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Excel Hyperlink Not Working? Here's What to Do

Eleanor Reed
Eleanor Reed Originally published May 10, 24, updated May 10, 24

“Hyperlinks not opening specific files or folders…I even moved the spreadsheet to the same folder that I'm trying to link to, and while I can link to files in that same folder, such as another Word doc or spreadsheet, I can't link to folders or files contained in those folders…”

When using Excel or Word, you can add hyperlinks to link to files on your computer, within the same document, or to websites. However, if hyperlinks stop working, you might see errors, especially if the linked file has been deleted, moved, or is damaged, which also messes up any formulas that rely on it.

If you're experiencing the "Excel hyperlink not working" error, this post can assist you in resolving the issue by addressing everything related to it.

In this article
    1. Repair Damaged Excel Files to Fix Hyperlink Errors
    2. Use the Find and Replace Excel Feature
    3. Disable Update links on Save
    4. Recreate/Edit the Hyperlinks

Why Are Hyperlinks Not Working in Excel?

Excel hyperlinks are convenient for connecting to other workbooks, websites, or resources, facilitating tasks like bookmarking and change tracking. However, when they fail to function, they can impede your workflow.

Here are some potential reasons for Excel hyperlink malfunction:

  • Incompatible Version: The Excel version might not support the hyperlink format used in the document, causing malfunction.
  • Incorrect Hyperlink: The hyperlink URL or address might be entered incorrectly, leading to malfunction when clicked.
  • Change in Location: If the file containing the hyperlink is moved or renamed, the hyperlink may become invalid.
  • Non-existent link: The linked webpage or file might no longer exist or have been removed, resulting in malfunction.
  • Browser Issues: Problems with the default web browser settings or compatibility issues can cause hyperlink malfunction.
  • No Internet Connection: Lack of internet access prevents Excel from reaching the linked webpage, resulting in malfunction.
  • Workbook Closure: If the Excel workbook containing the hyperlink is closed, clicking on the hyperlink will not function until the workbook is reopened.

4 Quick Fixes for the “Excel Hyperlink Not Working” Issue

Are you unable to open the specified file due to Excel hyperlink errors? Follow these 4 solutions to fix the issue of Excel hyperlinks not working.

#1 Repair Damaged Excel Files to Fix Hyperlink Errors

Your Excel hyperlinks may not be working due to corrupted files. Corrupted Excel files can cause various issues, such as being unable to open them or access certain information, leading to system glitches and failures.

File corruption can result from various factors. These include incorrect downloads, interrupted transfers, computer virus infections, or system or hard disk failures. Whatever the cause, Wondershare Repairit can assist you.

With Wondershare Repairit, your data repair solution is secure and efficient on Windows and Mac systems. It effortlessly restores files in various formats, including Excel files, photos, videos, and PDFs. Using it is simple and quick, requiring just a few steps to recover your valuable data.

This Excel repair tool offers numerous outstanding features:

  • Repair damaged Excel files with all levels of corruption, including blank files, files not opening, unrecognizable format, unreadable content, files layout changed, etc.

  • Repairs all kinds of data stored in damaged Excel files such as tables, charts, formulas, comments, images, etc.

  • Support all formats of Excel files: XLSX/XLSM/XLTX/XLTM/XLS

  • Perfectly repair corrupted files with a very high success rate, without modifying the original file.

  • No limit to the number and size of the repairable files.

  • Support Windows 11/10/8/7/Vista, Windows Server 2003/2008/2012/2016/2019/2022, and macOS 10.10~macOS 13.

  • Except Excel, Repairit also supports all formats of PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, ZIP, and Adobe files.

Step 1: Open the Wondershare Repairit tool on your device. Next, press File Repair under More Types Repair to start the Excel file repair process.

excel file repair

Step 2: To upload your corrupted Excel files, click Add. Repairit will fix the corrupted Excel file(s) and show their progress along with specific details such as the file's name, size, and location.

add corrupted excel files

Step 3: Click Repair to begin. The tool will scan the corrupted Excel files and fix any issues. You can monitor the progress and cancel if necessary.

corrupted excel files details

Step 4: Click Save to keep it. To save all repaired Excel files, click Save All. Choose a file location where you want to store them.

save repaired excel files
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#2 Use the Find and Replace Excel Feature

The "Find and Replace" Excel feature allows you to search for specific data within your spreadsheet and replace it with new content. This tool is useful for quickly making changes throughout your Excel workbook, such as updating text, numbers, or formulas.

