Invisible Hyperlinks in PowerPoint – Part 2

In the previous article, we saw how to manage simple hyperlinks. Now we will see how to keep the Paste Link and Insert Object hyperlinks invisible.

Shows a man with closed eyes and PowerPoint logo

Photo credit: daystar297 / Foter.com / CC BY

Paste Link does not have a hyperlink

I am sure you know this already. Copy some area from Excel, Paste Special in PowerPoint as Paste Link – what do you get? It behaves like a picture but it knows the path to the original Excel file. Whenever the presentation is opened, it checks if the related Excel file has changed and updates the changes in the slide.

The issue is, if your audience asks you to show the detail of this file, how will you open it DURING the presentation? Although PowerPoint knows where the file is, it does not create a hyperlink by default.

The answer is to add an ACTION. Click the paste linked object – Insert tab – Action (next to Hyperlink). Action = what to do if you click on this object during a presentation. By default the action is NONE. That does not mean nothing happens. It does its default action – which is moving to the next slide. Now add an action – Object Action – Open. That’s it.

Insert Action dialog - Choose Object Action - Open

Now during the presentation, you will see a hand cursor when you move the mouse over this icon. Click on it to open the linked file. Show details and come back to the presentation. Of course nobody else knows it is a hyperlink. Only you do.

Insert Object or Show as Icon

Another situation where you see a visible hyperlink is when you insert a file into a presentation using Insert Object – Create from File option. Here the file icon is shown with a description. Anyone seeing such an icon instantly knows that there is a file behind that icon. Naturally, someone is bound to ask you to show what that file is.

Inserted or linked file shown as an icon with Excel logo

You don’t want people to know that you have a link to this file. But you want access to it. That is the first problem. Second problem is that even if you click on the file (or double click) during the presentation, the file DOES NOT open. It simply goes to the next slide(s).

Why does this happen? Now you know… we have not added an action yet!

So add an action as shown before (Insert – Action – Object Action – Open) and now it will open the file during the presentation in one click. But the icon is still seen and it is like asking for trouble. The solution is simpler than you think.

Cheeky solution for Invisible Hyperlinks

Notice that the icon area is rectangular. The icon and its title occupies only part of the rectangle. But the hyperlink area is the entire rectangle. The solution is to move the icon just out of the slide from one corner – I use top right corner – till only the blank portion of the icon is visible to you.

Invisible Hyperlinks

When the presentation is running, the icon is not seen because it is out of the slide area. But that small little corner is still there and it is an active hyperlink. Whenever YOU want, go to that corner, notice the cursor changing and click. It will open the file.

This is a special case. We do not need to put some fill color and make the transparency to 99%.

This is how you can always be prepared but the audience has no clue that you are. Try it out and let me know if you found this useful.


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