Stopping Excel from Converting UNC Paths to Mapped Drives

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 16, 2014)

1

Kimani has noticed that links in his workbooks are automatically updated from UNC paths to the mapped drives of the user who opened the file. This causes problems because other users don't use the same drive mapping. If Excel didn't do the conversion, then those users would be able to use the links via the UNCs that were used when the workbook was created. Kimani wonders why Excel updates the links based on the local system drive mapping and how he can force it to use the original UNC paths.

The short answer is that there is no way to stop Excel from doing the link updating. This can be a real bother, too. Microsoft discusses the problem in the following Knowledge Base article:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/328440

The Knowledge Base article indicates that if a workbook is opened from a mapped drive, and the UNC refers to that same drive, the UNC in the link is updated to the mapped drive designation. The article doesn't provide any solution to this problem, other than the implication that the user could open the workbook using a UNC instead of a mapped drive. For most organizations this isn't a real solution.

One approach is to not allow people to change the workbook. Make it read-only and force people to save their changes at a different location. This is a viable approach if the workbook serves as a way to distribute information where changes don't need to be available to others in the organization. If others need to see the changes, however, it isn't terribly viable.

The only possible approach we've run across is to do away with the direct UNC references and use the INDIRECT worksheet function to build your references. These would not be rewritten by Excel, but it does present other drawbacks. (For instance, the target workbook must be open in order for INDIRECT to fetch the linked information.)

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (7301) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Turning Off Automatic Numbered Lists

Type what Word thinks is a numbered list, and it will helpfully format the text to match what it thinks your numbered list ...

Discover More

Condensing Sequential Values to a Single Row

If you have a bunch of ZIP Codes or part numbers in a list, you may want to "condense" the list so that sequential series of ...

Discover More

Changing Section Headers

Add subtotals to a worksheet and you can instruct Excel to start each new subtotal section on a new printed page. You may ...

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Using Your Own File Extensions

Don't like the workbook file extensions used by Excel? You can specify your own extensions, as discussed in this tip.

Discover More

Specifying a Delimiter when Saving a CSV File in a Macro

You can, within a macro, save a workbook in several different file formats that are understood by Excel. However, you may not ...

Discover More

Setting a Default File Format

Excel normally saves workbooks using a default file format that is peculiar to your version of the program. You can configure ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is six more than 8?

2017-04-06 11:45:56

Terry Groves

Wow, I cannot believe that it is 3 years later and this same issue still exists. The situation for me is huge as I am trying to support many workers who all need to be able to access and update a series of interlinked spreadsheets on a network drive. There is no way control how everyone maps their drives. My main spreadsheet contains more than 15,000 links to external spreadsheets. To turn these into INDIRECT() addressing would require minutes for the spreadsheet to gather the required information rather and the almost instantaneous linking using UNC addressing.

I will try to mitigate the problem by distributing shortcuts to the main spreadsheet that utilize UNC addressing but there is no way to prevent people from inadvertently opening the spreadsheet from a network share.


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.