It’s very common and very frustrating – someone sends you a link in email,
you click it, and …
Or perhaps page not found.
Or maybe something else entirely.
It’s not their fault, it’s not your fault, and it’s not really your email
program’s fault, although it is the email program’s doing.
I’ll show you one way to pull it all back together.
The problem is URLs or web page addresses that are too long: URLs that are so long that they don’t fit on a single line when your email program displays them.
Here’s a really long link to a page on one of my other sites:
At 94 characters long, that’s a fairly lengthy URL.
In fact, it’s too long for many email programs. Many email programs attempt to force the text in your message to be no wider than some number of characters. For example, an email program might force all of the text to be no wider than 72 characters. For words, that’s not a problem – the text is reformatted, breaking lines at the spaces between words.
What if there are no spaces?
Then, many mail programs do this:
Notice how the URL has been literally broken into two at column 72.
The problem is that even though the first 72 characters are highlighted as a link, they are incomplete. The link won’t work because it doesn’t include the part that was placed on the next line.
Here’s another example, taken from an email that I received this morning:
Copy/Paste to the rescue
Once you have received a URL broken in this way, you need to use copy and paste to reconstruct the original URL on a single line.
Start by using your mouse to select the first line of the URL:
Click-and-hold your mouse pointer just past the right-most character in the line and drag it to the left, highlighting the text as it’s selected. Once you’ve selected the entire portion of that line, release the mouse button.
Then right-click the selected text:
Click Copy to copy the selected text to the clipboard.
Next, switch over to your browser; click in the address bar and type CTRL+A to select all of whatever may be there. If you want, you may then press the Delete key on your computer to clear the address bar.
Now, right-click in the empty address bar and click Paste. The first part of the broken URL that you copied to the clipboard will be placed in the address bar:
Do not press Enter, click Go in the browser, or do anything that would cause the browser to try to load that URL. Remember, the link is broken.
Now, we need to go pick up the second part to fix it.
Back in your email message, select the second line of the broken URL:
Once again, right-click it and click Copy to copy it to the clipboard.
Now, go back to the browser and carefully click somewhere past the right side of what we’re previously pasted:
Make sure that nothing in the address bar is selected and that what you previously pasted is still there and unmodified. Some browsers will highlight the existing contents when you return to the address bar. Place the cursor past the right end of the first part of the URL for the next step.
Right-click there and click Paste:
The second line that we copied to the clipboard will be pasted after the first part, joining them into a single URL.
Now, you can press Enter or click Go to view that URL.
When you receive a link in an email that’s broken by having been split across several lines, for each line simply:
Select it using your mouse.
Copy it to the clipboard using right-click and selecting Copy.
Paste it into the browser address bar using right-click and selecting Paste. Make sure to clear the address bar before pasting the first segment. Once pasted, place the cursor immediately at the end of the link segment before pasting any new segments.
When done, press Enter to go to the fixed URL.
It’s clearly a bit of work. You might want to encourage friends that regularly send you long links to use a URL-shortening service before putting that link in email. How do I post a long link in email? shows you one way to do exactly that.
Using Copy/Paste to fix a broken link in email.
Hi everyone, this is Leo Notenboom for askleo.net. Earlier today, I received an email that contained a long URL to this e-card and as you can see from the image here, the link is kinda sorta broken. It’s broken over two lines because the link was too long.
Now if I click on the part that’s actually highlighted like a link normally would, you’ll see that it goes to the appropriate server but the e-card itself doesn’t work and that’s simply because the id number that they happened to use for this has been cut off. So what we need to do is go back to our email and in this case, we’ll use Copy/Paste to go to this link. We’ll start by using the mouse button and I’m going to click off to the right of the first part of this link, hold and drag the mouse over to select the first part of that link. Now I’m going to right-click on it and select Copy. Now you can also type Ctrl+C instead of doing this right-click and Copy, but I’m using right-click and Copy here to show you and make it more obvious.
Now, we’ll go back to the browser and up in the address bar (we’ll pretend this wasn’t already here) up in the address bar, we’ll right-click again and type in ‘Paste’. Now, we didn’t type in paste and go we just typed in paste; we haven’t actually done anything yet. All we’ve done is put that first part of that URL in the address bar.
Now we’re gonna go back to the email program and repeat that with the second part of that link. In other words, I clicked off to the right-hand side of the second line. I’m going to click and hold and drag and all the way over to the left until everything’s been selected and release the mouse button.
Now, I’ll right-click on it; click Copy; go back to the web browser where I’ve got the first part; click off to the right of that, making sure that nothing is selected depending on your browser. As you can see, the initial thing it did was select the entire URL. We don’t want that. Some will actually select the last part of the URL. We don’t want that either. What we want is this one lone cursor off to the very end of what we pasted first then we’ll right-click, type Paste and what we’ve done now is created the entire URL. We’ve reconstructed that single line that got broken in two in email. And in fact at this point, if I just hit Enter, I get the e-card I was expecting. That’s all there is to it: copy, paste, put in pieces of back together back in the address bar.
I’m Leo Notenboom for askleo.net.