Blocked Links in Content Viewer: A Workaround

One issue that users migrating to Desire2Learn are finding is that the Content Viewer blocks the embedded links in a document being displayed.  As a result, when a user clicks on the link in the document, nothing happens.  Some instructors have many, many links in PDF, Word, and PowerPoint documents that their students need to access as part of a unit of study.

If you find that you have documents with imbedded links to outside URLs, there is one workaround that seems to work across all browsers and computer platforms.  This workaround prevents students from having to download the files to access the links.  If students have to download the files to access the links, then they also have to have the correct program (or free Microsoft viewer) to open the files and use the links.  The documents used for the workaround, therefore, must be PDF files.  These can easily be created using Word and PowerPoint 2007, 2010, and 2013.

The workaround for blocked links in content involves using a Desire2Learn “Document” (which is essentially a webpage resource).  The files with the embedded links can be referenced in the Desire2Learn document with a link to the file.  If these files are PDF files, they can be made to open in a new window.  That new window is outside of the D2L Content Viewer and the embedded links will then work.  Please note that this will only work with PDF files, as the user’s web browser will force them to download Word and PowerPoint files.


Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.
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