Setting up Links (URLs) in ASX Announcements

Posted in IRM News

Some guidance for writers of ASX Announcements

Some readers of ASX Announcements containing links to web pages (or email addresses) have been frustrated with an apparent inconsistency in whether the links are clickable or not. This note provides some guidance on a way to include links in a PDF document so that they will (almost always) work on the recipients’ technology.

The Issue

It is possible to put links (URLs) in the text of ASX Announcements that are released through the ASX Online platform, and have them clickable by the reader of the PDF.

The issue arises because the technology (in both creating and reading PDFs) is not uniform so in some cases it will be frustrating, in that it will appear that the links will work (i.e. can be clicked on to open a web page or email form) for some recipients on some devices / browsers, and other times they will just not work.

The semi-technical explanation

Whether the link works or not depends on the technology on the receiving machine. This might be a new or old desktop or mobile device, running any of a wide range of web browsers and possible plugins to those browsers.

Any given browser has a default way of reading PDF documents, and most of them also permit the end user to “plug in” a specific PDF viewer.

The native PDF viewer in some web browsers (e.g. Google Chrome) are very clever, and will recognise a string of characters in the PDF that start with www, will work out that this is a link, and permit it to be clicked. Likewise, some browser plugins will do the same. However, many don’t, and over time with new releases of the software the picture will keep changing.

Hence, if all you do is write the website address as text in a PDF, then it will work sometimes and not others.

Unfortunately it’s even more complicated. There are a large number of ways to generate a PDF document (e.g. from a Word document). When you set up a link in a Word document, as a link (not just text) it will (probably) underline the link text and change the colour (e.g. to blue) to identify it as a link. Looks good, huh? But some of the pieces of software that create PDFs from word documents (particularly older software or older versions of Word) will strip out the information about the link, and leave the piece of (now raw) text still blue and underlined, still looking like a link, but not working.


There are probably many ways to produce PDF files with “genuine” links in them. You could explore your own.

This way does work:

Use Save As (PDF) from Word 365 (see example below). This preserves clickable links when set up in Microsoft Word as links, or even when just typed in to the text.

An alternative is to use Acrobat Reader Pro (not the free Acrobat Reader) and edit the resulting PDF to add in the link if it has been lost.

For example, this text was simply typed into Word 365 (which identified it as a URL, made it a link, underlined it and made it blue) and the document was “saved as” a PDF. All browsers will see a clickable link in the resulting PDF, not just text.

(If a particular old browser still doesn’t work, the user of that machine has this problem with all links in PDFs and will be used to it. At least its won’t appear to be just your announcement at fault!)

To test whether your own method works or not, find a browser that does not intelligently examine the text for links (Firefox without any PDF reader plugin is probably a good one to use at the moment), open Windows explorer and find the file you want to test, and drag and drop the filename to a new browser tab to open it with the browser. Check if the link clicks. With a couple of tests you can satisfy yourself that you have a quality link in your PDF.

If you’re already doing it well, and your links are working, at least you have a way of proving it!

We hope this helps.