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: Specifying a Browser in a Hyperlink.

Specifying a Browser in a Hyperlink

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 30, 2023)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Laura wants to include a hyperlink in a worksheet. However, she would like the hyperlink to "force" the target of the URL to be displayed in a particular browser. For instance, she would like the hyperlink to somehow specify that the target be opened in Internet Explorer.

There is no way to do this within Excel; a hyperlink in a worksheet, when clicked, relies on whatever the default browser is on the system being used. There is a workaround that you can try, however: You could create a macro that actually opens a target address using a specific browser.

For example, consider the following macro. It automatically opens an instance of Internet Explorer and opens a website in that browser:

Sub LaunchIE()
    Dim IE As Object
    Set IE = CreateObject("InternetExplorer.Application")
    IE.navigate "http://excel.tips.net/"
    IE.Visible = True
    Set IE = Nothing
End Sub

The macro could easily be assigned to a shortcut or to a toolbar button. It isn't terribly flexible, however, when it comes to which browser is being used (it is always Internet Explorer) and which site is displayed (it is always the ExcelTips site). You can make it a bit more flexible in this manner:

Sub showURL(browser As String, URL As String)
    Dim pPath As String
    Dim bPath As String

    'Use this to resolve the correct program file path
    'it is different on 32-bit and 64-bit systems
    pPath = Environ("ProgramFiles")

    If browser = "Firefox" Then
        bPath = pPath & "\Mozilla Firefox\Firefox.exe"
    ElseIf browser = "IE" Then
        bPath = pPath & "\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe"
    Else
        Exit Sub
    End If

    Call Shell(bPath & " " & URL, vbNormalFocus)
End Sub
Sub Testing()
    Call showURL("Firefox", "http://www.tips.net")
    Call showURL("IE", "http://excel.tips.net")
End Sub

Note that the main routine—showURL, the one that does all the work—can work with either Internet Explorer or Firefox. The Testing routine shows how to launch the browsers; all you need to do is specify which browser you want and what URL you want to open in that browser.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9835) 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: Specifying a Browser in a Hyperlink.

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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