You can specify the search criteria and choose to replace all occurrences or selectively replace them one by one. It's a handy tool for editing and managing data efficiently within Excel.

Follow these steps to fix Excel links not working issue using the Find and Replace Excel feature:

Step 1: See the Find and Replace dialog by pressing Ctrl + F. Next, click Options.

find and replace feature

Step 2: In the Find What box, type .xl to search for all external links or the name of a specific workbook.

type xl

Step 3: In the Within box, choose Workbook or Sheet to search across all tabs or within the current worksheet.

choose workbook or sheet

Step 4: Select Formulas in the Look in box.

select formulas

Step 5: Click Find All.

click find all

Step 6: Analyze the results. Broken links will display a #REF! Error in the Value column.

To fix broken links:

Step 1: Click any result to locate the broken link and edit the cell manually. Or switch to the Replace tab in the Find and Replace dialog.

Step 2: Type the incorrect link or path in the Find What box. Type the correct link or path in the Replace with box.

type the correct link

Step 3: Click Replace All. If prompted, click Cancel in the Update Values window.

click replace all

Step 4: After replacement, #REF! Errors will vanish, and correct values will appear. You can also update file paths using this method, like replacing "\Documents" with "\Documents\Reports" if the file was moved.

Though using Find and Replace to fix broken links might seem unusual, it's the only built-in feature available.

#3 Disable Update links on Save

Users have found that disabling the "Update links on save" feature resolves Excel hyperlink issues.

The "Update links on save" feature in Excel allows you to control how linked data is updated when you save a workbook that contains links to other files. When enabled, Excel automatically updates the linked data from the source files whenever you save the workbook. This ensures that your workbook always reflects the most current data from the linked files.

Disabling this feature means that linked data won't be automatically updated when you save the workbook, giving you more control over when the updates occur.

Here's a simple guide to follow:

Step 1: Open an Excel file. Go to File. Click Options and Advanced.

advanced options

Step 2: Scroll down and click Web Options.

web options

Step 3: In the Files section, uncheck the "Update links on save" option. Then click OK to apply the change.

update links on save

Step 4: Verify if the issue has been resolved.

#4 Recreate/Edit the Hyperlinks

If you've changed the file's location or name that the hyperlink points to, you may encounter issues opening Excel hyperlinks. In such cases, you must recreate or edit the link with the updated information.

Here’s what you need to do:

Step 1: Copy the file's link from the address bar in File Explorer.

copy the file’s link

Step 2: In Excel, right-click the hyperlink and select Edit Hyperlink (or Remove Hyperlinks and recreate it).

edit hyperlink

Step 3: Paste the new location path into the address box and click OK. Your Excel hyperlink should now be active.

click ok
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Excel hyperlinks help with easy navigation and efficiency, but when they don't work, they can interrupt your workflow. This could be due to using different versions of Excel, wrong links, or moved files.

To fix them, try these methods: update broken links with Excel's Find and Replace, stop automatic link updates when saving, redo or modify hyperlinks, or for corrupted Excel files, use a tool like Wondershare Repairit. These solutions can help fix hyperlink issues for better data management.


  • How do I prevent Excel links from breaking when moving files?
    Using relative references instead of absolute file paths in formulas prevents Excel links from breaking when moving files. Additionally, avoid renaming or relocating linked files whenever possible.
  • Why do Excel links sometimes stop working after updating the software?
    Excel links may stop working after updating the software if there are compatibility issues between the new version of Excel and the linked files. Ensure that all software updates are installed. Check also any known issues or compatibility updates.
  • Can Excel links be affected by security settings?
    Yes. Security settings can affect Excel links, especially if macros or external content are involved. Check your Excel security settings and ensure that external content is allowed to update automatically if necessary.
Eleanor Reed
Eleanor Reed May 10, 24
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Eleanor Reed
Written by Eleanor Reed
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