How to force Outlook 2003 to insert a hyperlink to a Folder (as opposed to just a file) in Outlook Calendar, Task and Contact forms

Use this Hyperlink method to point to a FOLDER as opposed to just a file with Outlook 2003 (NOTE: Click the link if you are looking for how to do this with Microsoft Outlook 2007 and 2010 ) It is clever – and simple!

For the sake of completeness in this entry here’s how you insert a hyperlink to a FILE within an Outlook 2003 Task, Calendar or Contact form:
Place your cursor in the notes area of your Outlook form where you want to insert the hyperlink.
Go to the Form’s top Toolbar > Hit the word ‘Insert’ (not the paperclip button) > Select ‘File’> Navigate to the file and highlight it only > Go to the ‘Insert’ button at the bottom of the form and click on the arrow on the right of the button and select ‘Insert as hyperlink’ and you’re done.

Now the clever bit….
Do the above and create a hyperlink to any file within the folder you want to access in your Outlook 2003 Form.
Go to your created hyperlink and simply (but carefully) insert your cursor at the end of the link between the last letter of the hyperlink itself and the limiting >. Now simply remove the file extension and filename by hitting the ‘Back’ button on your keypad until you have reached the folder you want the hyperlink to point to. Then come out of the link by taking your cursor to another area without hitting ‘Enter’ .

I have tested this all the way down to my C directory and it worked every time. So now I am linking to Project, Client and Prospect folders where that is more appropriate, and not just files.
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  1. Richard Maybury March 14, 2014 at 11:29 am

    Check here Jerry. The link ins now in the original post but this link is to the Outlook 2007 and 2010 post

  2. Jerry Miller March 13, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    Thank you for the article. This is exactly the function I am looking for. Hopefully I can make it work. I have OL 2010. I am sorry but I am not finding the link to the article where it explains how tihs can be done in OL 2010. Could you send this to me or indicate where the link is on this page of the article? Thanks, Jerry

  3. Richard Maybury January 30, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Well done Andy! Office for Mac and Microsoft Office – especially when it comes to Outlook – don’t work seamlessly together, hence my earlier questions.
    10 ot of 10 for tenacity!

  4. Andy January 30, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    Ok, so after all that messing about with settings and getting nowhere, it was something really simple. For some reason, sending an email from Entourage (office mac) without HTML ticked to an Outlook 2003 user works. The hyperlink appears as a link and clicking it takes them straight to the location for the desired network folder or subfolder. I can at last put it to bed.

  5. Andy January 23, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    Me again…
    Created a new message in OL2003, created a hyperlink “click here” and set it up to go to a folder on a network drive. Sent to another OL2003 user, worked perfectly. So it’s not blocking it, it’s just something else.
    Anyway, thanks a lot for your input. I will leave the conversation now and get back to you if I ever figure it out.

  6. Andy January 22, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    Hi Richard,
    1. Although I am sending from Office Mac, the users using Outlook 2007 receive it with no problems at all. It’s like 2003 filters them out when opening. Even odder is If the 2003 user opens my email and hits reply or forward, they can then edit my email and turn the path into a hyperlink by simply hitting return or space at the end of the line. So it must be a filtering/blocking issue.
    2. I’ve never used tasks or meetings in this way but tomorrow I shall create a new message in 2003 with the hyperlink typed from scratch and send it to another 2003 user and see what happens.

    I’m like a dog with a bone when I get started 🙂

  7. Richard Maybury January 22, 2013 at 7:55 am

    Andy, 2 things:
    1 you mentioned that you are also using Mac Office. This could be the problem. As you know, not all Microsoft Office functionality is available on Office for Mac. What happens when you email from Windows Office to Windows office?
    2 Have to tried the hyperlink in a meeting request or task assignment form? This would test if it is an ‘All Outlook’ problem on the errant machine or just an Email problem.

  8. Andy January 21, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    After some more reading online, I’m going to look at IE settings as some people report hyperlink problems when this is not configured correctly

  9. Andy January 21, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    Hi Richard,
    I’ve done some more testing today. None of the hyperlinks or email links work regardless of whether they are in a signature or not. I first thought that that the other links worked, but they don’t – they are just coloured blue and underlined, with no “ctrl+” option when hovering.
    Today, I got hold of a machine with OL2003 and saved a Word document with the file path in it. This converted to a path which I tested. I then sent this to the problem machine and opened in Word and the link worked perfectly. So, I’ve narrowed it down to reading emails in OL2003 that contain any type of link.
    I’ve played around with different settings in Outlook, ticking unticking anything that might be causing it, junk mail settings, autoformat settings. Nothing appears to work.
    I should add that I am sending emails from OL2007 or Entourage on Mac Office.
    I’ve been through the source code of the email to see if that points to anything.
    Like I say, it’s only when viewing emails where the links don’t work. I can compose a new message and use links no problem. I give up!

