Learn More About Hyperlinks and How They Work

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

What are hyperlinks?

 Marvin Tolentino / Unsplash

A hyperlink is a link on the web to some other resource. It uses a special kind of command that jumps to some other content in a web browser, usually to another page.

Uses of Hyperlinks

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

A hyperlink can even point to a specific section of a web page (and not just the primary page) using what's called an anchor.

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

No matter how they appear, all hyperlinks perform the same basic function.

How to Use a Hyperlink

Clicking a hyperlink is all it takes to activate the jump command. When you click after the cursor changes to a pointing finger, the hyperlink commands the web browser to load the target web page.

If you like the target page, stay and read it. If you want to reverse back to the original web page, click the Back button on the browser, or press the Backspace key. Hyperlinking and reversing is the daily routine of browsing the web.

Most web browsers 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 viewing, press and hold 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, many web editors, email clients, and text editing apps have built-in tools to create hyperlinks.

For example, to add a hyperlink to text in Gmail, highlight the text, then click the Insert link button from the bottom of the editor, or press Ctrl+K. You'll then be asked where you want the link to point to, which is where you enter a URL to another web page, to a video, an image, or another source on the web.

The other way is to 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 this example, modify the LINK GOES HERE to include a URL, and the TEXT GOES HERE to be the text that the link is wrapped in.

Copy the code above and modify it to work it into your own project. You can also play around with this code over at JSFiddle.