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Transparent Hyperlinks in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows

Learn how you can add transparent hyperlinks to text or any other slide object in PowerPoint 2013.


Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2013
OS: Windows 7 and higher

Why would you add a hyperlink to any slide object within PowerPoint? There may be many answers to that question, but if we had to choose one answer that would be true all the time, it would be to add value to your slides and enhance their capabilities. However, these hyperlinks are two-edged swords because when you create a hyperlink, you may be telling your audience that it is a link! Look at Figure 1, where the underlined text clearly represents a hyperlink.

A conspicuous hyperlink
Figure 1: A conspicuous hyperlink

The purpose of this tutorial is to make this link transparent, as in “invisible”. However, it should still be a link!

Follow these steps to learn how you can create transparent links in PowerPoint 2013:

  1. First of all, insert a Rectangle shape that covers the text you want to use as a hyperlink - see Figure 2.

    A Rectangle shape covers text to be hyperlinked
    Figure 2: A Rectangle shape covers text to be hyperlinked
  2. Now add a hyperlink to this Rectangle shape. You can create hyperlinks to within the presentation, outside the presentation, and to web pages. Test your link in Slide Show view.
  3. We now need to make the Rectangle invisible while still making the link work. To do so, right click the shape and choose the Format Shape option from the resultant contextual menu (see Figure 3).

    Format Shape
    Figure 3: Format Shape
  4. This will open the Format Shape Task pane shown in Figure 4. You essentially need to change your fill to 99% transparent and your line to invisible. To do so, make sure you select the Solid fill radio button (highlighted in red), set its Transparency to 99% (highlighted in blue), and choose the No line radio button (highlighted in green).

    Change fill and line attributes
    Figure 4: Change fill and line attributes
  5. Your text will also now be visible behind the transparent Rectangle (see Figure 4). Test your link in Slide Show view.

Why 99% Transparent?

Why did we use the 99% Transparent option, and not choose the No Fill option instead? That is because of compatibility with older versions of PowerPoint. In PowerPoint 2013, even a No Fill option will get you the hand cursor when you hover over the hyperlink in Slide Show view (see Figure 5). However, in older versions, a 1% Opacity value (that is what 99% Transparency means!) is needed to get the clickable cursor.

Hover to see the cursor
Figure 5: Hover to see the cursor

Old habits die hard, and we still recommend that you use 99% Transparency rather than No Fill. Moreover, there’s no harm in making sure that everyone is happy!

To learn more about Transparency, No Fill, and No Outline attributes, you can refer to these tutorials:
Transparency for Shape Fills  in PowerPoint 2013
No Fill for Shapes in PowerPoint 2013
No Outline for Shapes in PowerPoint 2013

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