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Definition: virtual hypertext


A hypertext link that is created by software on the fly by matching a word or phrase to an existing list. It eliminates the need to predefine links in the text and avoids the underlined words that break the smooth flow of reading a sentence. Virtual hypertext is not common, but it embodies the true meaning of hypertext as coined by Ted Nelson in the 1960s (see hypertext). See smart tags and overlinking.




The Windows Version of this Encyclopedia
In our Windows app, every word is hypertext. Users can highlight a term anywhere within the definition and go there immediately. For example, clicking "virtual" (red arrow) jumps to the virtual definition even though the word is ordinary text. However, for the Web, terms selected for hypertext must be identified as such. Because the same set of text files is the source for both versions, terms selected for website hypertext are identified with italics.






Built Into the Mac
The Mac has built-in virtual hypertext to retrieve dictionary definitions wherever a text cursor appears on a Web page. Control-clicking the term "hypertext" in the caption of this very same definition on our website opened a menu, and "Look up hypertext" was clicked. See text cursor.