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If links in attached documents aren't clickable it's because the program you are opening them in is not making them clickable. It's not your email program.

When I receive a document in the form of an attachment and the document has links in it, the links are not live. They can't be opened. What can I do? I have Windows Live Mail. When I receive a document in the form of a simple email, I have adjusted the Windows Live Mail security so that the links are live.

In this excerpt from Answercast #83, I look at which programs are making links clickable (or not) when opened as attachments in email.

Links in attached documents aren't clickable

Yes, absolutely. Links in an email message itself are very, very different from links inside of an attached file.

The links in the message are handled exclusively by your mail program. As you've pointed out, you can configure your email program's security to allow you to actually click on those links and have them do something.

The program that opens the file

As far as the attached document is concerned, your email program has nothing to do with that. Your email program simply delivers the document to your computer.

When you open the document, you are now opening it with a completely different program. If it's a .doc file, it might be Microsoft Word. If it's a .ppt file, it might be Microsoft PowerPoint.

There are so many different kinds of documents that are interchanged and could be included as attachments. Each one of them has its own program installed on your computer (if your computer supports that particular document type that will handle that document.)

Each program's configuration

Now, links inside of that document are then handled by that program - not your email program.

So, for example, let's say you get a .doc file in email. You double-click on the .doc file and Microsoft Word opens up.

If you see links in the document, it's Microsoft Word that determines what happens if you click on that link. It's the Options in Microsoft Word that will determine whether or not those links should be directly clickable, or control-clickable, or some other thing.

So, absolutely! Take a look at the settings within the program that's being used to open those documents - because it's not the settings that are in your email program that determines what happens there.

(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)

Next from Answercast 83 - How does in-flight WiFi work?

Article C6197 - December 30, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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2 Comments
william corin
January 1, 2013 10:29 PM

You mention a security fix if you click a hyper link and nothing happens. How do you do this? All hyper links on my IE emails don't work but at one time did. On Chrome everything works?

Dan
January 2, 2013 6:57 AM

Not sure how the person sending the email is linking the file, but if the link is to their local drive, and they are only sending the link itself, the person recieving the email still won't see anything when clicking on the link since they do not have access to the sender's local drive where the file is located.

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