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: Updating Automatically when Opening Under Macro Control.

Updating Automatically When Opening Under Macro Control

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 13, 2014)


Graham wrote about a glitch he was having with his Excel automation efforts. It seems that a scheduled macro—which would run just fine—would open another workbook in order to update it. He could not get the macro to open the workbook without it displaying a notice asking if the automatic links in the workbook should be opened. The question halted the macro while it waited for Graham's response, and he was looking for a way for the links to be updated automatically, without the bothersome notice.

There are several ways this problem can be approached. First, you can configure Excel so that it doesn't ask the question. This option affects all workbooks opened on the system:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Excel displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Edit tab is selected.
  3. Clear the Ask To Update Automatic Links check box.
  4. Click on OK.

With the check box cleared, Excel no longer asks and all links are updated automatically.

If you are using Excel 2002 or Excel 2003 and you want an option that doesn't affect all workbooks, you can follow these steps:

  1. Open the workbook that contains the links.
  2. Choose Links from the Edit menu. Excel displays the Links dialog box.
  3. Click the Startup Prompt button. Excel displays the Startup Prompt dialog box.
  4. Choose the third option, Don't Display the Alert and Update Links.
  5. Click on OK to dismiss the Startup Prompt dialog box.
  6. Click on Close to dismiss the Links dialog box.
  7. Save your workbook.

Now the workbook can be opened without Excel asking about updates. This, of course, affects just this workbook, and it affects it regardless of how it is opened. In other words, it will affect how the workbook is opened by the macro as well as when it is opened by a user.

Perhaps the best approach is to simply make a small change in your macro—the one that opens the workbook containing links. There is a good chance that the code to open the workbook looks something like this:

Workbooks.Open FileName:="MyWorkbook.xls"

If this is the case, change the line to this:

Workbooks.Open FileName:="MyWorkbook.xls", UpdateLinks:=3

This UpdateLinks property is optional, but without it the "Do you want to update links" dialog box is displayed. If you include the property with the setting shown, then Excel will update both remote and external references in the workbook as it is opened.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2899) 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: Updating Automatically when Opening Under Macro Control.

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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What is six more than 8?

2015-11-09 13:44:50

Shekhar Mantry

How can be disable 'Update links on save' globally in a enterprise ?
Is there a registry setting for it ?

2014-12-30 06:05:40

sai baba


this answer fulfil only during opening workbook.

How to update during workbook active ?

advance thanks for this.

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