Create accessible hyperlinks in Microsoft Word and Outlook

Address bar in web browser

by JP Corcoran

Creating descriptive hyperlinks in applications such as Microsoft Word and Outlook can help make them more accessible to people using a screen reader. Typically, when a screen reader encounters a hyperlink – such as – in Word or Outlook, the text may be read out letter-by-letter, which can be confusing to those using screen readers. You can change the display text for a hyperlink so it’s more meaningful to everyone.

Open the “Insert Hyperlink” dialog box
To add descriptive text for links, you can use the “Insert Hyperlink” dialogue box. You can open this dialogue box using the keyboard shortcut CTRL + K. This will let you insert a new link where the cursor is positioned, or edit a link when the cursor is on a link.

Add descriptive text to a hyperlink
When writing descriptive text for links, avoid using common, non-descriptive phrases like “learn more” or “click here”, or using only the URL. Instead try to make it clear where the link is taking you when selected.

To add a hyperlink to existing text

  1. Copy the web address you want to create a hyperlink to by pressing CTRL + C.
  2. Highlight the text that you want to turn into a hyperlink, and press CTRL + K.
  3. In the Insert Hyperlink dialogue, paste the link in the Address box by pressing CTRL + V,
  4. Press tab to Ok and then press Enter.