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I'm writing a document with MS Word for Mac 2011. This documents uses a lot of URLs that are also hyperlinks. When converting the document to a PDF by using the save as... option, the URLs that contain a hyphen are mis-formed. All the other hyperlinks are working correctly.

Instead of a hyphen, I see that the URL has some special escaping characters.

What can I do to avoid that?

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Well, it may not be the answer you'd like to hear, but Word is definitely not perfect in exporting to PDF. If I was you, I would consider installing some simple app acting as PDF-printer (e.g. doPDF) and generating perfectly valid PDF files.

The adventage is that such virtual printer allows you to generate proper PDF files from any application supporting Print option...

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