What Is a Hyperlink?

Also see how to use them and how to make your own hyperlink

Woman using laptop
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A hyperlink is simply a link to some other resource. It uses a special kind of command that jumps you to some other content in your web browser, usually to another page. 

Most web pages are filled with dozens of hyperlinks, each sending you to some related web page or picture/file. Search results are another easy way to observe hyperlinks; go to Google and search for anything, and every result you see is a hyperlink to the different web pages that show up in the results.

A hyperlink can even point you to a specific section of a web page (and not just the primary page) using what's called an anchor. For example, this Wikipedia entry includes anchor links at the top of the page that point you to various parts of the same piece, like to this.

You'll know that something is a hyperlink when your mouse pointer changes to a pointing finger. Nearly all the time, hyperlinks appear as images or as underlined words/phrases. Sometimes, hyperlinks also take the shape of drop-down menus or tiny animated movies or advertisements.

No matter how they appear, all hyperlinks are easy to use and will take you to wherever the link was built to navigate you to.

How to Use a Hyperlink

Clicking a hyperlink is all it takes to activate the jump command. When you click with the pointing finger mouse shape, the hyperlink commands your web browser to load the target web page, ideally within seconds.

If you like the target page, you stay and read it. If you want to reverse back to the original web page, simply click the back button in your browser, or hit the Backspace key. Indeed, hyperlinking and reversing is the daily routine of browsing the web.

Most web browser also support the Ctrl+Link function to open the link in a new tab.

That way, instead of the link possibly opening in the same tab and removing what you're doing, you could hold down the Ctrl key as you click the link to make it open in a new tab.

How to Make a Hyperlink

Hyperlinks can be made manually by adjusting the web page's HTML content to include a link to a URL. However, lots of web editors, email clients, and text editing tools, let you make a hyperlink easily using built-in tools.

For example, in Gmail, you can add a hyperlink to some text by highlighting the text and then clicking the Insert link button from the bottom of the editor, or by hitting Ctrl+K. You'll then be asked where you want the link to point to, which is where you can enter a URL to another web page, to a video, an image, etc.

The other way is to actually edit the HTML file that the text exists on, something that the creator of the web page has authority to do. That is, to insert a line like this into the page:

<a href="LINK GOES HERE">TEXT GOES HERE</a>

In that example you can modify the LINK GOES HERE to actually include a link, and the TEXT GOES HERE to be the text that the link is wrapped up in.

Here's an example:

We've built this link to point to this Lifewire page.

Clicking that link will take you to whatever page is hidden behind the HTML code.

This is what our example looks like behind the scenes:

We've <a href="http://www.moa.pl/?viewid=how-do-hyperlinks-work-2483287">built this link</a> to point to this Lifewire page.

As you can see, our hyperlink will take you to the same page you're on right now.

Tip: Feel free to copy the above text and modify it to work it into your own project. You can also play around with this code over at JSFiddle.

Anchor links are a bit differnet because the link isn't the only thing you need to work with. You also have to have a specific area of the page include the anchor that the link can refer to. Visit Webweaver to read more about how to link to a specific spot on a page.

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