What would the Web be without hyperlinks? They allow us to jump from page to page and from site to site in search of useful information.

For many people who navigate the Web visually, skimming through text and discovering links in their natural contexts, it may come as a surprising that such a basic element as a hyperlink can pose a serious barrier to users who cannot see. Blind and low vision readers typically rely on screen reader software tools, which, fortunately, have the ability to read out a list of links on each page. This summary of links is a great time saver, but it has the disadvantage of separating links from the text in which they original appeared.

The “link text” you choose is very important. Link text such as “Click here” or “Read more” is not helpful to users who cannot see because it doesn’t tell them where the link goes, and because there may be more than one “click here” link on the page. On the other hand, link text such as “Declaration of Independence” and “Thomas Jefferson” are helpful because they are descriptive and succinct.

To format links in Microsoft Office, Select the link text. On the Insert Ribbon, click Hyperlink.

Insert ribbon showing hyperlink option

Type the text that will actually be displayed in your document in the Text to Display field.

Type the actual link in the Address field. This is the link that will be followed.

Insert hyperlink window showing text to display

Most text editors for web content have a button on the toolbar for inserting or editing hyperlinks. You can select text and convert it to a link, or you can simply paste a link and then edit to add descriptive text. Below is an example of how to do this in WordPress, although other text editors will be slightly different.

In WordPress, select the link text, then click on the Insert/Edit Link icon.

WordPress Insert/edit link button (Ctrl+K)

Click on the settings button to get more Link Options.

WordPress Link options button on insert link dialog

In the Link options window, enter the destination URL and the descriptive link text in the appropriate fields. Once these are both added, click Update to apply changes.

WordPress edit link options, showing separate fields for URL and Link Text, and Update button to apply changes.