There are many people who add hyperlinks in PowerPoint slides all the time. Some do it for obvious reasons, such as
to link to other slides in the same presentation. Others do it to make PowerPoint more powerful as a presenting tool – they hyperlink to other presentations or even to Excel files or PDFs. Ultimately, hyperlinks add value to your presentation.
Hyperlinks have pros and cons. We already discussed the pros. The disadvantage with a hyperlink raises its head when you don’t want to click on a hyperlink, but the audience knows that there is a hyperlink you don’t want to click! How do they identify a hyperlink? Look at Figure 1, where the underlined text clearly represents a hyperlink.
Figure 1: A conspicuous hyperlink
You can overcome this problem by making this link transparent, as in “invisible”. However, it should still be a link!
Follow these steps to learn how you can create transparent links in PowerPoint:
1. Insert a shape that covers the text you want to use as a hyperlink, as shown in Figure 2 below.
Figure 2: A Rectangle shape covers text
3. We now need to make the Rectangle invisible while still making the link work. To do so, right-click the shape and choose the Format Shape option from the resultant contextual menu (see Figure 3).
Figure 3: Format Shape
4. This action will open the Format Shape Task pane shown in Figure 4. In older versions of PowerPoint, you may see a Format Shape dialog box instead.
You essentially need to change your fill to 99% transparent and your line to invisible. To do so, make sure you select the Solid Fill radio button (highlighted in red), set its Transparency to 99% (highlighted in blue), and choose the No line radio button (highlighted in green).
Figure 4: Change fill and line attributes
5. Your text will also now be visible behind the transparent Rectangle (see Figure 4). Test your link in Slide Show view.
Why 99% Transparent?
Why did we use the 99% Transparent option, and not choose the No Fill option instead? That is because of compatibility with older versions of PowerPoint. In PowerPoint 2013 or newer versions, even a No Fill option will get you the hand cursor when you hover over the hyperlink in Slide Show view (see Figure 5). However, in older versions, a 1% Opacity value (that is what 99% Transparency means!) is needed to get the clickable cursor.
Figure 5: Hover to see the cursor
Old habits die hard, and we still recommend that you use 99% Transparency rather than No Fill. Moreover, there’s no harm in making sure that everyone is happy!
Geetesh Bajaj is an awarded Microsoft PowerPoint MVP (Most Valuable Professional) for over a decade now. He has been designing and training with PowerPoint for 15 years and heads Indezine, a presentation design studio and content development organization based out of Hyderabad, India. Geetesh believes that any PowerPoint presentation is a sum of its elements–these elements include abstract elements like concept, color, interactivity, and navigation–and also slide elements like shapes, graphics, charts, text, sound, video, and animation. He has authored six books on PowerPoint and trains corporate clients on how to plan, create, and deliver presentations. For more information on Indezine and Geetesh, click here.