Dealing with Hyperlinks that Won't Work

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 5, 2021)

Charles has a worksheet that includes hyperlinks to various web pages. Some of the links open the web page just fine, a couple others give a message "unable to open web page." On the links that don't work, Charles can copy the hyperlink from Excel directly into a browser and the page opens, so he knows the link is functional. This makes him wonder why some links work fine in Excel and others don't.

The first suspect is the actual hyperlink in Excel. You see, there are two parts to each hyperlink—the text displayed in the worksheet and the actual hyperlink itself. It is the hyperlink that Excel tries to open when you click on the text displayed in the worksheet. And, it is entirely possible that the text displayed, which may be a correctly formed URL, has an underlying hyperlink that is incorrect or not correctly formed. This would be why you could copy the hyperlink from the worksheet (what you are copying is actually the displayed text) and have it open correctly when you paste it into a browser.

To check this out, follow these steps:

  1. Right click on a non-functioning hyperlink in your worksheet. (One of the links that gives you the "unable to open web page" message.) Excel displays a Context menu.
  2. Choose Edit Hyperlink. Excel displays the Edit Hyperlink dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Edit Hyperlink dialog box.

  4. Make sure that the URL in the Address box is correct, changing it as necessary.
  5. Click on OK.

When you do this, make sure that the URL in the Address box includes the correct protocol designation, either http or https, as appropriate for the target website. Remember that it is what is shown in the Address box that is important, not what is in the Text to Display box.

If your hyperlink is to folders, workbooks, or worksheets (not external websites), then you may want to check out this ExcelTip for some helpful information:

https://tips.net/T013403

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (13868) 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Setting a Default File Format

Excel normally saves workbooks using a default file format that is peculiar to your version of the program. You can ...

Discover More

Updating an Entire TOC from a Macro

The TOC (Table of Contents) is generated by a field. This field may be updated in a macro using a single command line.

Discover More

Trouble Recording Paste Special Formula

Sometimes, when you upgrade to a new version of Excel, you could run into a problem recording macros that you had no ...

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)

Extracting URLs from Hyperlinked Images

When copying information from the Internet to an Excel workbook, you may want to get rid of graphics but keep any ...

Discover More

Special Characters In Hyperlinks

Do you use special characters (such as the pound sign) in your worksheet names? If so, you could run into problems ...

Discover More

Opening Sites in a Browser

You can store all sorts of information in a worksheet, including Web addresses. If you want to open those addresses in a ...

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 four less than 5?

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.