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Hyperlinks: Now you see ’em. Now you don’t!

One of the last things I mentioned during my Interactive PDF session at the recent InDesign Conference in New York City was a quick tip on how to manage the visibility and invisibility of the hyperlinks you create in InDesign.

Hyperlinks are created through the Hyperlinks panel (Window> Interactive > Hyperlinks). One thing that I like to do when applying hyperlinks is to leave the visible rectangle around the links on. This makes it easy to see the hyperlinks around text in my document.

But I really hate exporting out the PDF with all those ugly rectangles around the text. Here’s the cool tip: Shift-click all the hyperlinks listed in the panel. And then choose Hyperlink Options from the Hyperlinks panel menu. Even though all the links are for different destinations, you can still change the visible rectangles to invisible.

This comes from the Adobe interface guidelines that state when two or more selected items share some common attributes, you can change those common attributes. So although the hyperlinks have different destinations, etc, they still can have their common visibility attributes changed. (Similar things happen for objects with different fills, but common strokes, etc.)

Actually, the best part of the tip was that David Blatner didn’t know it! I love showing stuff David doesn’t know. His eyes light up and he gets the biggest smile on his face.

Sandee Cohen

Sandee Cohen

Sandee Cohen

Latest posts by Sandee Cohen (see all)

  • - November 30, -0001
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27 Comments on “Hyperlinks: Now you see ’em. Now you don’t!

  1. You’re right, Sandee: I love learning new things and the fact that you can turn visibility on/off for all the hyperlinks so easily was definitely my favorite new tip from the Conference! Thank you. Like so many important features, it’s totally obvious once you see it, but I had just never thought of it before.

  2. I had comment #3 on the prior post, and I would have sworn when I posted it that the information was *not* in the main article at the time. Oh well.

  3. David and Anne-Marie,

    Anne-Marie’s comment reminds me that David said that the website is supposed to be getting an improved search engine. Has that happened yet? It’s getting harder and harder for me to find past postings to make sure that I’m not duplicating previous material.

    Also, you used to have a Contributor link on the left panel which has disappeared. I used to be able to click on my name to see my past postings. Where has that gone?

  4. Steve, re the search engine, yes … click the Advanced Search link below the search field. That’s new.

    We tweaked a bit of the site over the past week, trying to reduce the # of entries in the left sidebar, and now Contributors are included in the About link (where we think most people would look).

    Clicking your name there will bring up your author archive as before. We could probably make that more obvious though.

  5. Well, yes, Anne-Marie did say, way back in February that:
    “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.”

    but her blog post was not really directed to showing and hiding the hyperlinks that someone WANTS to include in a document.

    She was really talking about what to do with the hyperlinks that litter text from Word.

    So, although the actual tip was in the blog, I’m not going to feel that bad in reposting.

    But yes, Anne-Marie was first!

  6. Anne-Marie, hiding a good tip at the tail end of a big ol’ blog post about a different topic just doesn’t count when compared to Sandee standing in front a crowd of people and showing how it’s done! ;)

    Plus, one of the nice things about having a brain like a sieve is that I can learn a tip all over again and be just as excited the second time around.

    Steve, I just updated the “archive” page so that you can now easily search by author (see “View by month/author” in the nav bar).

    But we’ve also implemented the Advanced Search feature. It’s still a little buggy, but it works better than the normal search.

  7. Ravi, I’m not sure what your question is. Are you asking why someone would use hyperlinks? You can use hyperlinks in the InDesign file, but not easily. The main reason they’re there is for exported XHTML or PDF. Remember that you have to turn on the Hyperlinks checkbox in the Export PDF Options dialog box in order for hyperlinks to be included in the PDF file.

  8. Thx for the Hyperlink info, and the kewl way of getting rid of them in Word (control/command 5/6).

    However, I still get a rectangle box around the link, when what I want is an underline.

    Seems InDesign CS3 doesn?t have the option of ?underline? link style, but only solid or dash lines?

    My work around for this is to open the pdf in Acrobat Professional and using the Advanced Editing Tools, you have the choice of solid, dash and underline styles.

    Seems daft to me that if Adobe can have this feature in Acrobat, then why not in InDesign?

    I?m still a novice with InDesign, just got the prog last Autumn, only just upgraded to CS3.

    I am impressed with its pdfing ? saves having to Distill postscript files from Quark?

  9. Jezz, I agree that it’d be better if ID and Acro had more parity for lots of things, including the link style for hyperlinks.

    But I think that the only reason Acro offers the Underline style in the Create Link dialog box is because there’s no other way in the program to do that; whereas in InDesign, there are a bunch of ways to do that that are actually much faster and more flexible than Acro’s method.

    The best way, IMO, is to create a character style for your text links in InDesign (if you’re bringing them in from Word, they already have a Character Style applied called Hyperlink). In the Character style, turn on the Underline option, and color it/offset it however you’d like.

