How to Break Links in Excel Before Opening File (With Easy Steps)

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Microsoft Excel is a powerful software. We can perform numerous operations on our datasets using Excel tools and features. There are many default Excel functions that we can use to create formulas. Many educational institutions and business companies use Excel files to store valuable data. Sometimes, we input data from different sources by linking multiple Excel worksheets or even workbooks. However, change in the source files will make changes in the worksheet we’re working on. So, we may need to break links at times. This article will show you the step-by-step procedures to Break Links in Excel Before Opening File.

How to Break Links in Excel Before Opening File: With Easy Steps

We can break links in excel in two ways. They are: before opening the file and after opening the file. Before opening, we only have an option to break all the links present in the file. To illustrate, we’ll use a sample dataset. For instance, the following dataset contains Salesman, Product, and Net Sales. Here, we take the Net Sales amounts from a different workbook. The source file name is Sample and the Sheet1 is the source sheet. The below figure will help you to understand better. Now, go through the steps to Break Links in Excel Before Opening File.

break links in excel before opening file

STEP 1: Rename Excel File

In our first step, we’ll change our file type to Zip file format. We can do this either by changing the file name or by simply opening the Excel file with an application that deals with zip files.

  • In this example, we have a file named Break Links.xlsx. Now, we’ll change the file extension from .xlsx to .zip.

.xlsx formatted file type

  • Before changing file extensions directly, you must uncheck the Hide extensions for known file types option from the File Explorer Options dialog.

Hiding extensions for known file types

  • For this purpose, rename the Excel file as Break

Rename Excel File

Read More: How to Break Links in Excel When Source Is Not Found

STEP 2: Break Links Before Opening File

Here, we’ll show how to break links by opening the file in zip file format. So, learn the following process carefully.

  • Firstly, open the zip file.
  • Then, double-click on the xl folder to open it.

Break Links Before Opening File

  • After that, select the externalLinks folder.
  • Subsequently, press Delete.

delete external links folder

  • Now, close the zip file.
  • Next, rename the Excel file and open it.
  • As a result, you’ll get a warning dialog box.
  • There, press Yes.

  • Again, it’ll return another dialog box.
  • Press Close.

Final Output

At last, the Excel file is free from any external links. There won’t be links or formulas anymore. Look at the following dataset where the Net Sales amounts are now only values. In this way, you can break links in Excel before opening the file.

Final Output

Note: This process only allows to remove external and internal linking. Removal of hyperlinks can not be done by following this approach.

Read More: How to Break Links in Excel and Keep Values

How to Break Links in Excel after Opening File

However, we have a more simple process to break links after opening the file. In such a process, we have the authority to choose all the links or only the desired ones. Therefore, follow the steps below to perform the task. We’ll use the same dataset as we demonstrated before.


  • First of all, go to Data ➤ Edit Links.

Break Links in Excel after Opening File

  • Consequently, the Edit Links dialog box will pop out.
  • Select your desired links or all the links.
  • Press Break Link.

  • As a result, it’ll return a warning dialog box.
  • There, press Break Links.

  • Thus, you’ll get your worksheet without any external links.
  • See the following picture where our outcome is demonstrated.

Read More: [Fixed!] Break Links Not Working in Excel

Download Practice Workbook

Download the following workbook to practice by yourself.


Henceforth, you will be able to Break Links in Excel Before Opening File following the above-described procedures. Keep using them and let us know if you have more ways to do the task. Don’t forget to drop comments, suggestions, or queries if you have any in the comment section below.

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Aung Shine
Aung Shine

My name is Aung. I have my B.Sc. degree in EEE. From now on, I will be working with Microsoft Excel and other useful software, and I’ll upload articles related to them. My current goal is to write technical contents for anybody and everybody that will make the learning process of new software and features a happy journey.

  1. The method using the zip is no good if you just want no doc links but still need other macros.

    • Hello Nathan, Thanks for your observation. I got your shortcoming. This article focuses on removing links of local storage before opening Excel Spreadsheet files.
      However, probably you are likely to remove hyperlinks such as doc links, youtube links, any website links. To remove hyperlinks, you can follow the article: Remove Hyperlinks from Excel Worksheets
      I hope now you will be able to fix the issue. For any further shortcomings please let me know. We, team ExcelDemy are ready to assist you.
      Thanks a ton. Have a good day.

      MD Tanvir Rahman
      Excel and VBA Content Developer
      ExcelDemy, Softeko

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