How to Link to Other Slides or Websites in PowerPoint

Business meeting presentation

kumikomini/Getty Images

Note: This tutorial works in PowerPoint versions 97 through 2003. The only difference in the tasks is in formatting the AutoShape. These differences are shown in Step 7 of this tutorial. The remainder of the steps is all the same.​

What Is an Image Map?

An image map is a graphic object that has many hotspots or transparent hyperlinks to other objects or websites. For example — in a photograph showing a variety of women's clothing, if you clicked on the dress, you would be sent to another slide or website containing all the info about the dresses; when you clicked on the hat, you would be sent to the slide or website about hats, and so on.

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How Could You Use an Image Map in PowerPoint?

Create image maps and transparent hyperlinks on PowerPoint slides

Wendy Russell

In the example pages to follow, the fictitious ABC Shoe Company has a PowerPoint presentation on their previous year's sales figures. Hotspots or invisible links can be placed on areas of the sales chart that is shown in the presentation. These hotspots will link to the specific slide containing the pertinent data.


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Use Action Buttons to Make Hotspots on the Image Map

Use action buttons to create hotspots on PowerPoint image maps

Wendy Russell

To link a specific area — the hotspot — of the image map, you must first let PowerPoint know that this area is going to be the hyperlink to another location.

In the example of the ABC Shoe Company, we will link specific areas of the column chart to other slides in the presentation.

Choose Slide Show > Action Buttons > Custom. The Custom button is the first button on the top row of buttons.

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Draw a Rectangle Around the Area That Will Be the Hotspot on the Image Map

Draw a rectangle to create the hotspot link on the image map in PowerPoint

Wendy Russell

Draw a rectangle around the area on the column chart that will become the first hotspot on the image map. Do not be concerned about the color of the rectangle. The color will later become invisible.

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Link the Hotspot on the Image Map to a Specific Slide

hyperlink options on image map - choose PowerPoint slide from the list

Wendy Russell

In the Hyperlink to the area of the Action Settings dialog box, click the drop-down arrow to see the various options.

Options include: 

  • Various non-titled slides such as
    • Next Slide
    • Previous Slide
    • Last Slide and so on
  • End Show
  • Custom Show
  • Specific slide title
  • Specific URL on the web
  • Other file
  • Other PowerPoint presentation

In this example, choose the option Slide... in order to select a specific slide title.

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Select the Slide That the Hotspot Will Link To

Hyperlink to specific titled PowerPoint slide

Wendy Russell

In the Hyperlink to Slide dialog box, choose the slide title that the hotspot on the image map will link to. Click OK when you have made your selection.

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PowerPoint Action Settings Dialog Box Options

Options for hotspot link - run program, hyperlink, play sound, run macro, mouse click, mouse over

Wendy Russell

There are several linking options available in the Action Settings dialog box.

Options include:

  • Hyperlink to – as shown in Step 4
  • Run Program – this option would start up another program when the hyperlink was clicked.
  • Run Macro – this option would start a macro that was contained within this presentation.
  • Play a Sound – this option will start playing a sound file that you have included in the presentation.

Note: All of these hyperlink options are available on Mouse Click or Mouse Over (when the mouse simply hovers over the object).

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Format the Image Map AutoShape to Make the Hotspot Transparent

Make hotspot invisible using AutoShape dialog box

Wendy Russell

Return to the slide containing the newly drawn rectangle on the image map. Now we will make this rectangle invisible, but the link to the specific slide will remain.


  1. Right click on the rectangle on the image map.
  2. The Format AutoShape dialog box opens.
  3. With the Colors and Lines tab selected, drag the slider next to Transparency to 100% and then click on the OK button.
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Rectangle Hotspot on the Image Map Is Now Transparent

Hotspot rectangle is now transparent on PowerPoint slide

Wendy Russell

The rectangle you drew earlier is now transparent. If you click on the location where you had drawn it, selection handles will appear to define the hotspot shape.

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Check the Hotspot on the Image Map in Slide Show View

Link icon appears on PowerPoint slide

Wendy Russell

Test out your hotspot on the image map by viewing the slide in Slide Show view.

  1. Choose Slide Show > View Show or press the F5 key on the keyboard.
  2. Advance the slide show to view the slide containing the image map.
  3. Hover your mouse over the hotspot. The mouse pointer should change to the hand icon to indicate that this area is a hyperlink to another location.
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Test the Hotspot on the Image Map

hyperlink goes to appropriate PowerPoint slide

Wendy Russell

Click the hotspot on the image map to see if it links as you intended. In this example, the hotspot linked to the Third Quarter Sales slide successfully.

Once this process is complete, you may wish to add other hotspots to this image map which will link to other slides or websites.