Friday Fundamentals: Hassle-free Hyperlinks in the Latest InDesign Update

There’s this catch-all term for documents that exploit the fact that they are made out of pixels rather paper: interactive. This may refer to a document that contains video, or audio, or some kind of click-to-win quiz. But seriously, one of the most natural and accurate ways for a document to be inter-actable is to have hyperlinks. 

Up until last week, adding hyperlinks to your InDesign documents was a fairly burdensome process, which involved deciphering fussy icons, panels, and dialog boxes. With the latest CC update, the icons aren’t necessary, the panels are more straightforward, and the dialog box…well, it’s mostly the same, but it makes some good decisions so that you don’t have to. Here’s how the process works:

1. Right-click to make a hyperlink. This is probably the best part. All you have to do is select text in your InDesign layout, right-click it, and choose Hyperlink > New Hyperlink from the contextual menu.

*Actually, if the text in your document resembles a URL, I say take your chances and try Hyperlink > New Hyperlink from URL, and you’re done. Don’t worry, there’s a way to see if this works noted below. 

2. Fill out the New Hyperlink dialog box. Anyway, if you take the New Hyperlink route, you get the aptly named New Hyperlink dialog box where InDesign defaults to assuming you want to link to a URL and takes a stab at the URL you seek.  

The InDesign hyperlink dialog box opens from the contextual menu.

You’ll not above, it also automatically sets the Character Style of your selected text to "Hyperlink." If you didn’t happen to have a Hyperlink style available, InDesign goes ahead and creates one for you. As it’s done for me in the example below…with questionable results. The default Hyperlink style can be a little odd.

3. Adjust the Hyperlink style, if desired. Note, for the most part, InDesign creates a default Hyperlink that is some familiar shade of blue. Not quite ubiquitous Internet default hyperlink blue, but a nice tasteful blue. Unfortunately, in my case, the existing paragraph styles seem to have thrown InDesign off and it’s also created a strange highlight-esque effect as you can see above. 

*I say, "highlight-esque" because you can’t really highlight text in InDesign, rather you create a negatively offset, transparent, underline that goes above the line instead of under. 

No matter, like any style, you can edit it from the Character Styles panel. Double-click the hyperlink entry (or right-click the entry and choose Edit Style) to open the Character Style Options dialog box. 

Knowing my "highlight" problem was probably an underline problem in disguise, I clicked on Underline Options in the left-hand pane of the dialog box, then turned off the Underline On checkbox. 

You can change the default Hyperlink style according to your taste

Voila. Ugly underline-disguised-as-highlight is gone. 

4. Make sure it works. Meanwhile, to check that I have, in fact, linked to a valid URL, a quick glance at the improved Hyperlinks panel shows a green-for-go indicator next to my link entry. This is useful, because you still can’t click on the link itself to launch a browser and verify it’s what you meant to do. You can, however, click said green button, click it, and launch your browser (and hopefully load your intended URL). 

Fixed hyperlink style and a happy working link

InDesign CC, helping you exercise your fundamental right to easily create hyperlinks!

Have a delightfully interactive weekend, dekeInteractors!

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