What do you do when you find yourself in a situation where you've spent hours, days maybe, working on your Excel spreadsheet, embedding all the relevant data, and creating shortcuts to other workbook locations or external documents, and suddenly, your Excel hyperlinks are not working? Do you start from scratch? Forego the hyperlinking function altogether and go back to the old-fashioned method of referencing data sources and looking them up later?

Learn what to do when your Excel hyperlink is not working and you cannot open the specified file.

In this article
    1. Verify Your Excel Links
    2. Edit Excel Hyperlinks
    3. Update Links After Moving Files
    4. Repair Corrupted Excel Files
    5. Turn Off "Update Links on Save"
    6. Remove the Pound Sign and Rename Your File
    7. Repair Microsoft Office

Common Reasons Why Your Excel Links Aren't Working

If your hyperlinks are not working in Excel, there's usually no reason for concern. In most instances, the problem could be easily solved, though that does depend on the cause.

The following are some of the most common causes of hyperlink malfunctions in Excel.

📝 The hyperlink path has been changedIf you've linked to a specific cell and then changed or otherwise edited the cell, the hyperlink might not work. The same is true for other sources you link to. The simple solution is editing the link or updating it after moving files around;
🚨 There's a pound (#) sign in the linkThe pound sign isn't accepted in Excel hyperlinks. If the file you're linking to has the pound sign, you will have to rename it and remove it;
💻 You've enabled "Update links on save" When this feature is enabled and there's an unexpected system shutdown, your hyperlinks are automatically updated, which could cause problems if you haven't edited them properly. Disable this feature to eliminate the problem;
❎ Your Excel file is corruptedCorrupted Excel files can cause problems like hyperlink malfunctions, read/write issues, and more. You will need to fix your corrupted files to eliminate your hyperlinks problem;
🔧 Your Microsoft Office needs repairingIf there are glitches or bugs in your Microsoft Office, you could encounter an array of different issues, only one of which is your Excel hyperlinks not working. Repair or update Microsoft Office to fix this issue.

How to Fix Excel Hyperlinks That Aren't Working

Now that you understand some of the most common causes, it's time to find out what you can do to fix your Excel hyperlinks that are not working. You could try several different solutions, and none of them require specialized skills or knowledge.

Verify Your Excel Links

The first thing you'll want to do when you notice that your Excel links aren't working is verify them. In a nutshell, that simply means double-checking them and seeing whether they're broken or misspelled.

To find broken links, follow these steps:

  1. Press Ctrl + F buttons on your keyboard;
  2. In the dialog box, select Options;
  3. Type in .xl to search for all links/type in the name of your workbook to look for specific workbook links;
    find broken links in excel
  4. Adjust the Within, Search, and Look in settings;
  5. Click Find All.

If your link is misspelled, you can go to the Find What box and type in the misspelled workbook to identify where it's located. If there are #REF! errors in the value box, you'll know that your links are broken.

If misspelling was your issue, you could simply go back to the Find and Replace dialog box, type in the incorrect name, go to the Replace box, type in the correct name, then click Replace all.

Edit Excel Hyperlinks

A changed link path is one of the most common causes of Excel links misbehaving. Fortunately, there's an easy fix for it. You just have to edit your hyperlinks:

  1. Identify the correct link path and copy it;
  2. Go to Excel and right-click on the incorrect link path;
  3. Select Edit hyperlink;
    edit hyperlink in excel
  4. Remove the incorrect link from the address bar and paste the correct link;
  5. Click Ok.

Alternatively, right-click on the incorrect hyperlink and select Remove. Then, just create a new hyperlink using the correct path.

Update Links After Moving Files

Creating hyperlinks and then moving or editing your files can cause problems with your hyperlinks not working in Excel. Since you're essentially changing the link path, Excel can have difficulties identifying where the hyperlink is supposed to lead.

