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Easily Changing Links

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Easily Changing Links.

Excel allows you to link information from one worksheet to another, or even from one workbook to another. Many people do this very thing when they use one worksheet as a "summary" overview of information contained in other worksheets.

If you organize your data in this manner, you may be wondering about the best way to change links within your worksheet. When you link information, Excel keeps track within the link of the source of the link. For instance, the following link refers to cell C7 in the OctoberData worksheet of the 2011Budget.xls workbook:

=+[2011Budget.xls]OctoberData!$C$7

If you have quite a few of these links in a worksheet, it can be bothersome to update each link when you change the source workbook or worksheet used by the links. You could, of course, use Excel's find and replace feature to make the desired changes, but there is an easier way: Use the INDIRECT and ADDRESS functions.

For instance, let's assume that you have cells containing a workbook name (J1), a worksheet name (J2), a numeric row number (J3), and a column number (J4). In this instance, you could use the following formula to specify a link:

=INDIRECT(ADDRESS(J3,J4,1,TRUE,"["&J1&"]"&J2))

The result is that Excel calculates an indirect address based on the contents of the cells. If you want to change the place from which Excel pulls information, all you need to do is change the contents of cells J1 through J4 so they represent the desired source.

You should note that you will need to have the source workbooks open in order to use this approach. If they are not open, Excel won't be able to update the information as desired.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (1968) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Easily Changing Links.

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Comments for this tip:

Dipti    03 Mar 2016, 05:34
Hello there,

I am looking to connect one excel workbook to another, I want the data to be auto populated into second work when there is any data entered. Can someone please help me with this.
Many thanks
gerdami    10 Nov 2011, 15:20
"=+[2008Budget.xls]MayData!$C$7"

If 2008Budget.xls is located on a shared drive and if someone inserts a row or a column before C7, expect some data errors in your calling spreadsheet !
awyatt    10 Nov 2011, 11:21
Gary,

As long as J1:J4 are set properly (as indicated in the tip), the formula should work just fine. Also, make sure that the workbook name entered into J1 includes the ".xls" at the end.
Gary Lundblad    10 Nov 2011, 11:07
This is exactly the kind of formula I have been looking for, but when I try to use it I keep getting a "#VALUE" error. Can you lay out an example with a little more detail?

Thank you,

Gary Lundblad
 
 

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