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Linking To External Documents From Excel

In a recent meeting with a local business, I was asked if there is an easy way to “link” external documents (i.e., Word documents, PDFs, other spreadsheets) from within a spreadsheet.

The user wanted an easy way to organize these other resources and provide convenient links right from the mast spreadsheet. This post details how anyone can easily to do this.

To link from an Excel Spreadsheet to an external document do the following;

  1. Highlight the cell you want the link to appear
  2. Click the Insert tab on the top ribbon (next to home)
  3. Select the Hyperlink button
  4. Select Existing File or WebPage in the LinkTo list
  5. Navigate to the document using the “Look In” dropdown
  6. Select the document you want to embed a link for
  7. Optional: Enter something in the “Text to Display” field (otherwise the entire link will display).  Example: you may link to Z:\folder1\folder2\folder3\name.DOC, if you don’t enter something in the Test To Display field the entire link will show in the cell , ex: “Z:\folder1\folder2\folder3\name.DOC”.  You may want to enter something descriptive in the “Text to Display” window so that the whole link doesn’t display.


You must have consistent drive mappings across the organization.  If you have drive “k:” mapped to server1\folder and embed links in a sheet then sent the sheet to someone else and they have drive “l:” mapped to server1\folder the link will fail for the other user (since they don’t have a K drive).

Here are some screenshots:

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