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Using Relative Hyperlinks

NOTE: This topic only applies if you are using Visio 2002 or 2003. You should skip this topic if you are using Visio 2007.

Refer to What are Relative Hyperlinks? and Creating Relative Hyperlinks before reading this topic.

Once you have added relative hyperlinks to objects in a TaskMap, it is vital to understand a bit more about how they work in order to ensure that the links can be followed successfully in either of two situations: 1) when viewing the TaskMap from within Visio, or 2) when viewing the TaskMap as a web page.

The key is to ensure that the target documents are in the same "relative" position in the Windows directory hierarchy when viewing the maps as they were when the hyperlinks were created. In both cases, one folder in the directory hierarchy serves as the starting point, or hyperlink base. And just to make the problem more interesting, the folder that serves as the hyperlink base is different in both situations.

  • For links followed from within Visio: the hyperlink base is the folder containing the TaskMap drawing.
  • For links followed from TaskMaps saved as web pages: the hyperlink base is the folder containing all of the graphics, html, xml, javascript and other files created by Visio during the Save as Web Page operation.

Simple Example

For a simple example that uses relative hyperlinks when all files are located in the same parent folder, refer to Sharing Web Pages.

Advanced Hyperlinking Examples

Each of the advanced examples below uses a different technique to ensure that the target documents are in the correct position relative to the hyperlink base after using the Save as Web Page function.

  • Use the first technique if you have already added relative links to your TaskMaps but didn’t take the web-published files into consideration when you planned your directory structure.
  • Use the second technique if you are able to organize your files and directories first, i.e., before you create any hyperlinks.

For ease in comparing them, both examples use the same initial collection of Windows directories and files:

  • a folder containing two TaskMaps, and
  • a collection of documents stored in various folders.

Both examples also files that comprise the web-published version of one of the TaskMaps.

Example 1 – Move the Web Files

The first example, Relative Hyperlinking -- Move the Web Files, is based on moving the web-published folder and html index page "up" one level in the Windows directory tree. This technique is simple to use because it involves moving one file and one directory for each published map, and is especially valuable if you have already added relative hyperlinks to your TaskMaps. However, this technique doesn’t allow you to organize all web-related files as easily as the method shown in Example 2.

Example 2 – Move the TaskMaps

The second example, Relative Hyperlinking -- Move the TaskMaps, requires a bit more advance planning because you must create several new directories and move your TaskMap files before adding any relative hyperlinks. However, it allows you to store all web-related files in a single folder.


Creating hyperlinks that can be followed both from a TaskMap in Visio and from TaskMaps saved as web pages is possible but requires careful planning for the use of the Windows directory hierarchy.

The examples above are just two alternatives for organizing TaskMaps, web-published TaskMaps and the documents that are the targets of hyperlinks. You can create your own scheme for doing this but must ensure that you preserve the relative positions of the key elements within the Windows directory structure.

Harvard Computing Group offers a one-hour, web-based seminar on advanced hyperlinking and web publishing. For details, go to www.taskmap.com and click on the Training tab.