How to Create User-Friendly Hyperlinks in Outlook and Lotus Notes

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A “user-friendly” hyperlink is one that contains easy to read anchor text, not just the entire URL copy and pasted. For example:

  • The Ultimate SEO Guide (this links to

As you can see, these both link to the same page, but for the reader, the first is a lot easier to read than the second.

The biggest problem with “unfriendly” (text-only) hyperlinks is that they often span multiple lines in emails, and if someone tries clicking on it or copy and pasting it into their browser window they are likely to only get part of it – which will break the link entirely (and you won’t get to the intended page).

For example you may receive an email with a link like this:


Notice how only the first third or so of the link gets hyperlinked, thereby breaking it. If you click on that link, you’ll end up on a 404 (not found) page instead of where the sender intended for you to go.

How to create user-friendly hyperlinks in Outlook

To add hyperlinks to your emails in Microsoft’s Outlook (2003 edition – if you use another edition post below for instructions specific to your version), you first need to make sure that you are sending mails in “HTML” format.

Set your email format settings

To set the format of all your outgoing emails to “HTML,” take the following steps:

  • Click on Tools -> Options -> Mail Format -> in the “Compose in this message format:” selector choose HTML

Now you’re ready to insert user-friendly hyperlinks into your emails

Inserting hyperlinks into emails

Open up a new email message (Ctrl + N), and type the name of the link you wish user’s to be able to see in the email body. Next, select Insert -> Hyperlink in the mail’s menu, and then copy and paste the actual hyperlink (beginning with //) into the URL: field. Voila! Click ‘OK’ and try out your newly created “user-friendly” hyperlink by clicking on it. In the insert hyperlink menu, you can change the “type:” to “mailto:” to create a link that, when clicked, will open up an email message addressed to whomever you specify. Comment below if you are interested in any of the other hyperlink types.

How to create user-friendly hyperlinks in Lotus Notes

In Lotus Notes, user-friendly links, or those with customized anchor text, are referred to as link hotspots. Just as with a regular WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor, first select (highlight) the text you wish to turn into a clickable link. Then browse to Create > Hotspot > Link Hotspot. This will pop up a Properties box, within which you can enter the Value of the link (copy and paste the URL (ie. // in here). Voila, you now have your link hot spot, aka link with reader-friendly anchor text, that when clicked, will take you to the destination page you filled into the Value box.

email format security

While “user-friendly” hyperlinks are great in that they cut down on the possibility of links breaking, I should point out that from a security standpoint “plain text” format is the safest. This is because malicious code can be generated and linked to in HTML documents. HTML documents can also become excessively large if content is embedded – this can be prevented by using the “plain text” email format.

About The Author:

Alex has been involved on the business side of the internet since the early 2000's. He holds both a Management Science degree from the University of California at San Diego as well as a Computer Science degree from NJIT.

We Rock Your Web had its roots back in 2004 as the tech blog for a web design and development company Alex founded that has grown and evolved into the parent company of We Rock Your Web.

While his foundation is rooted in web development, his expertise today lies in content and digital marketing, SEO, organic and paid search, analytics, and publishing. Alex is an avid tennis player, nature enthusiast, and hiker, and enjoys spending time with his wife, friends, and dogs.

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Oldest Most voted
March 12, 2013 2:08 pm

You still cannot add a hyperlink to more than a single word in Notes e-mail. This means that you cannot select a block of text, say the title of an article or a verbal reference to your topic, and link the entire block to a web URL. It would be laughable if I didn’t feel so sorry for IBM. They used to be the go-to company for solutions. Now they are an also-ran that never innovates, and obviously cannot even imitate.

Dagan Keysary
November 1, 2015 10:07 am

Not true!

July 28, 2011 11:23 am

How to Import PST file to Lotus Notes: don’t panic, Try Best PST to NSF conversion software that will perfectly convert your Outlook Emails database to Lotus Notes without any problems.

June 4, 2011 1:36 am

I did this using Lotus Notes. When the receiver of the email clicks on the link in the email, it won’t work if the link happened to have upper and lower case letters in it. The link ends up with only lower case letters. Apps such as Google Docs and YouTube use a combination of upper and lower case letters for the address. Anyone have any experience with this?

July 28, 2011 11:25 am

Outlook to Lotus Notes Free Conversion is now available in the market which will help you to transfer all your Outlook mails to Notes within a second and without any loss of data as this software is fully reliable to trust. In this software you not only transfer your email to .pst to .nsf but also transfer its element (to, cc, bcc, attachments, sent etc) to Lotus Notes (NSF) File.

June 17, 2010 12:31 am

When I get emails in the Lotus Notes 8 inbox that contains hyper-links they are not underlined, i.e you cant click on it and obviously it does not take you to any web page.

If you copy paste to a web browser , you can navigate to the destination page.

However if you transfer the email to trash (delete them), and open it there then the hyperlinks are underlined and are clickable. When you click on them they take you to where you wanna go.

Is there a reason why hyperlinks are disabled in the Lotus Notes Inbox and are enabled in trash? and is there a way to enable them?



October 7, 2009 1:40 am

Unable to open hyperlinks in ms outlook emails

June 16, 2009 2:32 pm

I had no idea that there exists something like this. Very, very interesting idea. These people, who invented it, should receive a prize or something for their work. Congratulations!

March 31, 2009 2:32 pm

Looks like you can only add hyperlinks to new messages and you’re unable to add hyperlinks to replies.

May 15, 2008 6:48 pm

I use Outlook 2003.
My customer uses Lotus Notes 6.5

I want to use a mailto link that includes my address, and a subject.

If I add this in my HTML email, it works for other outlook users:


In Lotus Notes, it does not interpret the & as a new field, and the To address contains EVERYTHING after the mailto:

Is this a limitation of Lotus Notes, or is their an alternate syntax I can use?

Any guidance would be appreciated.

April 12, 2019 10:05 am

In case anybody else stumbles over this, the syntax would be ?subject= as opposed to &subject=. Other than that, it’s the same.