    Then in InDesign’s Hyperlinks panel, select all the links and turn off the rectangles as Sandee describes in the post.

    When you export to PDF with links enabled, the hyperlinks appear underlined, just as in InDesign.

  10. I’m a little late to this discussion, but i’m looking for help on how to permanantly disable those visible rectangles. I routinely import text, with hyperlinks, from Word and do not want the visible rectangles. I can turn them off manually, but since i do this nearly every day I invariably forget. Going to view>turn off hyperlinks works for removing the rectangle in inDesign, but when i export to PDF they reappear.

    Am i doing something wrong? Should i want the rectangles, but i’m just not saavy enough to know it?

  11. I have an eps image placed in a Indesign CS3 document. I saved it as a pdf and inserted hyperlinks to the eps (map of the US) in Acrobat. I have minor edits to the eps but I don’t want to redo all the links in acrobat…any suggestions how I switch out my old map with my new map without relinking?

  12. Here’s another neat thing to do with making hyperlinks invisible: inline buttons. By breaking out the hyperlink text into its own text frame, converting it to a button, and applying different states, you can mimic the rollover effect of web pages, but using a PDF.
    And because the hyperlink text is now an inline object, there’s no longer that pesky problem of urls breaking in weird places. Of course, this works best if the link text is short. And also, because there’s no way to apply no-break as part of a character style, this will always keep the whole string of link text together
    You can also have set the transparency of the different states so that the text interacts with graphics or gradients beneath it. Short of some complicated javascript, I don’t even think that’s possible in standard CSS coding. Here is an example of it:

  13. I am publishing pdf files created from IDCS4. I need to be able to turn off weblinks but not globally. I need to be able to pick and choose which ones should be on and not. I tried the preferences in Acrobat but that seems to disable the ones I manually set up. What is the best way for me to get from ID4 to the web with only the weblinks I choose set up as hyperlinks?s Thanks!

  14. Text surrounding hyperlink– the text not tagged as hyperlink style–does not retain its style color when I change the hyperlink style attributes. Has anyone experienced this. I’ve created many docs this way, and this one is a first.

    I’ve created a document with a hyperlink style applied to all hyperlinks. The document exports as a pdf with hyperlinks working beautifully, but my customer wanted a different shade of blue for hyperlinks.When I attempt to change the color of the hyperlink in the style panel, the color of non-hyperlinked adjacent text changes as well. That means select adjacent text is now blue instead of black.

    Ideas? Would love to help others if this happens. This can be tough if the document is quite large.

  15. When I export files from ID to PDF, it can identify hyperlinks by the fact that a text string starts with “http://” or even just “www.” (suppose the imported source text did not have links embedded). However, if the link string wraps to the next line in the text flow, the link URL stops at the line break. For essample, suppose the URL “” wraps at docs/. In the PDF, so does the target it loads in the browser, which is not a valid URL. Is there a way to avoid that problem without a lot of manual labor in ID’s Hyperlinks panel? There can be loads of these links in a large multilingual document.

  16. GShannon: you are confusing InDesign’s native hyperlink function with Acrobat’s “Detect Hyperlink” ‘feature’.
    Hyperlinks created in ID itself have none of the disadvantages from Acrobat’s shoddy, haphazard implementation.

    There are scripts around that look for, and automatically add, hyperlinks in your InDesign document. Only thing you have to remember is to select to include them on exporting to PDF.

  17. Why pray tell, does Adobe make building hyperlinks so darned tough and time consuming. Geez, take a lesson from MSWord and tap control K, type in the link and be on our way. InDesign has some nice tricks but it also has come primitive, time consuming junk and apparently none of your software designers ever use this software to make money … and let me tell you Adobe, wasted TIME is lost money.

  18. If I change all hyperlinks to invisible rectangle, all of my text shifts and I would have to reformat everything. How can I make my visible rectangles not display in pdf but still have the link?

  19. This might be a bit late but this “trick” only seems to work when the hyperlinks have the same format… if some are “paragraph number” and some “anchor text” then you will change this together with the appearance – So annoying. Not sure there is a solution for this.

  20. Hi, i jus want to know is there any other way to delete the Hidden or false hyperlinks that are not shown in Indesign (cs 5.5 ) Hyperlinks panel. still if we covert that as Idml, if you try to open with Oxygen or Epsilon tool, those false hyperlinks are shown. The main reason to view or delete this hyperlinks are while doing web pdf or when we try to export epub the Indesign quits becoz of false hypelinks. if we remove those hyperlinks, file is exported successfully. Im sure these hyperlinks are not visible in hyperlinks panel. No character are styles applied too. the question is simple, can those false hyperlinks be viewed in Indesign. this is a non-Xml job, so nothing can be viewed in story board. Thanks in advance for the solution provider.

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