How to Use Hyperlinks in Google Docs

Links on devices on a laptop

If there’s one way to give your readers or yourself quick access to a website, file, or other spot in the document, it’s using a link. We’ll walk you through how to hyperlink in Google Docs for various types of items.

If you want to link to a website or specific web page, you can add a hyperlink in Google Docs or link to certain text.

Insert the Link

  1. Copy the URL from your browser’s address bar by quickly using a right-click and choosing “Copy.”
Copy in the Safari shortcut menu
  1. Place your cursor where you want the link in Google Docs, right-click, and choose “Paste.”
Paste in the Google Docs shortcut menu
  1. You’ll see the hyperlink to the website or page.
Hyperlink pasted in Google Docs

Link Existing Text

  1. Start by selecting the text.
Selected text in Google Docs
  1. Either choose “Insert -> Link” in the menu or click the “Insert link” button in the toolbar.
Insert Link button in Google Docs
  1. Paste the URL in the “Search or paste a link” box and click “Apply.”
URL box and Apply in Google Docs
  1. Whether you display the link or link to text, you can click the hyperlink to see a preview of the site or page in a small pop-up window. Click the link in the pop-up to visit the website or web page.
Selected text linked in Google Docs

You can also link to a file in Google Docs through a few different ways.

If you want to link to an online file outside of Google’s apps, use the “Insert the Link” instructions above to add the URL to the file location.

Hyperlink in Google Docs

Alternatively, link text to a Google file using the above steps for Link Existing Text.

Link to a file in Google Docs

Lastly, you can use a Google Smart Chip to hyperlink the file. With the Smart Chip, you can easily link to a recently opened file in one of Google’s apps like Docs, Sheets, or Slides.

  1. Place your cursor where you want the linked file and open the “Insert” menu. Select “Smart chips -> File.”
File in the Smart Chips menu
  1. When the list of recent files appears, select the one you want.
Smart Chips file selection
  1. You’ll see a link with the file name in your document. Select that link for a preview of the file, then click the hyperlink to the file in the preview to open it in a new browser tab.
Smart Chip linked to a file

Note: if you’re collaborating on your Google Doc, you’ll need to also share the link with the others for them to access it.

Another handy way to use hyperlinks in Google Docs is to link within your document. For example, you could link to a heading or a bookmark you create. This allows you or your readers to jump directly to that spot in your document.

Follow the steps below to add a heading or bookmark that you want to link to.

Add a Heading

To add a heading, select or enter the text for the heading. For Heading 1, Heading 2, or Heading 3, select the “Styles” drop-down box in the toolbar and pick one of the formats.

Headings in the Styles drop-down box

For other heading levels, select “Format -> Paragraph styles” and choose a heading style in the pop-out menu.

Headings in the Paragraph Styles menu

Add a Bookmark

To add a bookmark, place your cursor where you’d like it or select the text for the bookmark, then click “Insert -> Bookmark” in the menu.

Bookmark in the Insert menu

A bookmark icon will appear next to the bookmark location.

Bookmark in Google Docs

Link to a Heading or Bookmark

Once you have your heading or bookmark, linking to it in Google Docs is a simple process.

  1. Place your cursor where you want the link or select the text you’d like to link.
  1. Either choose “Insert -> Link” in the menu or click “Insert link” in the toolbar as shown earlier.
  1. Select “Headings and bookmarks” at the bottom of the pop-up box.
Headings and Bookmarks in the link box
  1. You’ll see sections for “Headings,” “Bookmarks,” or both. Simply choose the one you want to link to.
Headings and Bookmarks sections in the link box

With Smart Chips as an option to link to files in Google Docs, you’ll notice that you can link to other types of items like dates, people, and events. When you use a Smart Chip to link to these types of items, you can see a preview when you click and take additional actions depending on the item. Let’s take a look.

Place your cursor in the document where you want the link and go to “Insert -> Smart chips.” Choose one of the following types of items from the pop-out menu.

Smart Chips menu in Google Docs

The options are explained below, other than the “File” option, which was explained earlier.

Date: select a specific date in the calendar pop-up box. Click the “Book meeting” hyperlink in the preview to head straight to a new event in Google Calendar.

Date Smart Chip

People: choose a contact from the list to add the Smart Chip. You can view the contact details, open a detailed view on the right, click to send an email or message, start a video call, or schedule an event in Google Calendar.

People Smart Chip

Calendar event: select an event scheduled on your Google Calendar, then click the event name to open it in a new browser tab or the attachment icon to include the current Google Doc with the event.

Calendar Event Smart Chip

Place: enter a business or location in the search box, then click the location name to open it in Google Maps in a new browser tab, or use the directions icon to open Google Maps in the sidebar for directions.

Place Smart Chip

How to Edit or Rename a Link in Google Docs

After you add a hyperlink in Google Docs, you may need to adjust it. Edits are easy to do in the preview pop-up window.

  1. Click the hyperlink to display the preview, then select the “Edit link” (pencil) icon.
Edit Link icon in Google Docs
  1. To change the link, make your edits to the URL and click “Apply.”
Edit URL box in Google Docs
  1. To rename the link, make your changes in the box labeled “Text” and click “Apply.”
Edit text box Google Docs

To remove a link from text, select the hyperlink and click the “Remove link” icon in the preview window.

Remove Link icon in Google Docs

If you don’t want to keep the linked text, you can just delete the text or link.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I see less information in the link preview?

By default, you can see a preview of the web page, file, or other item with the additional options mentioned above. But if you prefer to only see the hyperlink and action buttons instead, open “Tools -> Preferences” in the menu. Uncheck the box for “Show link details” and click “OK” to save your change.

Can I make a linkable table of contents in Google Docs?

You can create a table of contents that links to headings in your document and don’t have to make this table by hand. Apply headings to your sections as described above, then go to “Insert -> Table of Contents” and pick the style you want.

For a detailed how-to on this topic, check out our tutorial for adding and updating a table of contents in Google Docs.

How can I share a link to my Google Doc?

Google makes it super easy to share a link to your document and adjust the permissions. Select the “Share” button on the top right, then add the people or groups in the box at the top of the pop-up window and adjust the permissions next to their names for Viewer, Commenter, or Editor. Click “Send” when you are finished.

Check out our article on how to share or send Google Docs via email for additional options.

Image credit: Pixabay. All screenshots by Sandy Writtenhouse.

Sandy Writtenhouse
Sandy Writtenhouse

With her BS in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She wanted to help others learn how technology can enrich business and personal lives and has shared her suggestions and how-tos across thousands of articles.

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