[Fixed!] Excel Update Links Manually Greyed Out

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In our everyday usage of Excel, it is very common to use multiple ones at a time. It is also very common to link them together and update them on a regular basis. But while doing that, the updating option or the Edit Links option is not available always. This can occur for many reasons. In this article, we will focus on the problem of the manually update links option greyed out in Excel.

Overview of the Problem

The links are where a cell in a spreadsheet is connected to a different spreadsheet, either of the same workbook or a different one. By default, we have to update them manually through the Edit Links option from the Queries & Connections group of the Data tab.

manually update links option in Excel

If you don’t have any links in any of the spreadsheets of the workbook, the option will be grey obviously. But in some cases, even though they are linked with external data sources, the option may still be greyed out.

update links manually option greyed out in Excel

We will focus on what can cause it to be greyed out and how we can make the option available here again to update the links manually in Excel.

If Update Links Manually Is Greyed Out in Excel: 5 Possible Solutions

If the manually update links option is greyed out in your Excel workbook you can try these solutions. Keep in mind, that there can be many causes for this problem. So try each one out to find the one that is working for you. We will be going over five different solutions and workarounds for the problem.

Solution 1: Make Sure Links Are External

The manually update link can be simply unavailable because there are no external links in any of the spreadsheets in the workbook. Take a look at the following dataset.

It is in Sheet1. If we copy it and link it to Sheet 2, the Edit link option will still be grey.

link within the same sheet

This is because the links are within the same workbook. The option will no longer be greyed out if we import the same dataset from a different workbook with a link.

manually update links no longer greyed out excel

So check if you have linked within the same Excel workbook or a different one, before working with the Edit Links option.

Read More: How to Update Hyperlink in Excel Automatically

Solution 2: Check for Appropriate Formula

The Edit Link feature works only on formulas in cells, not to range names or other values. So, if you have range names or just a direct path linked to other workbooks, but you have no formulas in cells that represent those names or directories, then Edit Links will remain greyed out.

Take a look at the following figure.

appropriate formula for linked cells

The formula after saving for cell links from external workbooks should look like this. There should be file directories (which also should be appropriate), workbooks, and sheet names within the formula followed by an equal sign (=). There should be no reference with named ranges.

Read More: [Fix]: Excel Automatic Update of Links Has Been Disabled

Solution 3: Inspect Proper File Extension

If you type out the directory of the formula for links manually and don’t put in the exact file extension, the link won’t be complete. As a result, the manually update links option will be greyed out in your Excel workbook.

Microsoft Excel supports many file formats, the two most used ones are .xlsx and .xlsm. Make sure you have the correct extension in your formula.

correct file extension in linked formula

Read More: [Fixed!] Excel Links Not Updating Unless Source Is Open

Solution 4: Uncheck Permission for Auto-Updating Links

Microsoft Excel has a built-in Ask to update automatic links option that enables you to control when and whether to update a link. Sometimes it can also prevent you from using the manually update links option and make it greyed out in Excel.

To change this option, follow these steps.


  • First of all, select the File tab on your ribbon.
  • Then select Options from the left side of the backstage view.

  • As a result, the Excel Options box will open up. Now select Advanced from the left of the box.
  • Then scroll down on the right to go to the General section.
  • Under it, uncheck the Ask to update automatic links option.
  • Finally, click on OK.

toggling option for update links manually greyed out in excel

This can enable the Edit Links option in some cases in Excel.

Solution 5: Turn Off Compatibility Mode

Another reason that can cause the Edit Links option to grey out is the Excel file is running in compatibility mode. The compatibility mode is very helpful to share a file with users of previous versions. But it can also block out some features. The compatibility mode may make links in a workbook unworkable. And thus causing the manual update links option to grey out in the Excel ribbon.

To turn off the compatibility mode, follow these steps.


  • First, select the File tab on your ribbon.
  • Then select Info from the left of the backstage view.

  • Now click on Check for Issues beside the Inspect Workbook section on the right.
  • After that, select Check Compatibility from the drop-down menu.

  • Then uncheck the Check compatibility when saving this workbook option from the Compatibility Checker box.

turning off compatibility mode

  • Finally, click on OK.

Now save the file and reopen it again. The file should not open in compatibility mode now and may fix the issue of manually updating links greying out in Excel.

Download Practice Workbook

You can download the workbook used for the demonstration from the link below.


These were all the possible fixes for update links manually option greyed out in Excel. Hopefully, one of these solutions has worked out for you. I hope you found this guide helpful and informative. If you have any questions or suggestions, let us know in the comments below.

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Abrar-ur-Rahman Niloy
Abrar-ur-Rahman Niloy

Hi! my name is Abrar-ur-Rahman Niloy. I have completed B.Sc. in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. I have found my calling, if you like, in Data Science and Machine Learning and in pursuing so, I have realized the importance of Data Analysis. And Excel is one excel-lent tool do so. I am always trying to learn everyday, and trying to share here what I am learning.

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