Dealing with Hyperlinks that Won't Work

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated June 5, 2021)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


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. ...

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