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How to reference or link value in unopened/closed Excel workbook file?

Normally, when referencing cell value from other workbook, you need to open the workbook firstly. How about directly reference cell value from a closed workbook? This article will show you methods of referencing cell value from a certain worksheet of an unopened workbook file.

Reference value from unopened/closed Excel file with formula

Insert value from unopened/closed Excel file with Kutools for Excel

arrow blue right bubble Reference value from unopened/closed Excel file with formula

Supposing your closed workbook named test locates in the path E:\Excel file\ of your computer, and you want to reference value of cell A2 from Sheet2 of this closed workbook. Please do as follows.

1. Select a blank cell to place the referenced cell value, enter formula =INDEX('E:\Excel file\[test.xlsx]Sheet2'!A:A,2,1) into the Formula Bar, and then press the Enter key. See screenshot:


1. In the formula, E:\Excel file\ is the full file path of the unopened workbook, test.xlsx is the name of the workbook, Sheet2 is the sheet name which contains the cell value you need to reference from, and A:A,2,1 means the cell A2 will be referenced in the closed workbook. You can change them based on your needs.

2. If you want to manually select a worksheet to reference, please use this formula =INDEX('E:\Excel file\[test.xlsx]sheetname'!A:A,2,1). After applying this formula, you will get a Select Sheet dialog box, please select a worksheet and then click the OK button. Then the certain cell value of this worksheet will be referenced immediately. See screenshot:

arrow blue right bubble Insert value from unopened/closed Excel file with Kutools for Excel

If you want to insert the whole worksheet content from a closed Excel file, here I recommend you the Insert File at Cursor utility of Kutools for Excel. Please follow the below steps to get it done.

Kutools for Excel : with more than 300 handy Excel add-ins, free to try with no limitation in 60 days.

1. Select a blank cell which you want the referenced worksheet to start with, then click Enterprise > Import / Export > Insert File at Cursor. See screenshot:

2. In the Insert File at Cursor dialog box, click the Browse button.

3. In the Select a file to be inserted at the cell cursor position dialog box, find and select the closed workbook you want to reference, and then press the Open button. See screenshot:

4. Now it returns to the Insert File at Cursor dialog box, you can check any one of the Value only (no formulas) and Do not transfer formatting options as you need, and then click the OK button. In the next popping up Select a Worksheet dialog box, specify a worksheet, and click the OK button. See screenshot:

Now the whole content in selected worksheet of specified unopened workbook is referenced in current worksheet.

Note: Besides referencing values from unopened workbook, you can also reference values from unopened Txt or CSV file with this utility.

Tip.If you want to have a free trial of this utility, please go to download the software freely first, and then go to apply the operation according above steps.

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  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Gray Streak · 1 years ago
    I have a worksheet for logging shipments. I want to retrieve the freight costs captured on shipping documents in different workbooks without VBA, whether the workbooks are opened or closed, and have the results returned to my shipping log per the respective shipment. I've manually typed the following path using the "Index" function and it works.

    Ex #1: =IF(AND($G5>0,$I5>0,INDEX('V:\Operations\Shipping Log\Argentina\CY 2018\[AR18001_Order# 123456_Customer Name.xlsx]Shipping Document'!$AA:$AA,2,1),0)

    The challenge I have is the country, calendar year, log number, order number and customer name are subject to change per shipment. To account for this I used the "Concatenate" function to build the path and replace the manually input information referenced above based on certain fields the user populates in the Shipping Log. First, I tested the "Concatenate" function to build the path and it worked for the consecutive rows. Next, I combined the "Concatenate" function with the "Index" function (to access the closed workbook) and received the text result of the path instead of the value of the desired cell. What am I missing?

    Ex #2:=IF(AND($G5>0,$I5>0,INDEX(CONCATENATE("'V:\Operations\Shipping Log\",$C5,"\","CY 20",SUM($JK$2:$NG$2),"\","[",$D5,"_",$I5,"_",$G5,".xlsx]Shipping Document'!$AA:AA,2,1),0)"),"")

    $C5 retrieves the country

    $JK$2:$NG$2 retrieves the suffix of the calendar year

    $D5 retrieves the shipping log number

    $I5 retrieves the order number

    $G5 retrieves the customer name

    AA2 houses the desired value

    I also tried "VLOOKUP" function instead of "Index" but received a "#VALUE!" error message.

    Ex #3: =IF(AND($G5>0,$I5>0,VLOOKUP("Freight",(CONCATENATE("'V:\Operations\Shipping Log\",$C5,"\","CY 20",SUM($JK$2:$NG$2),"\","[",$D5,"_",$I5,"_",$G5,".xlsx]Shipping Document'!$AA:$AA"),2,FALSE),"")
    • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
      Miona · 3 months ago
      Same thing happened to me. Exactly the same. Did you find a solution?
    • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
      Miona · 3 months ago
      Same thing happened to me. Exactly the same. Did you find a solution?
    • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
      crystal · 1 years ago
      Dear Gray,
      Do you mind uploading your related workbooks?