How to Find Links in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide to Identifying Hyperlinks

how to find links in Excel

Finding links in Excel can be a bit tricky, but it’s manageable once you know the steps. By using Excel’s built-in features, you can easily identify and manage the links in your workbook. This article will walk you through the steps to locate these links and offer some handy tips and FAQs to help you out.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Find Links in Excel

In this section, we’ll guide you through the process of finding links in Excel. This includes identifying cells with external references and managing them efficiently.

Step 1: Open the Workbook

First, open the Excel workbook where you suspect there are links.
Opening your workbook is the initial step. Ensure the file is accessible and not password-protected to proceed smoothly.

Step 2: Go to the Data Tab

Next, navigate to the ‘Data’ tab located on the Ribbon.
The Data tab contains various tools for managing your workbook data, including tools for managing links.

Step 3: Click on Edit Links

Once in the Data tab, click on the ‘Edit Links’ button in the Connections group.
The ‘Edit Links’ option opens a dialog box listing all the external links in your workbook.

Step 4: Review the List of Links

Check the list of links displayed in the Edit Links dialog box.
Here, you can see all the external sources your workbook is linked to. This is useful for identifying and managing any unwanted links.

Step 5: Break or Update Links

Decide whether to break or update the identified links.
You have the option to update links if the source has changed or break them if they’re no longer needed.

After you complete these steps, you will have successfully identified and managed the links in your Excel workbook. This will help ensure your data is current and free from unnecessary external references.

Tips for Finding Links in Excel

  • Regularly check the Edit Links dialog box to manage your links effectively.
  • Use the ‘Find’ function (Ctrl + F) to search for cells with external references.
  • Organize your data to minimize unnecessary linking between workbooks.
  • Keep track of your links in a separate worksheet for easier management.
  • Update your links periodically to avoid broken references.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find broken links in Excel?

Use the ‘Edit Links’ dialog box found under the Data tab to check for links, then attempt to update them. If they fail to update, they’re likely broken.

Can I manually search for links?

Yes, use the ‘Find’ function (Ctrl + F) and search for “[“ to locate cells with external references.

How can I prevent broken links?

Regularly update your links and keep your source files in consistent locations.

What if the Edit Links button is greyed out?

This means your workbook does not contain any links, or the file is in a read-only mode.

Can I automate the process of finding links?

Yes, you can use VBA scripts to automate the finding and managing of links in Excel.


  1. Open the Workbook
  2. Go to the Data Tab
  3. Click on Edit Links
  4. Review the List of Links
  5. Break or Update Links


Finding links in Excel may seem daunting at first, but once you know where to look, it becomes quite manageable. By following the steps outlined above, you can efficiently locate and manage external references in your workbook. Regularly reviewing and updating these links ensures your data remains accurate and up-to-date.

For further reading, consider exploring Excel’s extensive help resources or online forums where you can find additional tips and tricks. Remember, keeping your links organized not only saves you time but also prevents potential headaches down the road. So, take a proactive approach to manage your Excel links, and you’ll find the task much easier over time.

Get Our Free Newsletter

How-to guides and tech deals

You may opt out at any time.
Read our Privacy Policy