Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. 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: Finding Wayward Links.

Finding Wayward Links

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 15, 2022)

1

Many people are faced with the task of updating workbooks inherited from other people in their offices. In fact, you may be faced with such a challenge. For instance, let's say you inherit two workbooks which contain links to each other. You want to combine the two of them into a single workbook. When you try to do so, the links between the two are broken automatically by Excel.

There are several ways around this problem. The "manual" method is to use the Formula Auditing tools (see the group of the same name on the Formulas tab of the ribbon) to find the links in your original worksheets. You can then make note of the cells and make the changes after you move the worksheets to their final workbook.

Another method that may be more automatic is to insert blank worksheets in the target workbook and then copy the contents of the source worksheets and paste them in the new worksheets. In other words, don't right-click on the worksheet tab and use the Move or Copy option. Instead, use the tried-and-true Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V method of cut and paste. The result is that everything from the source worksheets is copied, without any alterations by Excel.

At this point you have two ways to proceed. You can use Ctrl+F to search for all instances of the exclamation mark. This should find all cells that contain links (since exclamation marks are used in links such as BookABC!SheetXYZ!A47). You can then edit the contents of the cell directly to remove the link. You can also use Ctrl+H to find the base part of each link and replace it with something else. For instance, you could find all instances of BookABC!SheetXYZ! in the previous example and replace it with either nothing or with a different worksheet name.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9782) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Finding Wayward Links.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Turning Off Display of the Office Clipboard

When I am editing a document, I find it distracting for Word to display the Clipboard task pane at the left of the ...

Discover More

Word Freezes When Working with Lots of Clip Art

Don't you hate it when Word freezes? Laurie has that problem when she works with clip art in her documents. There are any ...

Discover More

Allowing Passive Voice in Writing

When you have Word do grammar checking on your document, it typically marks everything it considers wrong with the way ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Inserting Hyperlinks

Connect your worksheets with other workbooks or with the world of the Internet. The ability to add hyperlinks makes this ...

Discover More

Tying a Hyperlink to a Specific Cell

Make a hyperlink to a cell in your workbook, edit the structure of that workbook a bit, and you may find that the ...

Discover More

Removing Hyperlinks without a Macro, Take Two

Need to get rid of hyperlinks in a worksheet? Here's an easy way to do it without using a macro.

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 8 + 2?

2022-01-15 11:28:05

J. Woolley

Assuming BookABC is like BookABC.xlsx, I believe the correct format for an external link is [BookABC]SheetXYZ!A47, not BookABC!SheetXYZ!A47. In other words, brackets surround the workbook name; don't use an exclamation point to separate book and sheet.
My Excel Toolbox includes this dynamic array function to list external links:
=ListExLinks([SkipReference],[SkipHeader])
The result is similar to the Data > Queries & Connections > Edit Links dialog minus its Update column, but ListExLinks optionally adds a Reference column to identify cells that contain a formula referencing the link.
In older versions of Excel you can use it with the SpillArray function like this:
=SpillArray(ListExLinks([SkipReference],[SkipHeader]))
See https://sites.google.com/view/MyExcelToolbox/


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.