Quick Trick to Remove Hyperlinks

They got rid of Clippy but not many of the other annoying automated features in MS Word. Automatic formatting is something that most editors want to turn off before they work. In fact, this is why turning off most automation is covered in the “Get Ready to Edit” section of the book.

When you get a document in which all of the URLs (web addresses) are blue and underlined, and active (hyperlinked), you’ll most likely want to remove them so they don’t cause design problems or (horrors!) end up in print. You can do this one at a time, or in one fell swoop (globally).

The advantage of removing hyperlinks one at a time is that a hyperlink found in the text can help you detect text that has not been adequately cited. If you remove all the hyperlinks at once, you won’t have this clue to aid your editing anymore.

Individual Method

screen shot of the context menu that opens when you right-click on a hyperlink in Word

To remove the single hyperlink, right click on the hyperlink, then select Hyperlink > Remove Hyperlink from the context menu that opens.

There are at least three other ways to do this. This first two ways keep your hands (mostly) on the keyboard:

1. Place the cursor within the link using the arrow keys (see troubleshooting) and then key cmd + Shift + F9 (ctrl + Shift + F9 for Windows users).*

screen shot of the hyperlink control dialog box that opens when you key cmd + K within a hyperlink in Word

2. Place the cursor in the link, then key cmd + K (that’s ctrl + K for Windows users) to open the hyperlink dialog box. Then click the Remove Link button at the bottom left.

3. If your version of Word has menus (looking at you, Mac users), open the hyperlink dialog box by clicking Hyperlink on the Insert menu.

4. For those who prefer to use Ribbons, look for the Links button on the Insert ribbon and then click the Link button to open that dialog box.

Global Method

To remove hyperlinks in the whole document at once, select all and then key cmd + Shift + F9 (ctrl + Shift + F9 for Windows users).

*Troubleshooting

If the link keeps opening when you try to right-click on it, use the arrow keys instead to place the cursor within the link, then follow the alternative instructions 1 or 2 above.

Laptop users may have to add the fn to the F9 key sequence: fn + Shift + F9. The fn key tells the computer not to do whatever action the F keys are mapped to (such as volume control) but to activate their F functions instead.

If you don’t have a right mouse button, tap the touchpad with two fingers, or hold cmd (ctrl for Windows users) while you click the mouse or track pad.


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