HTML Links

Links are found in nearly all web pages. Links allow users to click their way from page to page.

HTML Links – Hyperlinks

HTML links are hyperlinks. You can click on a link and jump to another document. When you move the mouse over a link, the mouse arrow will turn into a little hand. It is a connection from one web resource to another. A link has two ends ,An anchor and direction. The link starts at the “source” anchor and points to the “destination” anchor, which may be any Web resource such as an image, a video clip, a sound bite, a program, an HTML document or an element within an HTML document.

Note: A link does not have to be text. A link can be an image or any other HTML element!

HTML Links – Syntax

The HTML <a> tag defines a hyperlink. It has the following syntax:

<a href="url">link text</a>

The most important attribute of the <a> element is the href attribute, which indicates the link’s destination.

The link text is the part that will be visible to the reader. Clicking on the link text, will send the reader to the specified URL address.

HTML Links – The target Attribute

By default, the linked page will be displayed in the current browser window. To change this, you must specify another target for the link. The target attribute specifies where to open the linked document. The target attribute can have one of the following values:

  • _self – Default. Opens the document in the same window/tab as it was clicked
  • _blank – Opens the document in a new window or tab
  • _parent – Opens the document in the parent frame
  • _top – Opens the document in the full body of the window


Use target=”_blank” to open the linked document in a new browser window or tab:

<a href="" target="_blank">futurefundamentals!</a>

Absolute URLs vs. Relative URLs

Both examples above are using an absolute URL (a full web address) in the href attribute. A local link (a link to a page within the same website) is specified with a relative URL (without the “https://www” part):


<h2>Absolute URLs</h2>
<p><a href="">W3C</a></p>
<p><a href="">Google</a></p>

<h2>Relative URLs</h2>
<p><a href="html_images.asp">HTML Images</a></p>
<p><a href="/css/default.asp">CSS Tutorial</a></p>

HTML Links – Use an Image as a Link

To use an image as a link, just put the <img> tag inside the <a> tag:


<a href="default.asp">
<img src="smiley.gif" alt="HTML tutorial" style="width:42px;height:42px;">

Link to an Email Address

Use mailto: inside the href attribute to create a link that opens the user’s email program (to let them send a new email):


<a href="">Send email</a>

Button as a Link

To use an HTML button as a link, you have to add some JavaScript code. JavaScript allows you to specify what happens at certain events, such as a click of a button:


<button onclick="document.location='default.asp'">HTML Tutorial</button>

Link Titles

The title attribute specifies extra information about an element. The information is most often shown as a tooltip text when the mouse moves over the element.


<a href="" title="Go to W3Schools HTML section">Visit our HTML Tutorial</a>

More on Absolute URLs and Relative URLs


Use a full URL to link to a web page: 

<a href="">HTML tutorial</a>


Link to a page located in the html folder on the current web site:

<a href="/html/default.asp">HTML tutorial</a>

HTML Links – Different Colors

An HTML link is displayed in a different color depending on whether it has been visited, is unvisited, or is active.

HTML Link Colors

By default, a link will appear like this (in all browsers):

  • An unvisited link is underlined and blue
  • A visited link is underlined and purple
  • An active link is underlined and red

You can change the link state colors, by using CSS:


Here, an unvisited link will be green with no underline. A visited link will be pink with no underline. An active link will be yellow and underlined. In addition, when mousing over a link (a:hover) it will become red and underlined:

a:link {
  color: green;
  background-color: transparent;
  text-decoration: none;

a:visited {
  color: pink;
  background-color: transparent;
  text-decoration: none;

a:hover {
  color: red;
  background-color: transparent;
  text-decoration: underline;

a:active {
  color: yellow;
  background-color: transparent;
  text-decoration: underline;

Link Buttons

A link can also be styled as a button, by using CSS:


a:link, a:visited {
  background-color: #f44336;
  color: white;
  padding: 15px 25px;
  text-align: center;
  text-decoration: none;
  display: inline-block;

a:hover, a:active {
  background-color: red;

HTML Links – Create Bookmarks

HTML links can be used to create bookmarks, so that readers can jump to specific parts of a web page.

Create a Bookmark in HTML

Bookmarks can be useful if a web page is very long. To create a bookmark – first create the bookmark, then add a link to it. When the link is clicked, the page will scroll down or up to the location with the bookmark.


First, use the id attribute to create a bookmark:

<h2 id="C4">Chapter 4</h2>

Then, add a link to the bookmark (“Jump to Chapter 4”), from within the same page:


<a href="#C4">Jump to Chapter 4</a>
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