Links in documents

Link text should be unique within a page, should be meaningful when read out of context, and should help users to know something about their destination if they click on it.

For an overview of this issue, see Links and buttons in our IT Accessibility Checklist.

Techniques for Microsoft Office

To add links in Microsoft Office, select the text or picture that you want to display as a hyperlink. Press Ctrl+K in Windows, or Cmd+K in Mac OS. You can also right-click the text or picture and select “Hyperlink” in the shortcut menu. In the Insert Hyperlink dialog, type or paste your link in the Address field.

As described at the top of this page, be sure the link text conforms to best practices for accessibility. If the link is created from a picture, the picture’s alt text should follow the same rules as link text.  (For additional information about alt text, see the Images in documents page).

Techniques for PDF

If a PDF document was properly exported from an accessible version of an authoring application, the links in the document should already be active and accessible. Verification of links can be accomplished by running the Accessibility Checker built into Acrobat Pro DC.

Acrobat provides several ways to create active links for URLs in a PDF document including using the automated tools for remediation. To create links in a PDF document using Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, follow these steps:

  1. Highlight the text
  2. Right click and select “Create Link…” from the context menu
  3. In the Create Link dialog box, select either ” Go to a page view” if you are linking within the document, or ” Open a web page” if you are linking a URL, then follow the prompts to complete the task.

Links in Canvas

Link text within a Canvas course should be unique within a page, meaningful when read out of context, and should helps users to know something about their destination if they click on it.

For an overview of this issue see Links and buttons in our IT Accessibility Checklist.

Meaningful link text

Below are both bad and good examples of link text being added to a Canvas page.

Example 1:  bad link text

The Canvas Insert Link dialog, with 'click here' entered into the Text field

In this example, the text “click here” fails because if read out of context, it provides no meaningful information to users about what will happen if they follow the link.

Example 2: good link text

The Canvas Insert Link dialog, with 'UW Accessible Technology' in the Text field

In this example, the link text “UW Accessible Technology” makes sense independently of context. If users encounter this link (for example) in a list of links, they know what to expect if they follow the link. They don’t need the original context to figure that out.

Changing text of course links

When adding links to pages within Canvas, the rich content editor provides two options:  External Links and Course Links. If you select Course Links, you can add links to a wide variety of course content, including pages, assignments, quizzes, discussions, and more.  When added to the current page, the default link text will be the title of that resource. This may or may not be good link text (e.g., unique on the page, easy to understand, able to stand alone independently of context).  To edit the link text for any Course Link, simply click the link and select “Link Options”. A form will appear in the sidebar where you can edit the link text.