You can fix this issue by simply ensuring that you update all your links after moving your files. You can easily do so by editing the links manually, like in the method discussed above.


  1. Copy the address after moving your files;
  2. Go to the incorrect hyperlink and click Edit hyperlink;
  3. Paste the correct hyperlink and click OK.
Note: Make sure to do this every time you move your files around. Otherwise, you'll be encountering the problem of your hyperlinks in Excel not working more often than you'd like.

Repair Corrupted Excel Files

It's also possible that the cause of your hyperlinks not working in Excel is corrupted files. Corrupted Excel files can cause a range of issues – from rendering you unable to open or access them to displaying only some information and causing system glitches, failures, and more.

The causes of file corruption may vary. You might have downloaded the file incorrectly or interrupted the file transfer. You might have a computer virus infestation. A system or hard disk failure might have corrupted your files. Whatever the case is, Wondershare Repairit can help you out.

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As a powerful data repair solution, Wondershare Repairit can effortlessly restore your files regardless of the format. It works with Excel files, photos, videos, PDFs, and more, and it takes just a few steps to take full advantage of it:

  1. Download and launch Wondershare Repairit;
  2. Go to File Repair > Add;
  3. Upload your corrupt files;
    upload corrupt files to wondershare repairit
  4. Click Repair;
  5. When you receive the notification that the repair is complete, preview the files;
  6. Choose your save path and click Save.
    save repaired files in wondershare repairit

Wondershare Repairit works with both Windows and Mac OS, so you can easily repair corrupt Excel files and fix hyperlink issues.

Turn Off "Update Links on Save"

As mentioned earlier, enabling the "Update Links on Save" option could, at times, be problematic. While the feature makes it easier for you to keep track of link edits and changes, it can lead to hyperlinking errors if your app crashes unexpectedly or you encounter system failure.

Fortunately, if this option is causing trouble, there's an easy fix – just disable the feature.

  1. Open Microsoft Excel and go to the File menu in the upper left-hand corner;
  2. Go to Options > Advanced;
    turn off
  3. Go to Web options;
  4. Uncheck Update links on save and click Ok.

Test to see if this has helped you solve your hyperlinking issues.

Remove the Pound Sign and Rename Your File

Excel doesn't accept the pound (#) sign as a viable link option. If your hyperlinks contain it, you'll encounter errors until you remove it.

The good news is that removing the pound sign from your files is as simple as renaming them. Just follow these steps to rename your files and fix your hyperlinking issues in Excel:

  1. Right-click on your problematic hyperlink and select Edit hyperlink;
  2. Copy the file address in the address box;
  3. Locate where the file is stored and right-click on it;
  4. Select Rename;
    rename file with pound sign
  5. Remove the # sign from the name;
  6. Go back to Excel, right-click on the hyperlink, and select Edit hyperlink;
  7. Select the renamed file and click Ok.

If the pound sign has been giving you a headache, your hyperlinking problems should be gone now.

Repair Microsoft Office

Finally, it may be Microsoft Office that's causing issues with your hyperlinks in Excel. In that case, you'll need to repair it. Microsoft Office has a built-in repair tool that should work on all Office apps, and you'll just need to follow a few steps to use it:

  1. Right-click on the Windows Start icon and select Installed apps;
  2. Locate Microsoft Office in the new window that pops up;
  3. Click on the three dots by Microsoft Office and select Modify;
    repair microsoft office
  4. Go to Quick Repair > Repair.

Give the tool time to repair the apps, then go back to your Excel file and check whether your hyperlinks have been fixed.


While highly useful, hyperlinks in Excel can be problematic on occasion. If you find that your Excel hyperlinks are not working, give the solutions above a try and see if they fix your problem.

Wrong link path, pound sign in your file name, file corruption, and more can be fixed easily by adjusting some of the settings or using reliable third-party solutions like Wondershare Repairit.

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Theo Lucia
Theo Lucia Jul 17, 24
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