Generating Automatic Links to Audio Files

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 18, 2020)

Clive is a birdwatcher and has over 300 MP3 files of bird sounds. He wants to create an Excel worksheet with a single column in which is listed the actual names of the MP3 files, e.g "cormorant.mp3". He wants to create a hyperlink from each of these 300 or so cells to the physical MP3 file, such that the player will open and play the bird sound. He knows that he can individually insert the hyperlink, but that would obviously be quite tedious. So, he wonders if there is a way to automatically create such a link based on the MP3 file names in the worksheet.

This question actually has two parts: Getting the file names into an Excel worksheet and then creating a link to the MP3 file so the birdsong can be played.

Start by making sure that all the MP3 files are in the same folder on your hard drive. How you can grab a listing of files has been covered in other issues of ExcelTips; you may want to review the ideas of how to do this, found at this ExcelTips page:

http://excelribbon.tips.net/T011144

Once the names are in the worksheet (let's assume they are in column A), you can easily use the HYPERLINK worksheet function to put together the actual link. For example, you could place the following in cell B1:

=HYPERLINK("C:\Documents\Birdsongs\" & A1)

This assumes that the folder in which the songs are located is C:\Documents\Birdsongs\. If the path is actually different, just make the change in the HYPERLINK function.

Once the correct formula is in cell B1, you can then copy it down for however many cells you require to get all the correct hyperlinks.

Of course, you can specify the "display text" to be utilized by the HYPERLINK function. If your birdsong files start with the bird's name and end with .mp3, you could add the display text to the HYPERLINK function in this manner:

=HYPERLINK("C:\Documents\Birdsongs\" & A1, LEFT(A1, LEN(A1) - 4)

This usage simply strips off the last four characters (the period and "mp3") from the file name and then uses that as the display text.

If you want to use a macro approach to actually create hyperlinks (without using the HYPERLINK function), then a good place to start is with the filename-grabbing macro from the tip referred to earlier in this tip. It can be modified to put not only the filenames into the worksheet, but also to create the requisite hyperlinks:

Sub MakeHyperlinks()
    Dim sPath As String
    Dim sFile As String
    Dim iRow As Integer

    'specify directory to use - must end in "\"
    sPath = "C:\Documents\Birdsongs\"

    iRow = 0
    sFile = Dir(sPath)
    While sFile <> ""
        iRow = iRow + 1
        Sheet1.Cells(iRow,1) = sFile
        sBird = Left(sFile, Len(sFile)-4)
        ActiveSheet.Hyperlinks.Add Anchor:=Sheet1.Cells(iRow,1), _
          Address:=sPath & sFile, TextToDisplay:=sBird
        sFile = Dir     ' Get next filename
    Wend
End Sub

If you decide to go the macro route, make sure there is nothing in the current worksheet. The macro runs very quickly and wipes out anything that is in the cells to which it writes. When it is done, you end up with the filename in column A and a hyperlink to the MP3 file in column B.

When you click on a hyperlink in the worksheet, Excel launches your Web browser and loads the MP3 file. The browser then plays the file.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (13127) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Making Ignore All Work for a Document on All Systems

When you tell Word's spell checker to ignore all instances of a misspelling, you may expect that the misspelling will be ...

Discover More

Creating New Windows

If you need to look at different parts of the same worksheet at the same time, the answer is to create windows for your ...

Discover More

Printing Summary Information

Word automatically maintains a number of properties for each document you create. As part of those properties you can ...

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)

References to Hyperlinks aren't Hyperlinks

Make a reference to a hyperlink in a formula, and you may be surprised that the reference doesn't return an active ...

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

Unwanted Hyperlinks

Tired of having Excel convert what you type into active hyperlinks? Here are things you can do to undo Excel's ...

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 + 0?

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.