Specifying Default Hyperlink Text

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 17, 2019)

George often inserts hyperlinks into his worksheets. These hyperlinks are to files of various types that reside on his computer system. When he inserts the hyperlinks, the default hyperlink text that Excel inserts is the full path and file name for the file. George would like this hyperlink text, by default, to consist of only the file name, without the full path.

There is one very easy way to accomplish the desired outcome: Simply move the workbook into the same folder with the files to which you want hyperlinks. When you use the Insert Hyperlink dialog box, the filename—without the path—is then used for the link.

If that isn't feasible, then using the Insert Hyperlink dialog box does result in a full path ending up in both the Address field and Text to Display field of the Insert Hyperlink dialog box. There is no way to change this default behavior; you can only edit the default proposed by Excel. This means that you can, on an individual hyperlink basis, edit the Text to Display field in the Insert Hyperlink dialog box so that it shows just the file name, as desired.

Of course, this involves a lot of editing—hence the impetus for George's query. There are a couple of ways around this. The first is to not rely on the Insert Hyperlink dialog box. Instead, construct a formula that inserts the hyperlink using the HYPERLINK function. Let's say, for example, that you have, in cell C2, a path name to the folder containing your files:

C:\Users\allen\Desktop\

Further, you could have a list of filenames in the range D2:D75, such as this:

MyWorkbook.xlsx
MyDocument.docx
MyPDF.pdf

You could place a formula such as this in cell E2:

=HYPERLINK($C$2 & D2,D2)

Copy the formula down into the range E3:E75, and you'll have your hyperlinks as you desire.

If you already have a bunch of inserted links in the spreadsheet (for example, in column A), you could use a bit larger formula to extract and display just the filename:

=HYPERLINK(A1,SUBSTITUTE(A1,LEFT(A1,FIND(CHAR(1),SUBSTITUTE(A1,
"\",CHAR(1),LEN(A1)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A1,"\",""))))),""))

You could then hide the column containing the full-path hyperlinks, so you see only the shortened versions that you want.

If you have many hyperlinks that you want to affect, you can use a macro to remove the path from all the existing hyperlinks.

Sub FixHyperlinkDesc()
    Dim h As Hyperlink
    Dim sRaw As String
    Dim iPos As Integer

    For Each h In ActiveSheet.Hyperlinks
        sRaw = h.TextToDisplay
        iPos = Instr(1, sRaw, "\")
        While (iPos > 0)
            sRaw = Mid(sRaw, iPos + 1, Len(sRaw))
            iPos  = Instr(1, sRaw, "\")
        Wend
        If sRaw <> h.TextToDisplay Then
            h.TextToDisplay = sRaw
        End If
    Next h
End Sub

The only thing the macro touches is the display text for each hyperlink, and it deletes everything before the final backslash. The macro won't affect anything that may appear as the result of a HYPERLINK function.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (13279) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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