How to find links in Excel

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We can find linked cells in worksheets by examining formulas, objects (like shapes or text boxes), defined names, chart data series, and chart titles.

Figure 1. Find Links in Excel

When we create Excel formulas and make references to  data points in another worksheet, Excel links to the other workbook automatically – as shown below:

Figure 2. An External Link in Excel

Note, the yellow highlighted portion is the external Excel link (or external reference). The external link formula instructs Excel to refer to a cell specified in this workbook. The advantage of having an Excel external link to a file in our formula is that it allows us to update it automatically anytime the info inside the linked Excel workbook changes.

How to Find External Links in Excel

External links  are very common tasks, but sometimes we might be faced with a worksheet that has external links we cannot locate even though Excel is indicating to us that they exist.There is no clear cut way to show links in Excel, but, there are a few manual processes we can use to view them.

We will now show you how to find linked cells in Excel by using the following simple steps;

  1. Press “Ctrl+F” on your keyboard to open the “Find and Replace” menu.

Figure 3. Find and Replace Buttons in Excel

  1. Click on “Options” > Inside the “Find what” box, enter “.xl.”

Figure 4. Find and Replace Links in Excel

  1. Inside the “Within” box, click on “Workbook” > click on “Formulas” and then Click on “Find Next” > “Find All”:

Figure 5. Find Links in Excel