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How to Fix Breaking Links Not Working in Excel – The Ultimate Guide

November 9, 2023 788 views

In our daily work, encountering unresponsive disconnected links in Excel can be frustrating. Users often find themselves at a loss on how to tackle such situations. If you're wondering how to address these issues, you've come to the right place. In this article, we're here to provide you with the answers you need.

Part 1. Causes of Excel Breaking Links not Working in Excel

Navigating the intricate web of Excel can sometimes lead to frustration, especially when you encounter the stubborn issue of breaking links not working. In this section, we'll dive into the underlying reasons behind this challenge. By understanding these causes, you'll be better equipped to tackle the problem head-on and ensure the smooth functioning of your spreadsheets.

Here are some common reasons why Excel breaking links don't work:

  • The source file is moved or deleted. If the file that contains the data that is being linked to is moved or deleted, the link will break.

  • The source file is opened in a different version of Excel. If the source file is opened in a different version of Excel than the workbook that contains the link, the link may not work properly.

  • The source file is protected. If the source file is protected, the link may not be able to update the data.

  • The link is circular. A circular link is a link that refers to itself. Circular links are not allowed in Excel, and if you create one, it will break.

  • The link is invalid. An invalid link is a link that is not pointing to a valid file or range of data. This can happen if the file or range is moved, deleted, or renamed.

  • The link is disabled. A disabled link is a link that has been intentionally disabled. This can be done by unchecking the "Update Automatic Links" checkbox in the Excel Options dialog box.

  • The link is filtered. If the data that is being linked to is filtered, the link may not update the data correctly.

  • The link is hidden. If the cell that contains the link is hidden, the link will not be visible.

  • The link is formatted as text. If the link is formatted as text, Excel will not be able to update the data.

  • The link is using a relative path. A relative path is a path that is not absolute. Relative paths can be confusing, and they can lead to problems with links.

In the next part, we will discuss how to solve these problems and fix broken links in Excel.

Part 2. How to fix Excel Breaking Links Not Working in Excel

When the links in your Excel spreadsheets start acting up, it's time to roll up your sleeves and find solutions. In this section, we'll provide you with a detailed roadmap to rectify the issue of breaking links not working. Follow our step-by-step tutorial, complete with images and practical examples, to navigate through the process of identifying, addressing, and ultimately resolving the link-related hiccups. With our guidance, you'll regain control over your Excel links and restore order to your data-driven tasks.

Here is a tutorial on how to fix Excel-breaking links that are not working:

  • Unprotect each sheet in your problem file.

Step 1. Open the Excel file that contains the broken links.

Step 2. Click on the "Review" tab.

Step 3. In the "Changes" group, click on the "Unprotect Sheet" button.

Step 4. Repeat steps 2-3 for each sheet in the workbook.

  • Break links.

Step 1. Click on the "Data" tab.

Step 2. In the "Connections" group, click on the "Edit Links" button.

Step 3. In the "Source" list, select the link that you want to break.

Step 4. Click on the "Break Link" button.

Step 5. Repeat steps 3-4 for each link that you want to break.

  • Delete all named ranges to external files.

Step 1. Click on the "Formulas" tab.

Step 2. In the "Defined Names" group, click on the "Manage Names" button.

Step 3. In the "Names in workbook" list, select all of the names that refer to external files.

Step 4. Click on the "Delete" button.

  • Check all chart series ranges.

Step 1. Right-click on any chart in the workbook.

Step 2. Select "Select Data" from the menu.

Step 3. In the "Series" dialog box, check the ranges for each series. If any of the ranges refer to external files, delete the range from the external file and paste it into the problem file.

Step 4. Repeat steps 1-3 for each chart in the workbook.

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  • Check Conditional Formats and Data Validation for similar phantom links.

Step 1. Click on the "Home" tab.

Step 2. In the "Conditional Formatting" group, click on the "Manage Rules" button.

Step 3. In the "Conditional Formatting Rules Manager" dialog box, check the formulas for each rule. If any of the formulas refer to external files, delete the formula and recreate it.

Step 4. Repeat steps 1-3 for each conditional formatting rule in the workbook.

Save a copy of the problem file.

Save a copy of the problem file to a different location.

  • Rename the problem file and delete the "externalLinks" folder.

Step 1. Rename the problem file by changing the extension from .xlsx to .zip.

Rename the problem file 

Step 2. Open the ZIP file in a file explorer.

Step 3. Navigate to the folder FILENAME.zip>xl file.

Step 4. Delete the folder named externalLinks.

Step 5. Rename the ZIP file from extension .zip to .xlsx.

  • Open the problem file and check if the links are working.

Step 1. Open the problem file.

Step 2. Check if the links are working. If the links are still not working, try the other solutions in this tutorial.

I hope this tutorial helps you fix your broken links in Excel.

Here are some additional tips:

  • Make sure that you have the latest version of Excel installed.

  • Try restarting your computer.

  • Try opening the problem file in a different Excel version.

  • If you are still having problems, contact Microsoft support for help.

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FAQs

1. How can I identify broken links in my Excel spreadsheet?

To identify broken links in your Excel spreadsheet:

Step 1. Open your Excel file.

Step 2. Go to the "Data" tab.

Step 3. Click "Edit Links."

Step 4. Look for the "Error" or "Source not found" status.

Step 5. Update or remove the broken links.

Step 6. Check affected cells for errors.

Step 7. Save your changes.

This quick process will help you find and fix broken links, ensuring your data stays accurate and functional.

2. How to Find External Links in Excel?

To find external links in Excel:

Step 1. Open your Excel file.

Step 2. Go to the "Formulas" tab.

Step 3. Click "Name Manager."

Step 4. Look for names labeled "External."

Step 5. Select a name to see the link source.

Step 6. Edit or delete as needed.

Step 7. Close the Name Manager.

Following these steps will help you quickly locate and manage external links in your Excel workbook.

Summary

In this guide, we tackled the issue of Excel's uncooperative breaking links, delving into their causes and providing solutions. From understanding the root problems to implementing step-by-step fixes, we've empowered you to regain control over your spreadsheets. Additionally, we highlighted WPS Office as a powerful alternative, underscoring its capabilities and reliability. By combining troubleshooting insights with the potential of WPS Office, we aim to enhance your productivity and Excel experience.


15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.