Often times I find I'll be writing an email with a question or comment pulled from several online references (Rally user stories, Governance docs, sharepoint files). As such, while I will summarize these references, I also turn them into hyperlinks directly to the document referenced. Nine times out of then, I have it open anyway, so grabbing the URL isn't hard.

From my perspective, I would appreciate the links for clarification, but I find almost no one else uses them. Is the inclusion of these links considered poor office etiquette for some reason?

For an example of how I would typically do this link inlining...


I've found that by using a C# extension method which targets AutomationElement objects, we can create generic UI interaction functions for our automated tests. This will allow us to blah blah blah....

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    I do this all the time too. I can't see a reason not to, I'm sure it's helpful. I think other people don't do it because they're not sure how. – punkrockbuddyholly Oct 7 '15 at 15:00
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    I don't know who could be offended by links in an email. I usually do not inline links in the text, but will paraphrase what is important, and add the link at the end of the email as a reference. – Max Oct 7 '15 at 15:02
  • If you link too much, it may cause your reader to lose interest in clicking your links. For example, I clicked your first link "C# extension method" thinking it was an article about some particular extension method that you're referencing. Instead, it was just a page describing the notion of extension methods, which should probably be general developer knowledge. For programming knowledge we have to look up a lot anyway. Personally I tend to use offline references for this rather than reading things like MSDN. Just link the unique stuff that you want to call attention to. – Brandin Oct 7 '15 at 16:15
  • @Brandin Good point, although that was just an example; typically my links are to specific in-house references, although obviously I couldn't post that on SE. :) – Sidney Oct 7 '15 at 17:56
  • Unless they decide to print out emails... for you know... litigation and stuff... – Frank FYC Oct 8 '15 at 5:19

Inserting relevant hyperlinks is actually a really great business practice.

Where I am currently working, there is an initiative to get a comprehensive sharepoint file system going on so that email attachments can be fully prohibited.

Doing this enhances document control, and reduces strain on the email system.

I anticipate that in the coming years, that philosophy will not be limited my organization, and much like the "going green" movement, the movement to start using hyperlinks instead of attachments is going to become commonplace in the workplace.


Adding relevant, helpful hyperlinks is actually a huge plus when it comes to having them in a formal mail.

However, add them judiciously. If you can explain something in a line or two, instead of a hyperlink, then please go ahead and do it.

Hyperlinks are appreciated, but it is also a fact that having a lot of them in a mail makes it look like sam and is also a pain navigating through it, as you need to move back and forth webpages and the mail.

So, considering your e-mail here:


I've found that by using a C# extension method which targets AutomationElement objects, we can create generic UI interaction functions for our automated tests. This will allow us to blah blah blah....

It is okay that there are only 2 hyperlinks in this mail(or atleast I hope so). But, if you want the receiver to just know the meaning(or definition) of the terms, then it is advisable to include the definition as a short and crisp paragraph rather than a hyperlink.

But, if you want the receiver to know and go through about the entire documentation, then a hyperlink is justified(unless there aren't too many of them in the mail).


Given the amount of spam that comes through with hyperlinks attempting to get you to download malware, many of us are a bit gun-shy about links in e-mail.

I use them at work, in a controlled environment where rich-text mail is expected. On my personal mail, I still tend to insist on plaintext only unless I know the recipient prefers richtext mail... and I'm extremely careful about what I click on.

If you must do it, don't go wild linking to half the universe just because you can. If folks can easily find something, or should already know it, don't link it. Your examples are ones I would not recommend unless there's some subtle point there that you really need folks to be able to refer to.

  • This answer feels like it was sent from the 90s. – user2989297 Oct 8 '15 at 15:47
  • "There are two kinds of fool. One says 'this is old and therefore good. ' The other says "this is new, and therefore better." -- Dean Inge – keshlam Oct 8 '15 at 16:07
  • "Man who farts in church sits in pew" -- Confucious – user2989297 Oct 8 '15 at 16:19

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