What makes a hyperlink useful is that a link can point to different content on the same web page, such as images, text, files, or email addresses. This may pique your interest by adding a hyperlink to your digital documents, for instance, inserting an external hyperlink into a PDF file. Find out how to link to a PDF by reading the rest of this article! 

A hyperlink is a URL that allows users to jump to a new location when clicking or tapping it. With the help of hyperlinks in a PDF, users can easily navigate between pages and websites for expanded information. This post revolves around how to add hyperlinks to PDFs.

Adding a Hyperlink to a PDF with Desktop Software

How to Insert a Hyperlink on Windows

Though PDFs are difficult to modify, many technology companies, such as Adobe, have recognized the digitalization trend and broken the ice. Adobe Acrobat, the flagship product of Adobe, enables users to easily make changes to PDFs, including creating a clickable hyperlink in a  PDF.

Aside from this big name in the document management industry, there is other available PDF software with the ability to add a link to a PDF on Windows, like Foxit PDF and SwifDoo PDF.

SwifDoo PDF

SwifDoo PDF is a lightweight PDF editor with both minimal RAM and CPU utilization, however, its various features can meet daily user needs, including converting, editing, annotating, signing, and protecting. Let's look at how to create a clickable URL that links to a PDF or a specific section of your document.


Step 1: Download SwifDoo PDF from the official website and install the program on your PC;

Step 2: Open the software, click Edit, and select Link;

Step 3: Navigate to the place you want to add the hyperlink;

Step 4: Choose what you want your link to do: open a file; open a website; jump to a special position, or go to a different page view;

Step 5: If you want people who tap the link to be redirected to a website, tick Open a Web and enter the URL.

                                                                                        Free Download

Tips: Even more so, the SwifDoo PDF editor lets you change the link layout by providing options such as line style, thickness, color, and appearance.

Foxit PDF

Foxit PDF is a reliable solution if you need a fast, affordable, and secure PDF program. As a versatile PDF product, Foxit is equipped with the  complete toolsets which comprise converting, editing, page organizing, commenting, and form filling. Check how you can readily add a hyperlink to a PDF below:


Step 1: Download the software and install it on your computer;

Step 2: Launch the tool and upload the PDF document;

Step 3: Click Link in the Edit tab;

Step 4: Place your cursor on the area that needs a hyperlink, and draw a shape with your mouse;

Step 5: Choose what kind of link you need: Go to a page view; Go to a named position; Open/execute a file; Open a web link, or Other.  

When compared to SwifDoo PDF, Foxit equally enables you to highlight the link and change its border style. When finished, remember to press the "Next" button to finalize the operation. Now you can link external sources to a PDF via this clickable hyperlink.

How to Add  a Hyperlink on Mac

Mac users should feel lucky to own a built-in editor known as Preview. This image and PDF viewer allows Mac users to easily edit the hard-to-edit file formats. In terms of PDF files, Preview enables you to make comments or modify the content within the document. Here, we are going to briefly introduce how to add a hyperlink to a PDF document using Preview.

Step 1: Open a PDF file with Preview;

Step 2: Choose Substitutions in the Edit tab and click Smart Links;

Step 3: Type a URL - it will automatically become a link.

If in need of changing the text to a link, choose "Edit" and click "Add Link" or "Format", and then select "Add Link" where you can either type or paste the URL. Aside from adding a link, Preview can also quickly remove or open a hyperlink simply by pressing "Ctrl" and clicking the link where your options will appear. If Preview fails to meet your needs, try the following programs to see how to create and add hyperlinks online.

Adding a Hyperlink to a PDF with Online PDF Programs

Google Docs

As an online word editing platform, Google Docs aims to help users easily format text and paragraphs. Since it is more of a collaborative tool for cooperative editing of documents in real-time, users can access its free online service on different operating systems like Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac.


Step 1: Access your Google Drive space and open a PDF via the connected apps. Google Docs is your first choice;

Step 2: Navigate to the word or sentence you want to hyperlink;

Step 3: Choose Insert > Link on the menu bar, or right-click the selected part in order to select Link, then type the URL as a link and hit OK to create a clickable link for the specified part. Alternatively, when you have selected the part that needs a hyperlink, just press the Crtl + K; 

Step 4: Once finished, select Download as in the File tab to export the current Word document to PDF.

Google Docs is a trustworthy online word processor and can automatically convert your PDF to an editable Word document, which is conducive to adding hyperlinks to PDFs. Nevertheless, Google Docs cannot process non-standard PDFs. That being so, if you need to add a hyperlink to an image-only PDF or scanned PDF, you get off on the wrong foot.


pdfFiller is an online expert in dealing with PDF problems, from creating, converting, editing, to reviewing. If you bother to download a desktop PDF program, pdfFiller is a nice web-based editor to insert a hyperlink. Here come the steps:

Step 1: Visit the official website;

Step 2: Upload the PDF from a local computer, Google Drive, Box, One Drive, email, or Dropbox;

Step 3: Navigate to the location that needs a link, and left-click your mouse on any blank area to trigger the text box;

Step 4: Enter anything you want within the box, and then click Attach a Link to type the URL.


During our test, more than 10 online PDF editors were reviewed and pdfFiller proves to be a trustworthy PDF editor when it comes to adding a REAL clickable link online.


Many Internet-based PDF tools do not provide an online editing tool for adding a hyperlink, but desktop PDF programs enable such action with ease.

Regardless of its desktop programs or online PDF editors, adding a hyperlink to a PDF document can be completed within just a few clicks. Yes, it is feasible for someone to utilize Microsoft Word for adding an external link, however, the layout of the PDF has the chance of being altered. In other words, this method shouldn’t be prioritized.

Online PDF programs usually offer two free tasks per day, while desktop software requires payment when the free trial expires. That said though, desktop PDF tools outperform online PDF tools because offline PDF programs can provide many more options, such as how the hyperlink is displayed and where to insert the link.

Common FAQ about Free Methods For Adding Hyperlink to Your PDF

Q:Why are my PDF links not working? How do I fix this?

If you have ever experienced such a situation, the hyperlinks you added to a PDF may not be a real link. The link is incorrect so your access is denied. Also, you should check whether your URL contains the http:// or https://. In some special cases (here we refer to the PDF documents converted from Word or other Microsoft Office documents), this happens a lot. That is most likely because you did not enable the setting in your converter. This option is available in Acrobat's Preferences section under General. If you do not check this option, the hyperlinks in your converted files are not clickable.

Q:How do I add a hyperlink to a PDF without Adobe?

Besides the listed PDF editors, Soda PDF, Wondershare PDFelement, Sejda PDF, and Nitro PDF can be good alternative editors to Adobe Acrobat.

Q:How do I add a YouTube hyperlink to a PDF file?

Sometimes we need to add an external YouTube link to provide detailed information for the audience. For most desktop PDF programs, creating a clickable link only requires a few steps. Let's take SwifDoo PDF for example:

Step 1: Launch the program, and open a PDF document.

Step 2: Click Edit to choose Link;

Step 3: When a window pops up, paste the YouTube link on the Open a Web bar, and remember to save the changes. And that's all there is to it!



Roche has been an active PDF user for 6 years and tried different types of professional PDF tools (both online and desktop version) since at his bachelor degree. Now, Roche works as a columnist for SwifDoo PDF over the course of the last one year, and provides useful and practical solutions pertaining to various PDF topics for users from different features.

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