I researched this topic and there appears to be conflicting answers for this question.

When hyperlinked text might include special characters/punctuation, is it proper to include these characters in the link text?

For example, should I include the brackets here or not?:

[PMID: 22305529]

  • Technically, it doesn't matter. It's more of a style-guide issue. Be consistent. That said, to accommodate screen readers, you may wan to consider omitting the brackets.
    – DA01
    Commented Mar 31, 2014 at 19:58
  • omit the brackets all together or omit from the hyperlink text? Commented Mar 31, 2014 at 20:02
  • It depends on context. Are the brackets important? If not, get rid of them altogether.
    – DA01
    Commented Mar 31, 2014 at 20:14
  • the inclusion of the brackets was a style decision. Commented Mar 31, 2014 at 20:19
  • I'm just curious what your prior research turned up -- can you add some links? Commented Mar 31, 2014 at 21:31

2 Answers 2


I agree, it will mostly come down to a preference and style issues. For example, if you have links styled with underlines, some special characters (like superscript) can look awkward: Trademark™


Punctuation is not part of the link, so it should be excluded. I don’t see how this could even be a problem.

The link text may appear in various contexts, for example in a list of all links on a page, or as read by a speech-based user agent in links reading mode. It may also be highlighted on mouseover or when clicked. Thus, any punctuation that is not logically part of the link text itself may confuse or disturb.

Of course, any punctuation that is part of the link text should be included. Compare Have you read <a href=...>The Grapes of Wrath</a>? with I watched <a href=...>When Did You Last See Your Father?</a>.


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