With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company.
Learn more about Allen...
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: Dynamic Hyperlinks in Excel.
You can create dynamic hyperlinks in Excel that act like HTML forms without having to know much at all about HTML. These hyperlinks can come in handy when using Excel as an interface to the Internet or to an internal Web.
As an example, let's create a Google search form. First, drop by Google.com and do a search for the keyword "Excel." Then, take a look at the URL in your browser's address bar. It may look something like this:
Of course, what you see in the address bar could be even longer, depending on what server you end up accessing at Google:
http://www.google.com/#hl=en&sugexp=ldymls&xhr=t&q=Excel&cp=4 &pf=p&sclient=psy&site=&source=hp&aq=0&aqi=&aql=&oq=Exce&pbx=1 &bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=e28a97840bb57e9&biw=1311&bih=692
Regardless of the format shown in the address bar, if you study what you see, you'll start to recognize patterns. The parameters following either the question mark (?) or the hash mark (#) are the name-value pairs submitted by the HTML form. But, you don't need to know a whole lot about that. In this case, the main thing to consider is the search term, where "q" is the name of the parameter and "Excel" is the value.
Using the HYPERLINK function along with the CONCATENATE function (or just the ampersand, &), you can easily assemble a link and create a dynamic form using cells as fields. Just follow these two quick steps:
Now you have your own simple HTML form inside of Excel. You can create much longer hyperlinks and include multiple cell references, but there is a limit in Excel to how long the hyperlink can be (about 248 characters). To use the form, just enter your keywords into cell B3 and click on the hyperlink in cell B4. That's it!
Creating a form to access Google is just a simplistic example. The interesting applications are when you can assemble hyperlinks from the results of calculations, string manipulation, IF statements, combo boxes, or the other form fields available in Excel.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2445) 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: Dynamic Hyperlinks in Excel.
Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!