Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Don't Update Links to Other Programs.

Don't Update Links to Other Programs

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 31, 2015)


You know that Excel allows you to create links to data in other workbooks. Excel also allows you to link to non-Excel data from other programs as well. For instance, you could link to pictures or to Word data or to data in any number of other programs. The linking is done via OLE and DDE, as is discussed in other issues of ExcelTips.

Normally, data from other programs is updated whenever you open a workbook, and thereafter whenever the source data changes. If you want to tell Excel to not update linked data from other programs, follow these steps:

  1. Display the Excel Options dialog box. (In Excel 2007 click the Office button and then click Excel Options. In Excel 2010 and later versions, display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. At the left side of the dialog box click Advanced.
  3. Scroll through the available options until you see the When Calculating This Workbook section. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The advanced options of the Excel Options dialog box.

  5. Clear the Update Links to Other Documents check box.
  6. Click OK.

Changing this setting is only effective for the current session in Excel. The next time you open the workbook, Excel reverts to updating links automatically. If you want to turn off specific links so that they are not continually updated, display the Data tab of the ribbon, click the Edit Links tool, locate the link, and change its update method to Manual.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6284) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Don't Update Links to Other Programs.

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 five less than 8?

2017-06-27 11:30:14

Ryan Hendra

I have the same problem as Janita.
I have a few workbooks in shared OneDrive (SharePoint) Libraries with links to other files in SharePoint libraries.
Every time I open the source and destination files at the same time, Excel changes the links to reference my local OneDrive folder.
Once the file is saved, the external links are broken for every other user.
I do want Excel to update the VALUES referenced by the links, but I don't want the links themselves to be changed.
Any advice appreciated.

2017-03-07 16:24:21

Janita Taylor

How can I prevent cells with links to other files, word, excel, pdf files from automatically updating when my excel file is downloaded to C: drive from SharePoint library. My file is a master file that will be used by many different people downloading their own copy. The links are to sample and template files in SharePoint or on other websites. When the file is downloaded for use all the links are updated to the C: drive location where file has been downloaded to. This effectively makes the links in the file useless. I have tried clearing the Update Links to Other Documents check box, but as you state in your tip this is defaulted to on with each new instance of Excel. I tried to use changing update methods for each link to manual but Edit Links is disabled even with the file containing many links. I am using Excel 2013.

Please help with how I can prevent my links from updating when the file has a copy downloaded.

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