The Disadvantages of Hyperlinks in PowerPoint
By Julius Vandersteen
PowerPoint, part of the Microsoft Office application suite, enables you to present additional information to clients and customers by adding hyperlinks that point to external resources on the Internet. But because you lack full control over what eventually happens with these hyperlinks, using them has some potential disadvantages for your business.
You can save PowerPoint presentations and send them via email or disc to your audience to view at their convenience. But when viewers eventually open the file, they may not have access to the Internet at that time. Their location may not have any service, or they might be using a computer that is not connected to the Web. If your presentation relies on a hyperlink to provide vital information, your audience might not be able to benefit from it. Also, if the Internet connection is slow or unreliable, your viewers may become frustrated as they wait for a page to load completely.
A Web hyperlink may work fine on the day you create your PowerPoint slideshow, but when someone views your presentation later, the link may turn out to be broken. The entire website could be down, or the site’s developer may have changed or removed the hyperlink you used. In other cases, the URL may no longer point to the content you specified. For example, you might link to an editorial that, at the time, favors the industry position you are emphasizing in your presentation, but a site writer or editor could later change the text to reverse the editorial. This could be especially problematic with websites that offer multiple users the opportunity to edit or alter content.
Your company has no control over websites developed and maintained by third parties. So, by placing an external hyperlink in your PowerPoint presentation, you may inadvertently subject your viewers to inappropriate content. For example, if the website enables comments on the page you link to, other visitors might post misinformation or profanity in the comments section.
Viewers may find it inconvenient or tedious to have to click on hyperlinks in your presentation. If possible, include as much information as you can directly in your presentation, to avoid sending viewers to an external site. For example, instead of linking to someone’s Web page to support your case, summarize the pertinent information on the website and cite it so you don't force your audience members to go somewhere else to see what you are talking about.
Julius Vandersteen has been a freelance writer since 1999. His work has appeared in “The Los Angeles Times,” “Wired” and “S.F. Weekly.” Vandersteen has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from San Francisco State University.