How to handle URLs with spaces in Outlook, Word etc

I was talking to a customer earlier today who was envisioning frustrations around using click-to-dial type functionality within OCS, where they’ll be copying & pasting phone numbers around. Now if the number is nicely formatted (and E.164 compliant…) then it won’t be problem, but the nearer number formatting gets to being easily machine-readable, the further it gets from being human-friendly.

This reminded me of a nice tip for dealing with odd URLs or other links (particularly UNC names such as \\server\share\folder name\file name) which might contain spaces. In many applications now (chiefly Word and Outlook, but others – such as Windows Live Writer – support it too), it’s possible to write or paste in a URL and have the application delay processing it and presenting it as a hyperlink.

Instead of ending up with \\server\share\folder name\file name, which you’ll get by starting to type the link, begin it with a “<“, then type or paste the whole URL, then close with a “>”. Now when you press space or enter, the app will likely process the hyperlink, remove the <>s and all is well. If you do end up with a half-formed link, go to the start of the text (before it becomes a hyperlink), enter the “<“, then jump to the end of the hyperlinked text (eg the end of “\folder”), and press backspace – this should remove the active bit. Finally, jump to the end, add your “>” and press space to complete.

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