How to find and list all links (external references) in Excel?

In Excel, you refer to the contents of cells in another workbook by creating an external reference. But when you want to list all links of a workbook in Excel, it seems hard to find out and list all external references (links). The following tricky way will help you find out and list all links in workbook quickly.

Find and list all links with Find command

Find and list all links with VB macro

Find and list all links with Kutools for Excel

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arrow blue right bubble Find and list all links with Find command

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Because external links contains bracket [ sign, we can find out the external links if we can get all bracket signs in the whole workbook.

Step1: Click Home > Find & Select > Find to open the Find and Replace dialog box. You can also open the Find and Replace dialog box with pressing Ctrl + F keys.

Step2: In the Find What: box, enter the left part of bracket sign "[".


Step3: Click Options, in the Withindrop down list, choose Workbook. And then click Find All button. Then it lists all external references in the Find and Replace dialog box immediately. See the following screenshot:


The left part of bracket sign can find out the external links in the whole workbook. If you want to find out all kinds of links, including the internal links and external links, you can enter the exclamation sign "!" in the Find what: box.

arrow blue right bubble Find and list all links with VB macro

The following VBA macro can help us list all linked source workbooks in a new worksheet of current workbook.

Step1: Hold down the ALT + F11 keys, and it opens the Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications window.

Step2: Click Insert > Module, and paste the following macro in the Module Window.

VBA: List all links in Excel.

Sub ListLinks()
Dim wb As Workbook
Set wb = Application.ActiveWorkbook
If Not IsEmpty(wb.LinkSources(xlExcelLinks)) Then
xIndex = 1
For Each link In wb.LinkSources(xlExcelLinks)
Application.ActiveSheet.Cells(xIndex, 1).Value = link
xIndex = xIndex + 1
Next link
End If
End Sub

Step3: Press the F5 key to run this macro. Then it creates a new worksheet and list all linked source workbooks' names and saving paths in it at once. see screenshot:


arrow blue right bubble Find and list all links with Kutools for Excel

With Kutools for Excel’s Find and Break broken Links, you can find all the external links of the active worksheet, at the same time, you can break the specific links as you need.

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If you have installed Kutools for Excel, please do as this:

Step1: Active the worksheet that you want to find the links, and click Kutools > Link Tools > Find and Break broken Links, see screenshot:


Step2: in the Find and Break broken Links dialog box, click Filter drop down list to choose All links, and all links in the active worksheet are listed, you can view the links status as well, OK stands for the link is valid, Error means the link is broken.


Note: If the View cell option is checked, when you click on the link in the list. It will find and navigate to the specific cell which contains the link in the worksheet

If you want to know more about this feature, please clickFind and Break broken Links.

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0#M Cooper2014-01-21 13:02
After running the VBA List all Links Macro, one link came up."J:\Documents and Settings\My Documents\Consulting\APRTZ.xls". This link is to a file on the hard drive of the original computer where the file was first saved. I can't seem to delete this link, it wants me to save the file as a *.xlsm file. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Michael
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0#BenGman2014-01-31 17:40
Try just copy/paste the value that is in the cell. The link is useless, but the data is still needed.
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0#Leslie Dunn2014-02-25 16:45
Thank you! I used the Find command with the workbook option, which was great because my file has lots of tabs. Perfect!
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+3#Joniru2014-02-28 14:18
After lots of trying and failing, I found the reference in the cell formatting rules!! :P
(the place where you are able to make a cell change colour based on the content of another cell)
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0#Kirstie2014-03-13 10:13
Running the VBA macro was the only thing that worked for me and without this, I would never have found it! Thank you for solving this for me! :lol:
It has cured my severe frustration!
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0#Daymond Cox2014-03-13 23:08
Jonriu - or ANYONE (Urgent Request)
I have KuTools, used that Break Hyperlinks and Find break broken links tools, nothing has helped.
I used the Find function but did not resolve it.
I have a spreadsheet with over 140 tabs of data, roughly 80,000 cells.

Does this mean I need to had check every cell for cell formatting rules? Is there a Macro I can run? I have hyperlinks to temporary files that neither the Find or KuTools tools can "find" or Break. Is this an urgent request.
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0#ytrewq2014-04-12 17:49
Joniru, I could kiss you... This has been driving me nuts for weeks! Never thought to look in the conditional formatting
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+1#Scnider2014-05-02 07:26
Joniru, you're a genius!
Conditional formatting all along... thank you!!!
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0#Dan R2014-07-14 21:21
After some searching, I found some links in my data validation sources & some buttons that were assigned to macros. I had to close Excel completely for the link to disappear from the "Edit links" menu.
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0#STevo2014-08-07 03:53
'Find' does not search Data Validation settings, but these can contain invalid links.

Here's another way that works pretty well:
1. Save a copy of your workbook as an XML Spreadsheet;
2. Open the XML Spreadsheet in 'XML Notepad' (Microsoft) or any XML/text editor;
3. Search for part or all of the invalid link (URL). You should see which tab and which cells contain the invalid link and what type of reference it is (Data Validation, Advanced Filter, Named Range etc.)
4. Armed with this you can go back to your original XL file and change/delete those invalid references.

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