I am using InDesign 2021 (v16.0) to create a document for export to PDF. There are places where I'd like to insert a hyperlink to a specific section and also include the page number, for example:

For more information, see section "Components" on page 11.

In the above example, the bold text ('"Components" on page 11') would link to the relevant section on whatever page it's located on.

InDesign lets you reference a specific section using Cross-References; for example, I can create a Cross-Reference that will automatically generate the text '"Components" on page 11".

InDesign also lets you create Hyperlinks that can link to a specific page or text anchor in the document.

However, I can't find any way to combine these two features. If I have inserted a cross-reference, InDesign will not let me add a hyperlink to it. If I create a hyperlink, InDesign will not let me add a cross-reference to it.

Is there any way to do what I want using a combination of hyperlinks and cross-references? Please do not suggest "you can make a hyperlink and just type in the section name and page number manually", because this document is expected to grow over time and it's not feasible to hunt through and update manual page numbers each time the layout changes.

1 Answer 1


Figured it out:

If you add a cross-reference, by default it looks like normal text rather than a hyperlink and will not be clickable in the exported PDF. However, if you have the "hyperlinks" box checked in the PDF export options, InDesign will make the cross-reference a clickable link - it just won't look like a clickable link. If you want to use the standard hyperlink styling of blue text with an underline, you can just select the text and apply a "Hyperlink" character style.

So, in summary:

  1. Insert a cross-reference in whatever style you prefer
  2. Select the cross-reference text and apply a "Hyperlink" character style
  3. When exporting to PDF, ensure that the "hyperlinks" box is checked.

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