Create a hyperlink to an external file or address

Add and manage content

Sometimes you may want to create a link to an external file or web address, rather than to another topic inside your document. For example, you might want to link to a PowerPoint slide show from your document's outputs, or you might add a link to an external web page.

  • When you want to incorporate an external file's contents directly into your document, use a File object. Author includes the external file's contents when it publishes your document.
  • To link to an external file, but keep the file separate from your document, use a hyperlink. That's what we'll describe here.

    Note: When your readers click the link from your document, they must have the correct program installed on their computer to open that type of external file, or they will be unable to view it. For example, if you have included a PowerPoint slide show, then your readers must have Microsoft PowerPoint installed on their computer.

  • When you want to link to an external file from a CHM (HTML Help) file, you can use HTML code that is inserted by using a File object.

    Tip When you're viewing draft copies of your published output, simply copy the external files into a directory that is in the correct location relative to your Publishing directory.

To create a link to an external file or web address:

  1. In Author, open a topic.
  2. Select the text you want to link from, then click Edit > Insert > Insert Hyperlink.
  3. Click New.
  4. Go to Hypertext Links > Internet URLs: > Add.

    A new entry is created in the URL list, with "http://www." added for you.

  5. Select the link, then:
    • If you are specifying an external Web address, type the rest of it in the URL entry field, then go to Step 7.

      Create Hyperlink to URL

    • If you are specifying an external file rather than a Web address, delete the text in the URL entry field. Then type the path to the external file relative to where your document will be when a reader views it after publishing (and not necessarily relative to the document while you are editing it).
    • If you are going to put your document in the same directory as the external file, just type the filename and extension. For example, you might want to ship your document on a CD with some associated external files in the same directory.


    • If your document may be published to more than one location, specify an absolute address rather than a relative one.
  6. In the Description entry field, add a description for the URL - this is displayed when you hover the cursor over the link in the HTML outputs, and can be different from the Hyperlink object's description.