How to Add Hyperlink to PDF with or Without Adobe Acrobat?

Bianca Huang
February 27, 2024 Preview 97.5K Preview 1
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These days, we deal with PDF files a lot, since PDF is a highly flexible format that can be easily viewed and manipulated on different devices. To enrich a PDF document, we may insert some interactive elements to PDF, such as clickable hyperlinks, bookmarks, rich media, buttons and fields. Among them, a hyperlink lets you fast jump to the specified location in or outside the PDF.

So how to add hyperlink to PDF? Many users deem Adobe Acrobat as the only way to add a hyperlink to a PDF, but there are alternatives to add hyperlink to PDF without Adobe Acrobat. 

Here Is a Brief Preview of Alternatives to Be Mentioned Below.

Tools Cisdem PDFMaster Google Docs Preview  Microsoft Word
Operating system Windows and Mac Online Mac Windows and Mac
Link to URL
Link to page in the PDF × ×
Link to E-Mail address × ×
Remove links


Best Option to Add Hyperlink to PDF Without Adobe Acrobat (Windows & Mac)

Until today, many of us choose to convert PDF to the editable Word format to perform the PDF editing tasks, but it can actually cause formatting problems, so here we will start with a better way to add hyperlink to PDF without Adobe Acrobat, that is Cisdem PDFMaster.

As a one-stop PDF editor, PDFMaster is capable of inserting links, editing links and even removing unnecessary links as you like. Whether you want to jump to a specific page, quick access to an address or direct to an E-Mail address, this application will make it an easy task.

In addition to links, you can even drag and drop PDF files back to the program to convert PDF, create PDF, reduce file size, add passwords and unlock passwords in batch. Besides, it features various practical editing tools for you to edit (replace text/add text), make comments (annotate/add shapes/insert stamps/free hand/sign), make fillable PDF forms, manipulate pages and more. There is no reason to say no to this almighty PDF editor.

To Add Hyperlink to a PDF, Follow the Guide Below:

  1. Try Cidem PDFMaster with a free trial.
    Free Download Windows 11/10/8/7 Free Download macOS 10.13 or later
  2. Go to Open Files and upload a PDF to the program.add hyperlink to pdf cisdem01
  3. Select Tools feature from the toolbar and click Link icon in the secondary menu.
    add hyperlink to pdf cisdem02
  4. Drag your cursor to select the text in your PDF that you want to add hyperlink to. There are 3 ways for you: link to a page, a URL or an E-Mail. Select the way you prefer and enter the content.add hyperlink to pdf cisdem03
  5. Continue with Go button, the program will jump to the page/URL/E-Mail you preset. 
  6. Finally, save your PDF file on the top menu.

You can also watch this video to add hyperlink to PDF easierly:


Add Hyperlink to PDF Online Using Google Docs

Without any desktop programs, we can also add links to PDF using online tools like Google Docs with Internet connected. Although it is not a professional PDF editor, it has covered the basic functions that most users need to use to work on PDF files. Through turning PDF into editable Word, it provides the functionalities to insert hyperlink, image, chart, watermark, page numbers, etc.

How to Hyperlink a PDF in Google Docs?

  1. Log in to your Google Drive and open a PDF with Google Docs.add hyperlinks to pdf online01
  2. Select the text you want to insert a hyperlink to. Then tap on Insert > Link.add hyperlink google docs1
  3. Now you can paste the URL to the search field and go ahead with Apply.add hyperlink google docs2
  4. The anchor text will appear in blue and underlined. Plus, copying, editing or removing the link also works.add hyperlink google docs3
  5. Eventually, go to File > Download > PDF Document to get a hyperlinked PDF.


Add Link to PDF Free with Mac Preview

Preview is the built-in app to view and markup PDF files on Mac. It is understandable that all Mac users try this tool first when they need to add hyperlink. However, it supports adding external URL links to PDF only. That is to say, you can’t utilize it to add internal links, for instance, direct you to a specific page or section within the PDF document. If this is OK for you, you can follow the steps to add links to your PDF with Mac Preview.

Steps to Add Link to PDF Free with Preview

  1. Open the PDF with Mac Preview.
  2. Go to Tools > Annotate > Text.add hyperlink preview1
  3. Add the URL link to the text box, you can even change the font, color and size.add hyperlink preview2
  4. Then, select the complete URL and right-click it, choose Open URL from options to make a clickable link on Mac Preview.add hyperlink preview3


Add Hyperlink to PDF in Microsoft Word

If you are a Microsoft Word user, you may have noticed that Word 2013, 2016, 2019, 2021 and Office 365 allow inserting PDF into Word. Once the PDF is opened in Word, you will be allowed to edit and add hyperlink to the file. It can link to more locations than general software, not only can select the text of this file, other files, new files, and even jump to web pages, email addresses, etc.

  1. Open a PDF with Microsoft Word.
  2. Choose the text that you want to link to, then go to Insert > Link.add hyperlink ms1
  3. You can link to existing file, web page, new document, even email address from the hyperlink dialogue, click OK to apply it.add hyperlink ms2
  4. Now you can export this file as PDF, and when you click the linked text, you can fast jump to the place you want to navigate. 

