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How to create a hyperlink for any file on Mac

5 min read

Our digital lives are becoming increasingly connected. It’s difficult to imagine now how communication or any other part of the internet can be siloed. Most of the information we consume is not just useful on its own, it’s useful when we can see it in relation to other data out there. That’s why we can spend hours on Wikipedia or going through recommended videos on YouTube.

The technology that allows us to connect files, documents, and webpages together is called hyperlink, or simply 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. The majority of hyperlinks work on the web and contain URLs. You can also embed hyperlinks in text to create hypertext — clickable bits of text that would resolve to a specified URL. 

Hyperlinks, and especially hypertext, hold the web together in a non-distracting and contextual way. Anytime we see hypertext, we know that we can click on it to learn more. 

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

How to create a link to a website

Linking to websites is so natural that many people don’t think about the process anymore, or how they can get better at it. 

There are many ways to link to a website: 

  • Paste in a full URL anywhere from your browser’s address bar, such as https://setapp.com
  • Write the URL in Markdown (popular with text editors), such as [Setapp](https://setapp.com), where the text description goes between [] and the URL between ()
  • Create a link in HTML code (will work on any website), such as Setapp, where text goes between the tags and the URL is contained within quotes after the href
  • Use a shortcut. In most text editors online, it’s ⌘ + K (e.g. in Google Docs). 
  • Use interface elements. Most editors will have a link icon you can click on and input the link manually. 

insert link in Google Docs

How to create a link for a PDF

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

Making a hyperlink that would live inside a PDF is easy — just make sure to add a link into the document while you’re still editing it (before it becomes a PDF) using our tips above.

Most PDFs that already exist can’t be easily edited unless you have special PDF-editing apps, such as Nitro PDF Pro. 

Nitro PDF Pro is a professional PDF-editing app that lets you manipulate PDF files in any way you see fit, from merging documents to editing text to 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’d like to know how to hyperlink
  3. Click Edit ➙ Create Link from Selection
  4. Enter a URL or a page number within that PDF
  5. OK

create a link using Nitro PDF Pro

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

Even though you could learn how to link to a specific part of a page HTML-wise, it was very impractical, almost impossible, to do the same for PDFs. But now we can do it easily 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 PDFs. What’s more, Hookmark is easy to use, with a Spotlight-like interface, and the links it creates can even be shareable with other Hookmark users!

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

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

Copy Selection and Link in Hookmark

How to rename links from any app

Links wrapped in hypertext can be short, descriptive, and very useful. However, lots of apps (even default apps) prefer not to follow this link hygiene and burden you with 100+ character monstrosities that are awkward to manage. 

Luckily, Hookmark has a wonderful feature built-in to source proper hypertext for any link to any file. 

Here’s how to make hyperlinks with proper formatting: 

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

Rename in Hook

Renaming in Hookmark is also useful when you get generic hypertext from websites, such as 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 pretty easy: 

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

rename link in Google Docs

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

Best of all, both Nitro PDF Pro and Hookmark are available to you absolutely free for seven days through the trial of Setapp, a platform with more than 230 Mac and iOS apps that cover any task you can imagine, from financial management (Chronicle) to personal productivity (Be Focused). Try every Setapp app today at no cost and stay on top of the best tools out there. 

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