Wednesday, September 12, 2007

AutoCAD hyperlink command basics

This little tutorial will cover most basics around hyperlinks followed by the more advanced topics.

With the HYPERLINK command you can attach hyperlinks to most any object in AutoCAD. Useful applications of this is to hyperlink a section or detail marker to the actual location of the section or detail that can even be in another drawing. Another use is to add a description or tooltip to a column line of a grid system so you can see that you now have column A even though the column bubble is not visible.

The link can be to a file or website, a named view or layout tab, even an e-mail address.

The command is available with the common shortcut CTRL+K as in most other software's.
Using menus with Insert>Hyperlink. image 
Or from the Properties Palette. image


There are two checkboxes worth looking at:

  • Use relative path for hyperlink
  • Convert DWG hyperlinks to DWF

If you select to link to a drawing you can click on Target and specify a named view or layout tab in that drawing.

If you select an object with an existing hyperlink a button comes up showing "Remove Link"

 image  defined in View Manager image

When an object has a hyperlink you can open it using CTRL+click to follow link.


Or you can right click on it and you will find Hyperlink at the bottom like this and open, copy, add to Favorites or edit the hyperlink. (This does not work for field hyperlinks in text or mtext then you need to edit the text, right click and edit the field)


You can even have a block or xref with multiple objects with different hyperlinks and it works. If the blocks contain any relative hyperlinks, the relative hyperlinks adopt the relative base path of the current drawing when you insert them.

Or in the Properties Palette. image But this one does not show nested hyperlinks within blocks.

A neat tip is that you can use the hyperlink to just show information about the object.

image  and it shows up as image

In the above case use the hyperlink just as a tooltip consider removing the option "Convert DWG hyperlinks to DWF" unless you really want to see these tooltips in the DWF file as well. Just know that if you try to follow the link you will get an error like this in Windows Internet Explorer "Cannot find 'file:///C:/Documents/TANK1A205'. Make sure the path or Internet address is correct."

Another great usage is that if you import the dwg file in NavisWorks you can select to have the hyperlink showing as a tooltip as well. Great for showing information like tags, position numbers, room numbers, etc.

With the the quite new Field functionality you can embed hyperlinks in text or mtext objects.

Right-click in the text editor. Click Insert Field. Or run the FIELD command. In the Field dialog box, in Field Category, select Linked. In Field Names, select Hyperlink, and click Hyperlink.

What about if you don't see the hyperlinks?

In Options>User Preferences you must select to Display hyperlink cursor, tooltip, and shortcut menu.


The PICKFIRST system variable must be set to 1 to open files associated with hyperlinks.


  1. Restored comment
    by Benson
    Is there a way to prevent the link (ctrl + click text below tooltip)?
    (leaving just the hyperlink description as a tip)

  2. Restored comment
    by Tracy Lincoln
    You can also open a Windows Explorer session and right-click-hold, drag&drop into AutoCAD and one of the options are "Create Hyperlink Here"...

    If you already had an object or objects previously selected in AutoCAD, the hyperlink is applied to those objects... if not then you are prompted for the object(s) to apply the hyperlink to.

    ... There are a few gothcas when using this method, you might want to edit the hyperlink's "Text to display" as it will show the server/path/file where you might want some other text.

    ... You do not have the option of using a relative path (when inserting) but you can go back and edit the "Type the file or Web page name:" field with the appropriate ..\ paths.

    One last note, if you are in the Edit Hyperlink dislog box, the "Convert DWG hyperlinks to DWF box needs to be checked if you want your published/printed DWF files to contain the hyperlink(s) too.

  3. Restored comment
    by JTB World
    benson, I don't think that is possible.

    tracy, thanks for the comment.

  4. I've added a target view to my hyperlink, but when I ctrl+click it a Microsoft Office dialog box opens and asks me if I want to open the file & when I click ok it opens the file but not the target view. Any idea why? Hope you can help, it's driving me crazy. Thanks.

  5. I don't know what the problem is with your target view links.

  6. Hi,

    thank you for you post.

    What is the best way to convert DWG to SVG and obtain in this target format the hyperlinks created with Autocad ?

    Thank you very much in advance.

  7. Hi Pierre,
    I'm not aware of any out-of-the-box solution for this. If you would consider a custom solution feel free to contact me.


  8. Great post! Question though...we have a user that's placed all of their hyperlinks in the master file that's been XREFed into others. When we're in the other drawings, we can't seem to access the hyperlinks in the XREFed master. If we try to select the object, it selects the entire XREF. Is there a way to make this work while keeping the hyperlinks in the file to be XREFed?

  9. blugirl, it should work to follow the link by just holding down CTRL and click on the object with the link. I just tried it and it worked for me. If you like, you can email me two sample drawings and I can take a look, let me also know what AutoCAD version you use.


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