Functions that Can Access Closed Workbooks

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated March 9, 2019)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


2

Steve notes that some Excel functions can access data in closed workbooks, and some cannot. Every several months Steve needs to pull data from closed workbooks, and as a result he spends considerable time and effort performing trial and error testing until he comes up with a method that works. Since he doesn't do this very often, Steve is continually rediscovering the same limitations of some functions regarding referencing data in closed workbooks. He wonders if there is a definitive list of those functions that will (or won't) allow the referencing of data in closed workbooks.

As far as I can tell, Steve, there is no such definitive list. That is, perhaps, because there are so many different functions that one can use in Excel—well over 300 of them in the latest versions of the program. (And, unfortunately, Microsoft hasn't made any such list available that I can locate.)

That being said, testing has shown that the following functions cannot be used in the way you describe—they won't retrieve information from a closed workbook.

AVERAGEIF, AVERAGEIFS, CELL, COUNTBLANK, COUNTIF,
COUNTIFS, DAVERAGE, DCOUNT, DCOUNTA, DGET, DMAX,
DMIN, DSUM, GETPIVOTDATA, INDIRECT, OFFSET, SUMIF,
SUMIFS

This list is not exhaustive, as not all of Excel's functions have been tested. (The above list was generated after testing about half of Excel's functions.) The flip side of the above list is that the following functions have been tested and will work just fine in external references to closed workbooks:

ABS, ADDRESS, AND, AREAS, ASC, AVERAGE, AVERAGEA,
CEILING, CHAR, CHOOSE, CLEAN, CODE, COLUMN, COLUMNS,
COMBIN, CONCATENATE, COUNT, COUNTA, DATE, DATEVALUE,
DAY, DAYS360, DB, DDB, DOLLAR, EDATE, EOMONTH,
ERROR.TYPE, EVEN, EXACT, EXP, FACT, FALSE, FIND,
FIXED, FLOOR, FV, HLOOKUP, HOUR, HYPERLINK, IF,
INDEX, INFO, INT, INTRATE, IRR, ISBLANK, ISERR,
ISERROR, ISEVEN, ISLOGICAL, ISNA, ISNONTEXT,
ISNUMBER, ISODD, ISREF, ISTEXT, LARGE, LEFT, LEN,
LN, LOG, LOG10, LOOKUP, LOWER, MATCH, MAX, MAXA,
MEDIAN, MID, MIN, MINA, MINUTE, MOD, MONTH, MROUND,
N, NA, NETWORKDAYS, NOT, NOW, NPER, NPV, ODD, OR,
PERCENTILE, PERCENTRANK, PERMUT, PI, PMT, POWER,
PRODUCT, PROPER, PV, QUOTIENT, RADIANS, RAND,
RANDBETWEEN, RANK, RATE, REPLACE, REPT, RIGHT,
ROMAN, ROUND, ROUNDDOWN, ROUNDUP, ROW, ROWS, SEARCH,
SECOND, SIGN, SLN, SMALL, SQRT, SUBSTITUTE, SUBTOTAL,
SUM, SUMPRODUCT, SYD, T, TEXT, TIME, TIMEVALUE,
TODAY, TRANSPOSE, TRIM, TRUE, TRUNC, TYPE, UPPER,
VALUE, VLOOKUP, WEEKDAY, WEEKNUM, WORKDAY, YEAR,
YEARFRAC

Again, these lists are not exhaustive, even though they probably represent the most often used functions in Excel. You could use these lists as a starting point for developing your own lists, adding to them as you determine which ones you need to use in your workbooks.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6035) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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What is 8 + 8?

2019-03-11 06:04:46

Lionel Achard

You can solve this probliem by creating a shadow worksheet coping data from the closed workbook.
In this workbook, you put in cell A1 the formula "=c:\path\[myclosedwork.xslx]worksheet!A1", and you expand the formula to all the required cell.
You can then make your formula refer to the local hided worksheet rather than to the closed workbook, and everything will work fine.

Best Regards

Lionel ACHARD


2019-03-09 21:52:16

Ron S

Hey Allen:
Yes the function count is "over 300". It's been over that number for MANY years. According to this video:
NAME GAME- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdReNKlq1oE – History of Excel. Interesting insights

there are 478 functions in Excel 2019. There are a few more than that in Excel 365 since they slowly keep adding more features and functions to justify the massive price increase for 365.


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