Adding Excel Hyperlinks, Bookmarks, and Mailto Links

screenshot/Microsoft/Ted French

Ever wondered how to add hyperlinks, bookmarks and/or mailto links in Excel? The answers are right here. 

First, let's clarify what we mean with each term. 

hyperlink can be clicked to jump from a worksheet to a webpage, and it can also be used in Excel to provide quick and easy access to other Excel workbooks.

bookmark can be used to create a link to a specific area in the current worksheet or to a different worksheet within the same Excel file using cell references.

mailto link is a link to an email address. Clicking on a mailto link opens a new message window in the default email program and inserts the email address behind the link into the To line of the message.

In Excel, both hyperlinks and bookmarks are intended to make it easier for users to navigate between areas of related data. Mailto links make it easier to send an email message to an individual or organization. In all cases:

  • No matter which type of link is created – hyperlink, bookmark, or mailto link – it is entered into the Insert Hyperlink dialog box.
  • As with links in web pages, links in Excel are attached to anchor text located in a worksheet cell.
  • Adding this anchor text before opening the dialog box simplifies the task of creating the link, but it can also be entered after the dialog box is open.

Open the Insert Hyperlink Dialog Box

The key combination to open the Insert Hyperlink dialog box is Ctrl+K on a PC or Command+K on a Mac.

  1. In an Excel worksheet, click on the cell that is to contain the hyperlink to make it the active cell.
  2. Type a word to act as anchor text such as "Spreadsheets" or "June_Sales.xlsx" and press the Enter key on the keyboard.
  3. Click on the cell with the anchor text a second time.
  4. Press and hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard.
  5. Press and release the letter K key on the keyboard to open the Insert Hyperlink dialog box.

How to Open the Insert Hyperlink Dialog Box Using the Insert Menu

  1. In an Excel worksheet, click on the cell that is to contain the hyperlink to make it the active cell.
  2. Enter the anchor text into the cell and press the Enter key on the keyboard.
  3. Click on the cell with the anchor text a second time.
  4. Click on Insert on the menu bar.
  5. Click on the Hyperlink icon to open the Insert Hyperlink dialog box.

Adding Hyperlinks in Excel

You can set up a hyperlink to jump to a webpage or to an Excel file. Here's how:

    Adding a Hyperlink to a Webpage

    1. Open the Insert Hyperlink dialog box using one of the methods outlined above.
    2. Click on the Web Page or File tab.
    3. In the Address line, type a full URL address.
    4. Click OK to complete the hyperlink and close the dialog box.
    5. The anchor text in the worksheet cell should now be blue in color and underlined indicating it contains a hyperlink. Whenever it is clicked, it will open the designated website in the default browser.

    Adding a Hyperlink to an Excel File

    1. Open the Insert Hyperlink dialog box.
    2. Click on the Existing File or Web Page tab.
    3. Click on Select and browse to find the Excel file name. Clicking on the file name adds it to the Address line in the dialog box.
    4. Click OK to complete the hyperlink and close the dialog box.
    5. The anchor text in the worksheet cell should now be blue in color and underlined indicating it contains a hyperlink. Whenever it is clicked, it will open the designated Excel workbook.

    Creating Bookmarks to the Same Excel Worksheet

    A bookmark in Excel is similar to a hyperlink except that it is used to create a link to a specific area on the current worksheet or to a different worksheet within the same Excel file.

    While hyperlinks use file names to create links to other Excel files, bookmarks use cell references and worksheet names to create links.

    How to Create a Bookmark to the Same Worksheet

    The following example creates a bookmark to a different location in the same Excel worksheet.

    1. Type a name in a cell that will act as the anchor text for the bookmark and press Enter.
    2. Click on that cell to make it the active cell.
    3. Open the Insert Hyperlink dialog box.
    4. Click on the This Document tab.
    5. Under the Type the cell reference, enter a cell reference to a different location on the same worksheet – such as "Z100."
    6. Click OK to complete the bookmark and close the dialog box.
    7. The anchor text in the worksheet cell should now be blue in color and underlined indicating that it contains a bookmark.
    8. Click on the bookmark and the active cell cursor moves to the cell reference entered for the bookmark.

    Creating Bookmarks to Different Worksheets

    Creating bookmarks to different worksheets within the same Excel file or workbook has the additional step of identifying the destination worksheet for the bookmark. Renaming worksheets can make it easier to create bookmarks in files with a large number of worksheets.

    1. Open a multi-sheet Excel workbook or add additional sheets to a single sheet file.
    2. On one of the sheets, type a name in a cell to act as the anchor text for the bookmark.
    3. Click on that cell to make it the active cell.
    4. Open the Insert Hyperlink dialog box.
    5. Click on the This Document tab.
    6. Enter a cell reference in the field under Type in the cell reference.
    7. In the Or select a place in this document field, click on the destination sheet name. Unnamed sheets are identified as Sheet1, Sheet2, Sheet3 and so on.
    8. Click OK to complete the bookmark and close the dialog box.
    9. The anchor text in the worksheet cell should now be blue in color and underlined indicating that it contains a bookmark.
    10. Click on the bookmark and the active cell cursor should move to the cell reference on the sheet entered for the bookmark.

    Insert a Mailto Link Into an Excel File

    Adding contact information to an Excel worksheet makes it easy to send an email from within the document.

    1. Type a name in a cell that will act as the anchor text for the mailto link. Press Enter.
    2. Click on that cell to make it the active cell.
    3. Open the Insert Hyperlink dialog box.
    4. Click on the Email Address tab.
    5. In the Email address field, enter the email address of the link's recipient. This address is entered in the To line of a new email message when the link is clicked.
    6. Under the Subject line, enter the subject for the email. This text is entered into the subject line in the new message.
    7. Click OK to complete the mailto link and close the dialog box.
    8. The anchor text in the worksheet cell should now be blue in color and underlined indicating it contains a hyperlink.
    9. Click on the mailto link, and the default email program should open a new message with the address and subject text entered.

    Removing a Hyperlink Without Removing the Anchor Text

    When you no longer need a hyperlink, you can remove the link information without removing the text that served as the anchor.

    1. Position the mouse pointer over the hyperlink to be removed. The arrow pointer should change to the hand symbol.
    2. Right-click on the hyperlink anchor text to open the Context drop-down menu.
    3. Click on the Remove Hyperlink option in the menu.
    4. The blue color and the underline should be removed from the anchor text indicating that the hyperlink has been removed.