Note 1: According to the feedbacks, the original layout of inserted PDF may be changed in Microsoft Word. So, before you add hyperlink to PDF free in Word, you’d better manually adjust the formatting.

Note 2: For users who installed Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2011, etc., you can’t open the PDF file in Word directly. The only method is to insert it via object. Worse yet, you are not capable of editing the inserted PDF, but to convert PDF to DOCX/ DOC format previously.

Bonus: 3 Frequently-Mentioned Adobe Products to Add Hyperlink to PDF

Adobe Inc. is a giant in the software industry and has always enjoyed a great reputation. It has released many powerful and well-known products, among which Acrobat, Illustrator, Photoshop are the most well-reviewed and popular with the public. They are respectively a PDF editor, a raster graphics editor and a vector graphics editor, all able to add a hyperlink to a PDF.

#1. Add Hyperlink to PDF with Adobe Acrobat

What can it be used for: Add a URL to PDF; Link to a page in the PDF; Change the appearance of the inserted link; Remove the link from PDF.

  1. Right-click the PDF and open it with Adobe Acrobat DC.
  2. Go to Tools > Edit PDF to enter the editing mode.add hyperlink to pdf adobe01
  3. Choose “Add/Edit Web or Document Link” from Link drop list on the top toolbar. Drag a rectangle where you want to add the hyperlink to.add hyperlink to pdf adobe02
  4. In the new dialogue, select the link appearance and link action, click Next to enter the URL, page number, etc. according to your Link Action option.add hyperlink to pdf adobe03
  5. Click on the anchor text to check if the inserted link is available.

#2. Add a Hyperlink to a PDF with Adobe Illustrator

What can it be used for: Add a hyperlink to an image/object in the PDF; Type a URL directly to add a hyperlink on text; Link to URL only.

  1. Click File to import your document into Illustrator.
  2. Choose an object in the PDF file to add a hyperlink to, go to Window > Attributes.add hyperlink to pdf adobe04
  3. A small window will show up on the left hand, find Image Map and select Rectangle. Then enter the URL you want to insert to.add hyperlink to pdf adobe05
  4. Close the window, go back to File and save the hyperlinked document as a PDF.add hyperlink to pdf adobe06

#3. Add Hyperlink to PDF with Adobe Photoshop

What can it be used for: Add a hyperlink to the text/image/object in the PDF; Link to URL only; Make adjustments to the created hyperlink.

  1. Upload the PDF that needs to be hyperlinked into the program through the File tab at the top left.
  2. Click the Crop tool and choose Slice Tool under it.add hyperlink to pdf adobe07
  3. With the slice tool, click and drag your mouse to select the texts you’d like to create hyperlinks for. Right click on the selected area, and click Edit Slice Options....add hyperlink to pdf adobe08
  4. A new window will pop up where you can make some settings about this slice and insert a wanted URL.add hyperlink to pdf adobe09
  5. When everything is ready, click OK and save this file as a PDF.


Get More Knowledge About Hyperlinks in PDF

1. Are a hyperlink and a link the same?

In reality, a hyperlink is not exactly the same as a link, particularly reflected on their appearances. A hyperlink is a specific type of link usually hidden in the texts (called anchor text) of the page you’re viewing, helping you jump from the current page to a new page or resource. While, a link directly shows you the address of the certain page or website you want to visit and takes you to it.

2. Why add hyperlinks to PDF?

Hyperlink is quite common and important in a PDF file, as it gives readers a quick and easy navigation between different sections within  a document and various contents on the Internet. On the one hand, for large files with multiple pages, creating a hyperlinked table of contents helps readers clarify the ideas of the document promptly and leap to the part they are interested in. On the other hand, documents can’t always present all the required information in detail. Hyperlinks enable readers to access more additional materials handily. Furthermore, some authoritative websites can make the content more credible.

3. Why do hyperlinks in PDF not work?

It often occurs that the hyperlinks added in a PDF doesn’t work correctly. The reasons can be various, including unstable internet connection, obsolete or broken links, corrupted PDF files and so on. To troubleshoot the hyperlinks not working in PDF, you can refer to this post:



So, Adobe is not the only solution to add hyperlink to PDF, you can utilize Cisdem PDFMaster, Microsoft Word, PDF converter, even online free PDF editors to add hyperlinks. But when using online free tools, you’d better give a second thought, uploading files to online server will bring potential risk of information leakage. If you are dealing with confidential files, pay for a powerful PDF editor like Cisdem PDFMaster, then add hyperlink or any other contents you are allowed to add.

Bianca Huang
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Bianca is a senior tech editor and strategist at Cisdem with Over 10 years of experience on PDF related solutions which covers all document editing, annotating, converting and managing etc.

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  • Adam

    The links I insert into PDF don't work sometimes, so I'm searching for a reliable way. I think I’m on the right track.

    11 months ago commonReply

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