  10. Richard Maybury January 21, 2013 at 8:02 am

    Hi Andy, looks like Outlook 2003 does not like this hyperlink workaround in its Signature files. Could this be the case?

  11. Andy January 20, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Last message filtered out my path quote. Let’s try again,
    “file : // Y: \ foldername \ subfoldername \” (obviously without the spaces and with brackets either end)

  12. Andy January 20, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Last message filtered out my path quote. Let’s try again,
    (obviously without the spaces)

  13. Andy January 20, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Hi, thanks for the quick reply. Each person has his/her folder on a network drive. I’ve set up email signatures for each person to save me having to type the path each time. The signature contains the path It also contains a web address and an email address at the bottom. This works perfectly for most – the link appears in blue and it takes them straight to their folder or sub-folder. However on some, possibly those using Outlook 2003, the path is not showing as a link but the web address and email address are, so why not the file path?
    When they create a new message, typing in exactly the same path, the path is converted to a hyperlink, meaning there’s nothing wrong with the autoformat/text options. Weird.

  14. Richard Maybury January 19, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    are you sending a hyperlink to a file or a folder?

  15. Andy January 18, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    Hi. I have a real head doing case with regards to this subject. The person receiving my email with the network hyperlink is not seeing a link, it’s just text. They are using 2003. They are viewing emails as html, and if they type exactly the same path in a new message, it changes to a link which they can send to me no problem. The issue is in reading/viewing. I’ve been through all the settings and options and can’t see anything that might be causing it. Oddly, there are email address and a website address link in the signature which DO read as links.
    Hope you can help!

  16. Richard Maybury October 30, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Hi Ann, thanks for reaching out. I’m delighted that you found this Productivity Pointer useful. There is so much more we can do to manage competing priorities and bulging inboxes with Microsoft Outlook, straight out of the box without any Add-Ons or clever coding.

    Do check out other areas of the blog, you will find proven productivity, time and workload management tips specifically designed to be useful to very busy people.
    Thanks again, it means a lot to get feedback

  17. Ann Lyons October 30, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    I have 2003 and could not figure out why I could insert a hyperlink in an e-mail but not a task. Your instruction was very simple and straightforward. I am so excited that I will be able to do this from now own, saving me a lot of time! Thanks!!

  18. Richard Maybury September 27, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Hi Adrian. If you just hit the Hyperlink button > Insert tab > hyperlink > and point it to a Folder and double click it will insert the folder link automatically – no need to edit the hyperlink text.
    Hope that helps

  19. Adrian September 27, 2011 at 7:29 am

    Got this to work in Outlook 2007 very easily. Created the hyperlink to the file, then went into Edit Hyperlink and in the address bar, deleted the file name. The hyperlink then opens up the folder.

  20. Richard Maybury August 23, 2011 at 10:44 am

    I’m delighted you found it Winnie. It certainly eases the access to server based folders we have to use every day to complete our tasks!

  21. Winnie Hong August 23, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Thanks a lot! It works!

  22. Richard Maybury April 12, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Yes, it is. Once the link is in your left column you can right-click and select ‘Rename’

  23. Cory Griffin April 7, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    This works great! Thanks for the tip.

    Is it possible to change the display of the link to a simple word, rather than see the whole path?


  24. Richard Maybury December 1, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Thanks Tim, I’m delighted that our manipulation of Outlook has helped you.
    Thanks also for offering the navigation tip via cursor keys.
    The single/double click on hyperlinks is a Microsoft setting – the default is ‘Double’
    It is good to meet you here.
    Connect with me me on Linkedin or Twitter (richardmaybury) if I can help in any other way,

  25. Tim Bullock December 1, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    THANK YOU! I’ve been racking my brain for a solution to this for a while now, I finally decided to turn to google, and there you were! Regarding 2 points (in case anyone was wondering) 1. you need (or at least I need) to double click a link to have it open, and 2. to get the cursor in the right place, click outside it, and use your cursor keys to get to the right place.

  26. Richard Maybury November 13, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Hiya Chiradeep, yes, the trick (and the fiddly bit) is to locate the cursor onto the link without activating it. Easy after a few attempts!

  27. CDS November 13, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    Thanks Richard & also to Mike.. very much

    After several failed trials, using your simple tip, it works!


  28. Richard Maybury March 7, 2009 at 8:31 am

    Hi Sherry, yes it will. Look again at what you did and check it against the instruction above. It is important to get your cursor in at the very end of your hyperlink – between the last letter of the link and the > limiter. Now just hit backspace to the end of the folder delimiter/
    So, becomes:

    I can’t find any productivity tips on your own website. Are these available to clients only?

  29. Sherry March 7, 2009 at 1:46 am

    I tried the hyperlink tip to a folder inside a task. When I click on it, it doesn’t do anything. Will it open up the folder?

    Thank you.

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