Long, unruly links look suspicious #-matchurl

Long, unruly links look suspicious #-matchurl

05.Oct.2021

Unfortunately, nobody is immune to suspicious links. Even the most well-meaning site administrators can find themselves with a compromised URL. Often it's not even your fault; sometimes through no direct action on your part, you could be distributing spam links without knowing it.

The basic solution for this is simply to obfuscate your URLs. There are several ways to do this, but one of the simpler methods involves using Google Docs or Google Sheets as an intermediary between you and your link shortener. Here’s how it works:

1) Write down the long URL in a spreadsheet cell.

2) Copy that cell and head over to Bitly or another URL shortening service of your choice. Paste the long URL into the resulting textbox and click shorten.

3) Return to your spreadsheet, highlight the shortened link, and copy it back into your clipboard.

4) Go back to Google Docs or Sheets, select the cell containing the long URL, paste in the short link, and hit enter. This will overwrite the original long URL with its shorter equivalent.

5) Delete all of the other rows containing that long URL -- you don’t need them anymore! All of this should take no more than a couple minutes per website, but can save you both time and bandwidth down the line. Just make sure not to alter any columns while pasting between cells!

Here are step-by-step instructions for each major browser:

Google Chrome

 

Step 1: Highlight the long URL and copy it to your clipboard. Return to Google Docs or Sheets and paste it into a cell somewhere on Sheet 1.

 

Step 2: Repeat step one, but only go as far as clicking “Shorten” and copying that new short URL instead of the original long one. This will save you the time of retyping everything if you want to shorten another link – just highlight and copy!

Now you can delete the row containing the long URL without worrying about an errant right-click overriding your work (see this article for tips on preventing accidental pastes). You should end up with something like this:

Firefox

If you're using Firefox, there's an even easier method.

Step 1: Highlight the long URL and copy it to your clipboard. Return to Google Docs or Sheets and paste it into a cell somewhere on Sheet 1.

Then, simply highlight the short link instead of the long one in step 2) above, delete all other rows containing that link, and hit enter -- you're done!

Internet Explorer / Microsoft Edge

Copy the long URL to your clipboard (Ctrl+C), return to Google Docs or Sheets, select cell A1, right-click it and hit "Paste." The long URL will overwrite its equivalent in A1 without altering any cells neighboring A1. If you copied the short URL from Bitly rather than doing this yourself, simply highlight it and press Ctrl+V instead of right-clicking.

Safari

If you're using Safari, copy the long URL to your clipboard (Cmd+C), return to Google Docs or Sheets, select cell A1, right-click it and hit "Paste." The long URL will overwrite its equivalent in A1 without altering any cells neighboring A1. If you copied the short URL from Bitly rather than doing this yourself, simply highlight it and press Cmd+V instead of right-clicking.

Internet Explorer / Microsoft Edge without Right Clicking

Open up Notepad or another text editor. Copy the long URL to your clipboard (Ctrl+C). Once you have done that, open up your spreadsheet in Google Sheets or Google Docs. Highlight the first cell you want to put the long URL into and press Ctrl+V. This will paste a copy of the long URL into that new cell without erasing any surrounding cells. Delete all other rows containing that link, then hit enter -- you're done!

Internet Explorer / Microsoft Edge Using Paste

Open up your spreadsheet in Google Docs or Google Sheets. Copy the original long URL from your clipboard (Ctrl+C). In your spreadsheet, highlight A1 and right click on it. Click on "Paste special" and select "Paste values only." This will overwrite A1 with a copy of your short URL without touching any other cells. Delete all other rows containing that link, then hit enter -- you're done!

Step 3: Delete the row with the long URL. There should no longer be any rows of data containing links you shortened using our tool! Just make sure to leave Sheet 1 intact – it’s necessary for authentication.

For more information on deleting specific cells rather than entire rows, see this article .

Safari without Right Clicking

Open up Notepad or another text editor. Copy the long URL to your clipboard (Cmd+C). Once you have done that, open up your spreadsheet in Google Sheets or Google Docs. Highlight the first cell you want to put the long URL into and press Cmd+V. This will paste a copy of the long URL into that new cell without erasing any surrounding cells. Delete all other rows containing that link, then hit enter -- you're done!

Safari Using Paste

Open up your spreadsheet in Google Docs or Google Sheets. Copy the original long URL from your clipboard (Cmd+C). In your spreadsheet, highlight A1 and right click on it. Click on "Paste special" and select "Paste values only." This will overwrite A1 with a copy of your short URL without touching any other cells. Delete all other rows containing that link, then hit enter -- you're done!

Step 3: Delete the row with the long URL. There should no longer be any rows of data containing links you shortened using our tool! Just make sure to leave Sheet 1 intact – it’s necessary for authentication.

For more information on deleting specific cells rather than entire rows, see this article .

Google Chrome / Chromium / Opera

Copy the long URL to your clipboard (Ctrl+C), return to Google Docs or Sheets, select cell A1, right-click anywhere in the row so that a popup appears and hit "Paste." The long URL will overwrite its equivalent in A1 without altering any surrounding cells. If you copied the short URL from Bitly rather than doing this yourself, simply highlight it in a new browser tab and press Ctrl+V instead of right-clicking in the destination spreadsheet.

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