When you click on a hyperlink in a Microsoft Word document in Windows 7, it may automatically open the link in Word instead of your default web browser. This can be inconvenient if you want links to open in your browser. Here are several methods to stop links from opening in Word and use your preferred web browser instead.
Set Another Browser as the Default
The easiest solution is to set your preferred web browser, such as Chrome or Firefox, as the default browser in Windows. Here’s how:
- Open the Start menu and go to Control Panel > Default Programs > Set Default Programs
- Under “Programs”, choose your preferred browser from the list
- Click “Set this program as default”
Now when you click links in Word, they should open in your chosen default browser instead of Word.
Disable Hyperlinks in Word
You can stop Word from making links clickable so that they don’t open at all:
- Open Word and a document with hyperlinks
- Click the “File” tab > “Options”
- Click “Advanced” in the left sidebar
- Scroll down and uncheck the box next to “Allow click and type hyperlinks”
- Click “OK”
Now hyperlinks will appear as plain text instead of clickable links. You can still copy and paste them into your browser manually.
Change File Associations
Another option is to change the file type associations for web links so they don’t open in Word:
- Go to Control Panel > Default Programs > Set Associations
- Under “File Types”, scroll down and find “.htm” and “.html”
- Double click on each one and change the default program to your preferred browser
- Also change default programs for the “HTTP” and “HTTPS” protocols
Now Word will no longer open web page links since those extensions are associated with your browser.
Disable CTRL + Click Functionality
By default, holding CTRL while clicking a link will force it to open in Word instead of your browser. To disable this:
- In Word, click the “File” tab > “Options” > “Advanced”
- Scroll down and uncheck “Use CTRL + click to follow hyperlink”
- Click “OK”
Now clicking links normally will open your browser, even if CTRL is held.
Remove Hyperlinks Entirely
To strip all hyperlinks out of a Word document:
- Press CTRL + A to select the entire document
- Press CTRL + Shift + F9 to remove the field codes from the links
All hyperlinks will now display as plain text.
Restore Default Associations
If changes you made to associations cause issues, restore them:
- Press Windows Key + R
- Type “control assoc .htm” and hit Enter
- Click “Restore” for any changed extensions
This resets them to the system defaults.
By using one or more of these methods, you can prevent links in Word documents from opening directly in Microsoft Word in Windows 7. Set your preferred browser as the default, change the file associations, or strip the links entirely for the best experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do links open in Word instead of my browser?
By default, Word registers itself as a web browser in Windows so that it can handle displaying web pages and HTML content within documents. Because of this, Windows associates web links with Word, causing them to open directly in the application.
Can I disable link functionality just for some documents?
Yes, you can disable hyperlinks entirely in specific documents by selecting all text and pressing CTRL + Shift + F9. This will remove the underlying field codes so the links don’t work.
What if I want to keep hyperlinks but use my browser?
In that case, change your system-wide default browser and file associations for web extensions. You can also disable Word’s CTRL + click feature that forces links to open internally rather than externally.
Is there an easier permanent fix?
Setting another browser as the system-wide default for opening web pages provides a simple, catch-all solution for most users. Word will pass links to whatever browser Windows uses by default, overriding its own associations.
What if changing the defaults doesn’t work?
Some legacy add-ins and plugins for Microsoft Office can still hijack links and open them internally. Try disabling any add-ins to see if that fixes it. Also check your registry under
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT to ensure associations map properly.