Edit Links in Excel is not Working – 3 Solutions

In the sample dataset, data was entered using external links in formulas, but errors are displayed.

Dataset-Edit Links in Excel not Working



Solution 1 – Using the Edit Links Feature to Find and Edit Links that are Not Working 

Step 1:

Go to the Data tab > Select Edit Links (in Queries & Connections).

Edit links-Edit Links in Excel not Working

Step 2:

In the Edit Links window, click Check Status.

Check status

Step 3:

The link status is displayed as Source not found.

  • Click Change Source.

Change source

Step 4:

It reassigns the source path: Excel opens the Computer Directory to choose the .

  • Select the source file for each link and click OK.

Device directory

OK is displayed as status in the Edit Links dialog box .

Check status

Step 5:

After repetitions

  • Go back to the worksheet: all broken links work.

If you place the cursor on any of the links, you’ll see the link path:

Fixed links-Edit Links in Excel not Working

Method 2 – Using the Find and Replace Feature 

Step 1:

  • Go to the Home tab > Click Find & Select > Select Replace.

find and replace-Edit Links in Excel not Working

Step 2:

  • In the Find and Replace dialog box, enter .xl in Find What.
  • Click Find All.

.xl files

All the xlsx files used as links display a #REF error. There are Underscores (_) in the names of the worksheets: New_York, Los_Angeles, which is not possible.


Check file name

  • Cross-check the formula used for the links and you’ll see the Underscore: the formula returns errors.

Formula insertion

Step 3:

  • Follow Step 1 to use the Find and Replace feature. In the Find and Replace dialog box, enter Underscore (_) in Find What >> Keep Replace With  Blank >> Click Find All.

find and replace

Step 4:

  • Click Replace All.


Step 5:

Excel opens the device directory.

  • Choose the updated source file.
  • Click OK.

Selecting source files

Step 6:

  • In the confirmation window, click OK.


Links are working.

Final result

Read More: 7 Solutions for Greyed Out Edit Links or Change Source Option in Excel

Method 3 – Ensuring an External Cause is Not causing the Problem

Step 1:

  • Go to the File tab.

External reasons-Edit Links in Excel not Working

Step 2:

  • Select Options.

Selecting Options

Step 3:

  • In the Excel Options dialog box, select Advanced > Click Web Options (in General).

Selecting Advanced

Step 4:

  • In the Web Options dialog box, click Files >> Uncheck Update links on save >> Click OK.

Unselecting Files


Issues with Updating Links Values Automatically

  • Go to the File tab > Options. In the Excel Options dialog box, select Trust Center > Click Trust Center Settings (in Microsoft Excel Trust Center).

auto update-Edit Links in Excel not Working

  • In the Trust Center dialog box, select External Content > Check Prompt user on automatic update for Workbook links (in Security settings for Workbooks Links).
  • Click OK.


  • In the Excel Options dialog box, click OK.

Click on OK

 The Edit Links Command is Grayed-Out 


Edit links issue-Edit Links in Excel not Working

To enable Edit Links:

  • Make sure the inserted links are in the formula. Enter an Equal Sign (=) in front of the links to enable Edit Links in the Data tab.
  • Check the referred file name and its extension (ixlsx, xlsm).
  • Ensure the workbook is not in Compatibility Mode.

Download Excel Workbook

<< Go Back To Edit Links in Excel | Linking in Excel | Learn Excel

Get FREE Advanced Excel Exercises with Solutions!
Maruf Islam
Maruf Islam

MARUF ISLAM is an excellent marine engineer who loves working with Excel and diving into VBA programming. For him, programming is like a superhero tool that saves time when dealing with data, files, and the internet. His skills go beyond the basics, including ABACUS, AutoCAD, Rhinoceros, Maxsurf, and Hydromax. He got his B.Sc in Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering from BUET, and now he's switched gears, working as a content developer. In this role, he creates techy content... Read Full Bio

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Advanced Excel Exercises with Solutions PDF