May 26 2010

Find (and Delete) External Links

I’ve talked with many people that express frustration about having external links in their spreadsheet, but not being able to find them. If this has affected you, you’ve most likely noticed the warning Excel provides asking if you want to update external links when opening your spreadsheet. There are a few ways to locate these links and remove them if desired.


See what Jacob at VBAX has to say about this advanced topic.


Using the Find Feature
A quick way to cycle through your external links (depending on the number you have) is to use the find feature built into Excel.  We will be searching for “[“, left bracket, which can help identity those external workbook references.

  • Hit Ctrl+F (or Edit–>Find on your toolbar) on your keyboard to open your find wizard
  • Click the “Options” button to open additional criteria
  • Select: within “Workbook”
  • Select: look in “Formulas”
  • Finally, enter a left bracket “[” in the Find What field (without double quotes)

That’s it.  Excel will now go through and show you all the instances where the left bracket has been used in your spreadsheet, which should identify external references to other spreadsheets.

Delete Links Add-In
Microsoft has also provided an add-in to help you identify and delete links.  To view Microsoft’s solution to this problem, visit  There is an additional Read-me file to help you use the add-in after you extract from the exe file.


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1 Comments on this post


  1. Underfloor heating mats said:

    I have an Excel doc. That has a good deal of external hyperlinks. Now I am receiving a message that a few of the inbound links cannot be updated. I can see that the trouble hyperlinks are to bogus paperwork.

    October 2nd, 2010 at 8:10 am

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