How to Link to Other Slides or Websites in PowerPoint

Create hotspots in your PowerPoint slides

Your PowerPoint presentation doesn't have to be a linear show that only moves from slide to slide. Add variety and authority by linking to information on other slides, presentations, or websites. A cool way to create these links is to use an image map.

Instructions in this article apply to PowerPoint 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, and PowerPoint for Microsoft 365.

What Is an Image Map?

An image map is a graphic object that contains hotspots, or transparent hyperlinks, to other objects or websites. For example, in a photograph showing a variety of women's clothing, if you select a dress, you're sent to another slide or website containing information about the dresses. If you select a hat, you're sent to the slide or website about hats.

How Could You Use an Image Map in PowerPoint?

In the example used in this tutorial, the fictitious ABC Shoe Company has a PowerPoint presentation on their previous year's sales figures. Hotspots or invisible links are 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.

Use Action to Make Hotspots on the Image Map

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

In this example, specific areas of a column chart will be linked to other slides in the presentation.

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

Creating the hotspot is as easy as drawing a rectangle on the image map. In this example, an area on the column chart will become the first hotspot on the image map.

  1. Go to Insert, select Shapes, and choose a Rectangle shape.

    PowerPoint showing the Shapes dialog dropdown.
  2. Drag to draw a rectangle around the area on the column chart that will become the first hotspot on the image map. Don't be concerned about the color of the rectangle; the color will later become invisible.

    A rectangular box is drawn on a PowerPoint slide.
  3. Go to Insert and, in the Links group, select Action.

    PowerPoint displaying the Action button.
  4. In the Actions Settings dialog box, select Hyperlink to and select the dropdown arrow to see various options. Your options include:

    • Various non-titled slides such as Next Slide, Previous Slide, and Last Slide
    • End Show
    • Custom Show
    • Specific slide title
    • Specific URL on the web
    • Other file
    • Other PowerPoint presentation
    PowerPoint displaying the various options to link to.

    In this example, select Slide to select a specific slide title.

    PowerPoint displaying the Actions Settings dialog.

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

    • Hyperlink to: Shown in this tutorial.
    • Run Program: Starts another program when the hyperlink is clicked.
    • Run Macro: Starts a macro that is contained in the presentation.
    • Object action (2007 and later): Performs an action. (Available only if your presentation contains an OLE object.)
    • Play a Sound: Plays a sound file that you have included in the presentation.

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

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

    PowerPoint displaying the linking to other slides.
  6. Select OK to close the Action Settings dialog box.

Format the Image Map Shape to Make the Hotspot Transparent

Return to the slide containing the newly drawn rectangle on the image map. The next step is to make this rectangle invisible, but the link to the specific slide will remain.

  1. Right-click the rectangle on the image map.

  2. The Shape Styles context menu appears.

    PowerPoint displaying the context menu for shape styles.
  3. Select Style.

  4. Scroll down to Presets and select the first option, Transparent - Black, Dark 1.

    PowerPoint displaying the styles presets for shapes.
  5. The rectangle is now transparent. Select the rectangle and selection handles appear to define the hotspot shape.

Check the Hotspot on the Image Map in Slide Show View

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

  1. Go to Slide Show and, in the Start Slide Show group, select From Beginning. Or, press F5.

    PowerPoint displaying the slide show tab.
  2. Advance the slide show to view the slide containing the image map.

  3. Hover over the hotspot. The mouse pointer changes to the hand pointer to indicate that this area is a hyperlink to another location.

    PowerPoint slide showing the hand pointer over a hotspot.
  4. 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, add other hotspots to your image map to link to other slides or websites.

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