Break a link to an external reference in Excel


  • When you break a link to the source workbook of an external reference, all formulas that use the value in the source workbook are converted to their current values. For example, if you break the link to the external reference =SUM([Budget.xls]Annual!C10:C25), the SUM formula is replaced by the calculated value, whatever that may be. (Also, because this action cannot be undone, you may want to save a version of the destination workbook as a backup.)

  • If you use an external data range, a parameter of the query may also use data from another workbook. You may want to check for and remove any of these type of links.

Break a link

  1. On the Data tab, in the Connections group, click Edit Links.

    Connections group on the Data tab

    Note: The Edit Links command is unavailable if your file does not contain linked information.

  2. In the Source list, click the link that you want to break.

    • To select multiple linked objects, hold down Ctrl, and then click each linked object.

    • To select all links, press Ctrl+A.

  3. Click Break Link.

Delete the name of a defined link

If the link used a defined name, the name is not automatically removed. You may want to delete the name as well.

  1. On the Formulas tab, in the Defined Names group, click Name Manager.

  2. In the Name Manager dialog box, click the name that you want to change.

  3. Click the name to select it.

  4. Click Delete.

  5. Click OK to confirm the deletion.

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