Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 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: Unwanted Hyperlinks.

Unwanted Hyperlinks

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 8, 2014)

One of the things that Microsoft did in pursuing "Internet enabled applications" was to force, beginning with Excel 2000, the program to recognize URLs and e-mail addresses as something special. When you input one of these, Excel automatically formats it as an active hyperlink, and may even start some other program, such as your e-mail client or a browser.

This behavior can be rather bothersome, particularly if you need to enter quite a few e-mail addresses or URLs in Excel. Unfortunately, there is no way to turn off this automatic formatting in Excel 2000, as there is in Word. (If you go to Word and turn off the AutoFormat As You Type setting for Internet addresses, it has no effect in Excel, either.)

There are several ways you can get around this behavior. The first (and perhaps easiest method) is to simply change the way in which you input URLs and e-mail addresses. When you enter one, start it with an apostrophe. Thus, instead of entering, I would enter ' The only difference is the leading apostrophe. Excel does not display the apostrophe in the worksheet, only in the formula bar. In addition, the address is treated like any other text in the worksheet.

The second method is to go ahead and input your address (e-mail or URL) as you normally would. When you press Enter or Tab to move to the next cell, Excel formats the address as a hyperlink. If you immediately press Ctrl+Z, the hyperlink is removed, but the address remains.

Another method is to simply remove the hyperlink after it is created by Excel. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on the hyperlink. Excel displays a Context menu.
  2. Choose Hyperlink from the Context menu, and then Edit Hyperlink from the submenu. Excel displays the Edit Hyperlink dialog box.
  3. Click on the Remove Link button at the bottom of the dialog box.

In Excel 2002, Microsoft added the capability to turn off automatic hyperlink creation. This can be done by following these steps, which work in both Excel 2002 and Excel 2003:

  1. Choose AutoCorrect Options from the Tools menu. Excel displays the AutoCorrect Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the AutoFormat As You Type tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The AutoFormat As You Type tab of the AutoCorrect Options dialog box.

  4. Clear the Internet and Network Paths with Hyperlinks check box.
  5. Click on OK.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2803) applies to Microsoft Excel 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Unwanted Hyperlinks.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

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. ...


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