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

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


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

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

1. 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.

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

doc list all links 1

3. Click Options, in the Within drop down list, choose Sheet or Workbook that you want to find the links from.  See screenshot:

doc list all links 2

4. And then click Find All button. Then it lists all external references in the Find and Replace dialog box immediately. Press Ctrl + A  to select all link cells as following screeshot shown:

doc list all links 3

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.

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

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

VBA: List all links in Excel.

Sub ListLinks()
    Dim xSheet As Worksheet
    Dim xRg As Range
    Dim xCell As Range
    Dim xCount As Long
    Dim xLinkArr() As String
    On Error Resume Next
    For Each xSheet In Worksheets
        Set xRg = xSheet.UsedRange.SpecialCells(xlCellTypeFormulas)
        If xRg Is Nothing Then GoTo LblNext
        For Each xCell In xRg
            If InStr(1, xCell.Formula, "[") > 0 Then
                xCount = xCount + 1
                ReDim Preserve xLinkArr(1 To 2, 1 To xCount)
                xLinkArr(1, xCount) = xCell.Address(, , , True)
                xLinkArr(2, xCount) = "'" & xCell.Formula
           End If
        Next
LblNext:
    Next
    If xCount > 0 Then
        Sheets.Add(Sheets(1)).Name = "Link Sheet"
        Range("A1").Resize(, 2).Value = Array("Location", "Reference")
        Range("A2").Resize(UBound(xLinkArr, 2), UBound(xLinkArr, 1)).Value = Application.Transpose(xLinkArr)
        Columns("A:B").AutoFit
    Else
        MsgBox "No links were found within the active workbook.", vbInformation, "KuTools for Excel"
    End If
End Sub

3. Press the F5 key to run this macro. Then it creates a new worksheet named as Link Sheet and list all links location and linked source workbooks' names and saving paths in it at once. See screenshot:

doc list all links 4


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.

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

1. Active the worksheet that you want to find the links, and click Kutools > Link > Find and Break Broken Links, see screenshot:

doc list all links 5

2. 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.

doc list all links 6

Notes:

1. 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.

2. And if you want to break a link, you can select the link from the list, then click Break link.

Click to Download Kutools for Excel and free trial Now!

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


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

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Comments (40)
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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Can a tab name have a link?
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Hoi, ik zit er over te denken om een excel cursus te volgen bij computertraining.nl. Heeft iemand daar ervaring mee?
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Hi, would it be possible to add the external links in the above VBA code to a particular cell range in a sheet in the workbook instead of adding a new sheet?
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Thank you so much. This problem has bedeviled me for years. The simple but effective find "left bracket" worked perfectly for my needs.
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
"Because external links contains bracket [ sign," Sorry, that's not exactly true. MVPs Wyman and Walkenbach even get that wrong (perhaps many others too.) This is one clear exception =VLOOKUP(A1,'C:\FOO.XLS'!SomeRangeName,2,FALSE)
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Worked perfectly. I was constantly getting an "update external links" question, and didn't know that I had any. Using the Find, [, and Options of find in Workbook found all of them! Thanks, Rob
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Is it possible to get a list of all the external links that are connected to one source document. I'm guessing that somewhere in the source document, this information should be available, but I've been unable to find it.
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Simply remove the data validation by selecting the whole sheet and click on new validation rule. It will delete all old validation rules, even if you do not enter a new one. There can also be links in 'named ranges' and hidden named ranged. Google it to find the solutions.
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
I had an Excel file that when opened displayed a message regarding a missing external link. No such link could be found and various tools- Kutools, FormulaDesk etc did find nothing. Finally- I solved the problem by opening the xlsx file as zip+xml and deleting the folder dealing with external links (if you want more details- ask me).
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Shazam! This tip is awesome.
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