Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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: Changing Link References.

Changing Link References

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 28, 2015)

An ExcelTips reader wrote about a problem their company was having with links in their workbooks. It seems that their links were showing up as UNC paths to files instead of as mapped drive letters. This initially posed no problem, but when the files were moved to a new network server in preparation for changing the network configuration, the UNC paths no longer worked.

Fortunately, Excel has a very powerful search and replace feature. It is so powerful, it even works on OLE links in your worksheet. For instance, let's say your links in some cells looked like this:

='\\proserver\Excel\mystuff\[WordTips.xlsx]Sheet1!B25

If the server name is changing or the data is being moved to a different server, this can present a problem. And, unfortunately, the Edit Links tool (On the Data tab of the ribbon) is a real pain at times. You can quickly change all UNC references in the worksheet by searching for the UNC path (in this case, "\\proserver\Excel\mystuff\") and replacing it with your desired mapped drive letter (for instance, "q:\"). The result is links that all of a sudden point to the proper location.

There is one "gottcha" to be aware of. The UNC path is very specific, and will work regardless of what computer is connected to a network. However, it is possible for different computers to have different drive letters mapped for the same network destination. For instance, one workstation might have \\proserver\Excel\ mapped to drive S:, and another workstation may have it mapped to T:. If you change all the links to S:, then the workstations that don't use drive S: for mapping to that location will not be able to access the file.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10519) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Changing Link References.

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

Mixing Column Formats On a Page

Want to switch the number of columns used for your text, in the middle of a page? You can do this very easily by ...

Discover More

Specifying Colors in a Chart

Microsoft Chart is a handy program that allows you to display numbers and charts without the need for Excel. If you need ...

Discover More

Finding Positions of Formatted Characters in a Cell

With a little bit of work, Excel allows you to format individual characters of the text you place in a cell. If you want ...

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Updating Links in Copied Files

When you copy workbooks that contain links, you may be at a loss as to how to update those links. There are a couple of ...

Discover More

Simple Relative References in External Links

Linked data can be essential in pulling information from one workbook to another. One downside of links, however, is that ...

Discover More

Updating Links

When you establish links between data on a target worksheet and data on a source worksheet, those links are typically ...

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}] 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?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


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.