Sample app which demonstrates how to create tappable links in a UITextView.
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Add hyperlink-like behaviour to substrings in a UITextView.

What This Is

A simple implementation of hyperlinks in a UITextView using methods found in the UITextInput protocol. A UITextView subclass provides a callback whenever a touch is detected within its bounds.

What This Isn't

A library. Grok the code, pick out the parts that are relevant to you, rock on.

The Juicy Bits

The "magic" happens in rectForSubstring:startingFromPosition:inTextView: in GIKViewController.m.

firstRectForRange: is a method on the UITextInput protocol which UITextView adopts. The documentation states that this rect might be used to draw a correction rectangle. In our case, we'll use it to determine if a touch was detected within the bounds of the rect which encompasses our substring.

One caveat about firstRectForRange: - in the case where a substring spans multiple lines, the rect that is returned encloses only text on the first line. You can see examples of this in the demo app.

firstRectForRange: takes a UITextRange argument which is defined by two UITextPosition objects. Why UITextRange and not more familiar primitives such as NSRange? According to the documentation:

some documents contain nested elements (for example, HTML tags and embedded objects) and you need to track both absolute position and position in the visible text


the WebKit framework, which the [iOS] text system is based on, requires that text indexes and offsets be represented by objects

Once we have the CGRect encompassing our text, we set the next startPosition as the ending UITextPosition of our UITextRange object.


This latest commit replaces basic UIView touch handling in GIKTextView with gesture recognizers. This lets us respond differently to single and double taps, and long presses; the example provided shows the shared UIMenuController with options to copy or open the link's underlying URL.


  • find a way to make the rectangle span multiple lines where necessary.


Gordon Hughes