will do the same thing.
The 10% Hair-loss Case
Everything I’ve described so far can fail for a number of reasons, all of
which depend on the capabilities of your recipient. In other words it’s nothing
you have control over.
Some email programs don’t automatically hight URLs in plain text emails, or
users can turn off that feature.
Some email programs display HTML formatted email as plain text,
turning off all of the features of HTML including links.
Some email programs disable clickable links from unknown sources. Adding the
sender to the recipient’s “trusted” list or address book can sometimes resolve
Some email programs react to a different delimiter to identify a link. For example, AOL
was notorious for not recognizing “http://ask-leo.com”, but
rather “<http://ask-leo.com>”. Unfortunately the later would not be
recognized by other mail programs, so publishers often included both.
The list goes on.
There’s no 100% solution. Someone, somewhere will not be able to “just
click” on a link and have it work. The best we can hope for is to get it to
work for most people.
The approach I use in my newsletter is three-fold:
Links are included in HTML.
Below the HTML link, the link is included again as if it were in plain
So a link to an article might look like this:
Internet Safety: How do I keep my computer safe on the internet?
I believe that puts me in the 95% bucket.
The “third” way is simply that folks who view my email newsletter in plain
text get a different message altogether:
seeing this, your email program is configured to view only
“plain text” emails, or prefer the “plain text” versions of email.
You can view this weeks newsletter either:
– by switching to an HTML view in your email program
– visiting http://ask-leo.com/currentnewsletter.html which will have the
this week’s newsletter, ready for you to view.
Needless to say when they visit the archived copy of the newsletter on the
web, the links all work.