How to create a hyperlink for any file on Mac

Our digital lives are increasingly connected. It is hard to imagine now how communication or any other part of the Internet can be isolated. Most of the information we consume is not only useful on its own, it is useful when we can see it in relation to other data that exists. That is why we can spend hours on Wikipedia or reviewing recommended videos on YouTube.

The technology that allows us to connect files, documents and web pages is called a hyperlink or simply a link. Let’s see what hyperlinks are and how to create a link to a PDF or any other document you have in mind.

What is a hyperlink?

Hyperlinks are digital references that allow you to connect one document to another. Most hyperlinks work on the web and contain URL addresses. You can also embed hyperlinks in the text to create hypertext: clickable pieces of text that would resolve to a specific URL.

Hyperlinks, and especially hypertext, hold the web together in a contextual and distraction-free way. Every time we see a hypertext, we know we can click on it for more information.

On the web, you can also see links attached to videos, images, GIFs, buttons, and all navigation elements.

How to create a link to a website

Linking to websites is so natural that many people no longer think about the process or how they can improve it.

There are many ways to link to a website:

  • Paste a full URL anywhere from your browser’s address bar 
  • Type the URL in Markdown (popular with text editors), where the text description is enclosed by [] and the URL is enclosed by ()
  • Create a link in HTML code (will work on any website), like Tech, where the text goes between the tags and the URL is in quotes after the href
  • Use a shortcut. In most online text editors, it’s ⌘ + K (for example, in Google Docs).
  • Use interface elements. Most publishers will have a link icon that you can click on and enter the link manually.

How to create a link for a PDF

You can create hyperlinked HTML references in almost any document, from your Mac-based email application to Microsoft Word or a PDF.

Creating a hyperlink that resides within a PDF is easy: just make sure to add a link in the document while you’re editing it (before it’s converted to a PDF) using our tips above.

Most existing PDF files cannot be easily edited unless you have special PDF editing applications, such as Nitro PDF Pro.

Nitro PDF Pro is a professional PDF editing application that allows you to manipulate PDF files in any way you see fit, from merging documents to editing text and adding hyperlinks.

Here’s how to create hyperlinks in PDFs with Nitro PDF Pro:

  1. Open your document in Nitro PDF Pro
  2. Select any text you would like to know how to hyperlink
  3. Click Edit ➙ Create link from selection.
  4. Enter a URL or page number within that PDF
  5. OK

But what if you could go further? What if you could not only link files to websites, or websites to websites, but also link multiple local files together? For example, create a link to a specific page within a PDF and save it to your project management application for later reference.

Although you could learn how to link to a specific part of a page in HTML, it was highly impractical, if not impossible, to do the same with PDF files. But now we can easily do it with Hookmark.

Hookmark is a brilliant linking utility for your Mac. You can use it to learn how to create a link for a document of any kind, from emails to images to specific sections of PDF files. Plus, Hookmark is easy to use, with an interface similar to Spotlight, and the links you create can even be shared with other Hookmark users!

Here’s how to create an HTML or PDF link with Hookmark:

  1. Open a PDF file with Preview
  2. Highlight text on any page you want to link to
  3. open hook mark
  4. Click the dropdown ➙ Copy Link (⌘ + C)
  5. Paste (⌘ + V) your link into a text editor or anywhere else

How to rename links from any app

Links wrapped in hypertext can be short, descriptive and very useful. However, many apps (even the default apps) prefer not to follow this link hygiene and load you up with 100+ character monstrosities that are unwieldy.

Fortunately, Hookmark has a wonderful built-in feature to get the right hypertext for any link to any file.

Here’s how to create properly formatted hyperlinks:

  1. Copy link from any app
  2. Open Hookmark ➙ Rename in Hookmark
  3. Assign the name you want

Changing the name in Hookmark is also useful when you get generic hypertext from websites, like Facebook. You can then write more precise titles that include a name, for example.

Similarly, many people wonder how to rename a link in Google Docs that already exists. It’s actually quite easy:

  1. Click the link in Google Docs
  2. Click the edit icon or use the shortcut ⌘ + K
  3. Edit the text in the Text field
  4. Click apply

As you can see, there’s nothing difficult about learning how to create a link for a document, email, or website. If you need to turn text in a PDF into a link, use Nitro PDF Pro. But when you need to link to certain content within a PDF or email from elsewhere, that’s where you’ll find Hookmark indispensable.