How to Break an External Link in Excel: Step-by-Step Guide

Breaking an external link in Excel is pretty simple! You just need to go to the Data tab, find the Edit Links option, and then break the link. This guide will walk you through the process step-by-step.

How to Break an External Link in Excel

Breaking an external link in Excel can sometimes feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack. But don’t worry, we’ll make it as easy as pie! Here’s how you can break those pesky external links in no time.

Step 1: Open Excel and Select the Workbook

First, open your Excel workbook that contains the external link you want to break.

It’s crucial to ensure the correct workbook is open because breaking a link in a different workbook won’t solve your problem. Once you’re sure you’ve got the right one, it’s time to dive in.

Step 2: Click on the Data Tab

Next, click on the Data tab located on the top menu bar.

The Data tab is like the control center for managing links. You’ll find all the tools you need here to manage, update, or break links.

Step 3: Select Edit Links

Then, find and click the Edit Links button in the Connections group.

The Edit Links button opens a dialog box that lists all the external links in your workbook. This is where you get to see which links are causing trouble.

Step 4: Choose the Link to Break

After that, select the link you want to break from the list.

Make sure you carefully select the right link. If you break the wrong one, you might disrupt the data flow in your workbook.

Step 5: Click Break Link

Finally, click the Break Link button.

A warning message will appear, just to make sure you know what you’re doing. Confirm your choice, and voilà, the link is broken!

Once you break the link, Excel will convert any linked formulas to their current values. This means you’ll keep the data, but the connection to the external source will be gone.

Tips for Breaking an External Link in Excel

Here are some additional tips to help you out:

  • Always make a backup of your workbook before breaking any links. You don’t want to lose any important data.
  • Use the Edit Links dialog box to manage multiple links at once. It’s a real time-saver.
  • Breaking a link will make the data static. Ensure that this is what you want before proceeding.
  • Be cautious with shared workbooks. Breaking links can affect other users.
  • If the Edit Links option is grayed out, it might mean there are no external links in that workbook.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find out if my workbook contains external links?

You can use the Edit Links option in the Data tab to see if your workbook contains any external links.

What happens to the data after breaking an external link?

The data becomes static. Any updates to the original source won’t be reflected in your workbook.

Can I undo breaking a link?

No, breaking a link is a permanent action. Make sure to save a backup before proceeding.

Why is the Edit Links button grayed out?

This usually means there are no external links in the workbook, or it’s a shared workbook with restricted permissions.

Can I break multiple links at once?

Yes, you can select multiple links in the Edit Links dialog box and break them all at once.


  1. Open Excel and select the workbook.
  2. Click on the Data tab.
  3. Select Edit Links.
  4. Choose the link to break.
  5. Click Break Link.


Breaking an external link in Excel is a straightforward process, but it’s vital to handle it with care. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can easily manage and eliminate any unwanted external connections in your workbooks. Always remember to keep a backup, as breaking links is irreversible.

If you frequently work with external links, consider setting up a regular routine to check and manage them. This will save you a lot of headache down the line. For further reading, check out other Excel management tips and tricks to keep your data in top shape. Happy Excel-ing!

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