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Fixing Outlook So You Can Click Email Hyperlinks

Charles from AZ writes:

I have Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010, and recently I did something that won’t allow me to click on a hyperlink in my e-mails. Now when I click, it comes up with a pop-up says that I am to consult my system administrator. What can I do?

Because of the huge amount of spam emails that contain links to questionable sites, which may compromise your computer’s security, Outlook has several options to prevent links in email messages from functioning. If one of these options has been turned on, you can always work around the security feature by right-clicking the link, selecting “Copy Link Location,” and then pasting the link into your web browser’s address bar. Obviously this isn’t an ideal long-term solution, however, as it adds in several unnecessary steps. To permanently fix the issue, you need to figure out which security feature has been enabled and then shut it off.

For the first link-disabling feature to check, open the “File” menu at the top-left corner of the window and select “Options.” If you are using Outlook 2007, instead click the “Tools” button at the top of the window and then click “Options.”

Opening the Options Window

Click the button labeled “Editor Options” at the right hand side of the “Options” window. In the 2007 edition of Outlook, instead navigate to the “Mail Format” tab and click the “Editor Options” button at the bottom of the window.

The Editor Options Button

Navigate to the “Proofing” tab at the left side of the screen and click the “AutoCorrect Options” button at the right side of the window. This step remains the same in either version of Outlook.

The AutoCorrect Options

In either Outlook 2007 or 2010, click the “AutoFormat” tab at the top of the new “AutoCorrect” window that appears on the screen and then locate the “Replace” heading at the center of the window. Look to see if the check box labeled “Internet and Network Paths with Hyperlinks” is currently un-checked. If the box is empty, click it to fill it with a check mark, and then click the “OK” button.

Turning URLS Into Links

If you still can’t click hyperlinks in your email messages, Outlook may be disabling the links because the program thinks they are spam or lead to a phishing website. You will need to turn off the feature that prevents these links from being clicked, although this will leave you vulnerable to accidentally clicking real phishing links. Return to the main Outlook screen and navigate to the “Home” tab at the top of the window.

The Home Tab

To access the option for preventing phishing links from functioning, click the “Junk” button and select “Junk Email Options.” In Outlook 2007 this option is located in a different menu. Instead of the “Home” tab, open the “Tools” menu and select “Options” again. Click the “Junk Email” button located in the “Preferences” tab.

Junk Email Options

Remove the check mark from the box labeled “Disable Links and Other Functionality in Phishing Messages” to restore your ability to click links.

Enabling Spam Links

Click “Apply” and “OK” to save the change and restore link functionality in your email messages. Because you will be vulnerable to scam messages, it’s recommended to turn this feature back on after you’ve clicked whatever link is contained in the email message.

~Ty Arthur