How to Create a Link in MS Word

So let's say you'd like to play in this genre. You've got Word. You've got your plotted outline with tricksy and varied endings.

First, you can go old skool and just type If you want to go to the beach, turn to page X. Make a list of which pages you've got your choices on. I recommend highlighting the choices or leaving comment stickies on them to find them easier on a scan of the ms, as well. Be sure to use "Insert Page Break" after each choice. After you finish writing out all the chapters/endings, cut and paste to mix them up. Fill in the final page numbers when you're done.

Second, you'd be crazy to do it the first way because technology is your Friend. Using the new Word, go to the Insert tab. In the center there's a box that says "Links." Your new best buddies are "Hyperlink" and "Bookmark."

A bookmark is an anchor on a specific spot in the ms. Put your cursor where you want it, name it, and click "Add." From now on you'll have a "Go To" button in the bookmark pop up. This takes the place of a page list of highlighted choices that you are searching for by hand! You need to create uniquely named bookmarks for the beginning of every chapter and at every choice. Jot these names on your outline as you create them. I usually bookmark a paragraph before the choice so that when readers jump there, they have some context.

A hyperlink in word is the same as on the net. It's underlined text the reader can click, jumping them to another bookmark. You have the ability to embed internet links in a word doc, and current ebook apps are playing with this. I think the potential for historicals in particular is huge. Hyperlink something like cloche and send the interested reader to a visual glossary.

Anyhoo, when you open the hyperlink window, there is a left sidebar of "link to" choices. Click on "Place in this Document." Now you will see the bookmarks you've made in the center pane. Having highlighted the text you want to read as the link, you choose the right bookmark. My personal preference is not to hyperlink an entire sentence, just a phrase or even a key word. When I get to a choice, I first bookmark it, then jump to a new place in the manuscript, create a fresh page break, type out even a place holder first line for the new chapter, and bookmark it immediately. Using Go To I jump back to the bookmark of the choice and hyperlink it right away. This saves a lot of bouncing back and forth later.

The last step is to create an index, which will be tomorrow's post.

I have had issues with my bookmarks disappearing, and I don't know what I do wrong. I always end up testing every single link before I send it to a beta reader. I also am not sure why sometimes Going To a bookmark justifies the exact mark to the top of the page, and sometimes puts it about an inch down, not quite centering it.

Thoughts on improving my linking process are welcome!


  1. Good luck! Technology for a choose your own story sounds complicated.

  2. This is interesting.
    Amber Green told me about your site.
    I'm intrigued.

  3. This post explains how to create link in MS Word. Link creation is very important feature in Word. I wasn't aware of this feature that we can create links in Word but your post helped me creating those links. Thanks.
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