Cleaning Up Hyperlinks from Word Text
Like many InDesign users, Terry V. is not fond of Word’s hyperlinked text. He writes:
To me it is a major annoyance that when I import a Word file, all the hyperlinks are in boxes with blue underlined text. Word automatically makes hyperlinks clickable and gives these this hideous layout to make sure your eye doesn’t miss this ugliness, hoping that I click on it so the color changes to another ugly color.
I usually delete the character style ‘Hyperlink’ without keeping the formatting. But then there still is a box around it. Even when I cut the text and paste it without formatting, the box remains visible.
So my questions:
– What is that annoying box?
– How do I get rid of it (or bring it on in the totally theoretical case I might want to use it)?
– How do I avoid those hyperlinks from being imported and messing up both my perfectly fine layout and my happiness being an InDesign user?
The problem is that one of Microsoft Word’s default behaviors is to automatically turn anything it recognizes as a web site or e-mail address into a hyperlink as soon as the user types it. You can click that link in Word and it will bring you to the web site or create a pre-addressed e-mail message.
When you bring the text into InDesign by pasting without the formatting, the “hyperlinkness” of the text still comes through — the hidden HTML code that Word added. The gray boxes that you see are the default appearance for any hyperlinks in InDesign, so that when the file is exported to PDF, it’s easy for the user to find the linked text.
Stop them in Word
It’s a pain to “unlink” these in Word, even if the user could figure out how. So the best bet is to ask your Word users to turn off the default behavior, if not for all their documents, then at least for the articles they’re preparing for your layout.
It’s simple: Go to Word’s Tools menu and open the AutoCorrect… dialog box. Click on the AutoFormat as You Type panel and in the Replace As You Type section, turn off the checkbox next to “Internet paths with hyperlinks.”
This doesn’t clear out any links it’s already created in the current document, but does prevent it from adding links to text that’s typed from then on.
Remove them in InDesign
The only way you’ll end up with Word’s hyperlinked text in your InDesign document is if you retain Word formatting when you place the file. If you choose Remove Styles and Formatting in the Import Options dialog box before you place it, you won’t get the hyperlinks – no formatting, no hidden code. (So this is a better option than pasting without formatting, as the user was doing above.)
However, if you turn on the option to Retain Local Formatting (usually a good idea to retain specific bold and italic formatting), no code is retained but the links will still appear in that lovely RGB blue color and underlined. Not a big deal, it’s just a local override. Hold down the Option/Alt key when you apply your Paragraph Style to get rid of it.
You will see both the boxes and the blue/underlined formatting if you place the Word file with formatting intact.
Even in this case, it’s fairly simple to clean them up:
- In your Character Styles palette, delete the one called Hyperlink (it came with the Word file) and at the prompt, replace it with [None] and turn off the Preserve Formatting checkbox. That clears out the blue color and underlines from the affected text.
- Go to Window > Interactive > Hyperlinks and shift-click all of the entries that appear in the palette. (If you actually have some hyperlinks you created in InDesign that you want to keep, select only the ones that came with Word — they’re called Hyperlink, Hyperlink 2, Hyperlink 3, and so on.) Then click the trashcan icon at the bottom of the palette to delete the Word hyperlinks. The gray boxes disappear, but the text remains.
Of course, if you want to keep the links (for your PDF) but don’t want the gray boxes or blue text, you could change their appearance.
- Edit the Hyperlink Character Style to your taste, or delete it all together as explained above.
- Select all the entries for the imported Word hyperlinks in the Hyperlinks palette, then choose Hyperlink Options from the palette menu and change their Appearance to Invisible Rectangle.