How to Solve ‘Cannot Open the Specified File’ Error in Excel Hyperlink

Get FREE Advanced Excel Exercises with Solutions!

Sometimes, we are unable to extend the hyperlinks in our Excel file. It shows an error “Cannot open the specified file.” To fix the error, the article will guide you. In this article, we are trying to give in detail directions associated with the error “Cannot open the specified file” in the Excel hyperlink.

What is Hyperlink in Excel?

In Microsoft Excel, hyperlinks generate a shortcut that takes to a different part of the current workbook, or a server, or takes where the file is located. Actually, it assists in viewing information in various locations. This will make our work easier.

‘Cannot Open the Specified File’ Error in Excel Hyperlink: 5 Reasons with Solutions

In Excel, we use hyperlinks to find our documents/information quickly. But once in a while, Excel shows an error  “Cannot open the specified file.”. There are so many reasons why the error appears. So, Let’s demonstrate the reasons and the solutions to that specific error in Excel. To exhibit the reasons and solutions behind this error, we are going to use the dataset below which contains a list of article locations to track them smoothly.

Reason 1: Replace the Hyperlink File Name

Suppose, we have a hyperlinked Excel spreadsheet and we open it after many days but when we click on the hyperlinks it shows an error  “Cannot open the specified file.” It may be altered by the file name. So, if the text of the hyperlink differs from the actual file name, then the hyperlinks will not work.

Solution: Renamed File’s Name

To solve this problem we need to make sure that the file name is updated and the links are pointed to the renamed file. To do this, follow the steps below.


  • First, select the text cell indicating the hyperlink.
  • Second, right-click on the hyperlink address cell.
  • Next, select Edit Hyperlink.

5 Reasons with Solutions of ‘Cannot Open the Specified File’ Error in Excel Hyperlink

  • Now, from the existing file or web page, select the renamed file. We find the file from the drop-down menu under the second Look in section.
  • Or we can replace the present file name with a renamed file in the hyperlink address.
  • Then. Click OK.

Read More: How to Edit Hyperlink in Excel 

Reason 2: A Hash (#) Sign Appears in the File Name

If we want to hyperlink a file in excel, we can not include the pound character/hash sign (#) in the file name. As it cannot be used in hyperlinks in Microsoft Office spreadsheets. If the pound character/hash sign (#) is used to the file name, the error “Cannot open the specified file” may occur.

5 Reasons with Solutions of ‘Cannot Open the Specified File’ Error in Excel Hyperlink

Solution: Remove the Hash (#) Sign from the File Name

To solve the problem, follow the procedures down.


  • Firstly, open the file that contains the hash sign (#). And then, rename the file. Rename the file by going to the location where it is saved, right-clicking on it, and selecting Rename.
  • In the second place, right-click on the cell which contains the hyperlink with the (#) sign.
  • Next, likewise the solution of Reason 1, select Edit Hyperlink.
  • Then, copy the address of the file which connects the renamed file.
  • In the Address box, remove the (#) sign.
  • The renamed file will be put to the Address field without the pound character.
  • Finally, click the OK button.

Read More: How to Fix Broken Hyperlinks in Excel

Reason 3: Excel Closes Suddenly Due to an Unexpected Crash

Computer functions break down if they shut down suddenly. Sometimes it might happen for some reason and the hyperlinks could not connect properly to the Excel file. After opening the computer again the links might not work and show an error “Cannot open the specified file”. It is the most common reason that hyperlinks can not be opened.

Solution: Disable “Update Links on Save” When Hyperlink Cannot Open the Specified File in Excel

To fix this most common reason for hyperlink errors, follow the steps below.


  • In the beginning, open Microsoft Excel. Then, go to the File tab on the ribbon.

  • Next, click on the Options menu.

  • The Excel Options window will appear.
  • Now, go to Advanced and click on the Web Options under General.

  • Now we can view that the Web Options dialog box will open up.
  • After that, go to Files and uncheck the box “Update links on save”.
  • Then, click on the OK button to save the changes.

Solve ‘Cannot Open the Specified File’ Error in Excel Hyperlink

This will solve the sudden shutdown problem.

Read More: [Fix:] Hyperlink to Website Not Working in Excel

Reason 4: Incorrect File Path will show ‘Cannot Open the Specified File’ Hyperlink Error

Sometimes, we shift the file to another location. This changes the file path also. Now if we wish to go to the location by clicking the hyperlink on excel, this won’t open the file. This will give us an error, showing that “Cannot open the specified file.

Solve ‘Cannot Open the Specified File’ Error in Excel Hyperlink

Solution: Fix Specified File Path is Correct

To fix the above problem, we just need to follow the simple procedures below.


  • First, check the hyperlink address. Also, check if the file path is correct or not. Now, select the hyperlink that we need to alternate.
  • Then, similarly, to the earlier problem solutions, right-click and select Edit Hyperlink.
  • Next, from the address box, enter the exact file path and click OK.

Read More: [Fixed!] Excel Hyperlink Keeps Coming Back

Reason 5: If Portable Drive Letter has Changed it Shows ‘Cannot Open the Specified File’

If the hyperlink points to a USB drive, sometimes it may change the portable drive letter If we put in another device (USB drive) on our computer. Or it may replace the disk where the related data is stored.

Solution: Change the Drive Letter Using Disk Management

We can fix the problem by changing the drive letter using disk management. Let’s see the steps below to fix the problem.


  • First, ensure that we logged in as an administrator.
  • Then, go to Windows and search for the Windows Administrative Tools.
  • Now, click on Computer Management.

Solve ‘Cannot Open the Specified File’ Error in Excel Hyperlink

  • After that, the Computer Management window will pop up. From there, go to Disk Management and select the drive.
  • Next, right-click and select the Change Drive Letter and Paths.

Solve ‘Cannot Open the Specified File’ Error in Excel Hyperlink

  • Now, we can see that the Change Drive Letter and Paths window will show up.
  • Click on Change.

Solve ‘Cannot Open the Specified File’ Error in Excel Hyperlink

  • As we will be able to change the drive letter from the drop-down menu bar, change it as preferred.

Solve ‘Cannot Open the Specified File’ Error in Excel Hyperlink

  • Finally, click on the OK button to save the changes.

By following those, hopefully, you can solve the problem.

Download Practice Workbook

You can download the workbook and practice with them.


The above components are the main purpose of the Excel hyperlink that can’t open the supplied file issue. After reading the article you can easily find the solutions to the ‘cannot open the specified file’ error in the Excel hyperlink. Hope this will help you! If you have any questions, suggestions, or feedback please let us know in the comment section.

Related Articles

<< Go Back To Excel Hyperlink Not Working | Hyperlink in Excel | Linking in Excel | Learn Excel

What is ExcelDemy?

ExcelDemy - Learn Excel & Get Excel Solutions Center provides online Excel training , Excel consultancy services , free Excel tutorials, free support , and free Excel Templates for Excel professionals and businesses. Feel free to contact us with your Excel problems.
Sabrina Ayon
Sabrina Ayon

Sabrina Ayon, a Computer Science and Engineering graduate from United International University, has been an integral part of the ExcelDemy project for two years. She authored 150+ articles, excelling in instructing through visually engaging Excel tutorials. With a passion for teaching, Sabrina conducted sessions on Excel VBA, sharing her knowledge and insights with others. Currently holding the position of Project Manager for the ExcelDemy Visual Development Project, she oversees various aspects of the project, ensuring its smooth operation... Read Full Bio

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Advanced Excel Exercises with Solutions PDF