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Break Links in Excel – Table of Contents
Break External Links in Excel
We all know Excel is full of formulas to work with. Sometimes we arrive the data by using formulas and we convert the formula to values. In some other cases, we want the values to be up to date and we retain formulas as it is.
Excel formulas are applied in three ways, one is within the same worksheet, the second one is within the same workbook but from a different worksheet, and the third one is from different workbook as well.
If the formula or link is from the same worksheet we can easily see only the cell reference like the below image.
If the formula or link is from the same workbook but from different worksheet we can see the cell reference as well as the worksheet name like the below image.
The word Data is the worksheet name and B3 is the cell we are referring in that worksheet.
Now if the formula or link is from the different workbook then we can see the workbook name, Worksheet name, and the cell reference, like the below image.
‘[External Sheet.xlsx] this is the workbook name.
Sheet1′! This is the worksheet name in the workbook.
$A$3 this is the cell reference in the worksheet.
When the formula or cell is linked to different workbook we could see two kinds of reference. One is as I have shown in the above example i.e. if the referenced workbook is opened.
Another one is if the referenced workbook is closed. Now, look at the below image.
Looks like a ghost isn’t it???
But nothing to worry I will simplify this for you. I will explain this in detail, now take a close look at the below link.
I have segregated this into two parts. Before I explain you Part 1, let me clarify Part 2 first.
Part 2 we have already seen when the workbook is opened and we don’t have any doubt about that.
Part 1 is just the path of the file location on the computer.
=’D:\Break Links in Excel\
D: Is the drive on your computer.
Break Links in Excel\ is the folder name.
So, this is the basic introduction to Excel external link or references.
#1 – Find External Links in the Worksheet
Method #1 – Manual Method
If you are wondering how to find external links in the Excel sheet, then it is the easiest job but it is gone unnoticed, unfortunately.
When you are opening the file or workbook, before it allows you to work in the workbook, it will show the below dialogue box if there is an external reference in Excel.
It is showing you the prompt saying “This workbook contains links to one or more external sources that could be unsafe”.
If you really want to update the recent values from that workbook, then you can click on Update or else you can click on Don’t Update.
Method #2 – Find and Replace Method
We can also find the Excel external link by find and replace method as well. Press the shortcut key Ctrl + F.
Now type the word *.xl
*.xl shows the extension of the workbook it has saved. All the workbooks contain this word if the link is from an external workbook.
Click on FIND ALL, it will show you all the available external links in the Excel workbook.
It will show all the external links here.
#2 – How to Break External Links in Excel?
Having these ghost links from external sources is the dangerous thing to have, because if the workbook or worksheet is deleted without knowing that it is actually supplying values to another workbook then you are gone because it will no more show you the results.
Rather it will show you below error values in the linked cell.
So in order to avoid these dangerous moves, we need to break these Excel External links. We can break the link in excel by using a couple of simple methods.
One of the simple methods is Copy and Paste as values.
Now paste as values.
You can see here that this value does not contain any links. It shows only value.
The second method is a little different. Go to the DATA tab and click on Edit Links.
Now we will see below dialogue box.
Here we can see all the available external links. We can update the values, open source file and many other things. Apart from all these, we can also break these links.
Click on break link in excel.
As soon as you click on Break Link we will see below dialogue box.
Once you break the External link in excel we will not be able to recover the formulas. So we cannot undo the action once you break the link. This is unlike our Pate Special method.
If you want to break all the links in Excel at once then you need to select all the links and click on Break Links.
Things to Remember About Break External Links in Excel
- Having links to external sources in Excel is a dangerous thing to have.
- Once you break the link in Excel you cannot undo the action.
- Using *.xl will cover all kinds of file extensions.
This has been a guide to Break Links in Excel. Here we discuss how to Break External Links in Excel using copy paste as value & edit links option along with practical examples. You may learn more about excel from the following articles –