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The How and Why of Using Hyperlinks in Excel Makes Sense

Updated on October 15, 2012

Reference Figures

Figure A
Figure A
Figure B
Figure B
Figure C
Figure C
Figure D
Figure D
Figure E
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Figure F
Figure F

Watch How Easy Creating a Hyperlink to Another File is

Hyperlinks are most often associated with a link on a website, but in Excel they are a powerful tool that is often overlooked by the average user. Hyperlinks in Excel can be used in a variety of ways. First, they can be used to link to a webpage that gives the user additional information or guidance. Second, they can be used to open additional workbooks or files. Lastly, they can be used internally in a workbook to provide an easy way to jump from tab to tab or to a specific cell. Hyperlinks can be added to any cell, picture, or chart that you want.

How to Create a Hyperlink

Excel offers three different ways to create hyperlinks. The first way is to right-click with your mouse on the desired cell or object where you want to place the link and click “Hyperlink . . .” (see Figure A) from the menu. The second way is to click on the cell or object and go to the Insert menu and click on the Hyperlink Icon (see Figure B). Finally, you can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + K. Any of these methods will open up a window entitled “Insert Hyperlink” (see Figure C). The “Text to display:” box is exactly what it says it is. Whatever is typed in this box, will be visible in the current cell. The “Link to:” box. It contains four different options: Existing File or Web Page, Place in This Document, Create New Document, and E-Mail Address. Finally, the Address box is the link path either to the web or to a drive. Let’s take a more expanded look at each type of link.

Existing File or Web Page (Figure C)

Use this when linking to an external file or website. Click the “Existing File or Web Page” icon and then either type the address into the “Address” box or browse to the correct spot using the “Look In” box. Normally, I paste the value that I am looking to link to in the “Address” box if I have it available. Finally, adjust the “Text to display” box to what you want shown to give it a cleaner look. If linking to a chart or picture, this is not necessary. I like to use this type of link to open spreadsheets that I use to upload data into Access with. If you have a lot of spreadsheets that you open on a regular basis, you can build a one stop spreadsheet that contains links to all of those files so you do not have to hunt for each file. The biggest thing to remember is that the file name that is being linked to, must remain constant.

Place in This Document (Figure D)

Placing hyperlinks into a workbook eases navigation between tabs, especially, if the workbook has many tabs. The window changes when “Place in This Document” is selected. First, select which tab you want to link to. Use the tab names listed under cell reference in the “Or select a place in this document”. Once you have the tab selected, type the cell reference where you want Excel to place the cursor in the linked tab. The default is cell A1. Finally, adjust the “Text to display” box to your liking. I like to use links inside of a workbook to create a table of contents and let the user jump to whatever tab they are looking for, rather than, scrolling through 50 tabs or more trying to find what they are looking for. You can use hyperlinks in formulas to give your table of contents more power, by enabling you to use the same cells for different links depending on what the command box is set to. That is a topic best left for another hub. Placing internal hyperlinks in a workbook also work well when working with Dashboards. The links will allow the end user to be able to easily jump to the data backing up the chart or graph.

Create New Document (Figure E)

I have never used this type of link, but it allows you to create a brand new document and link to it. It gives you the option of editing the new document either now or at a later time. Not sure how valuable this type of link is???

E-Mail Address (Figure F)

Fill out the “E-Mail address” box and the “Subject” box. Also, adjust the “Text to Display” box to keep your link nice and clean. The ability to hyperlink to an E-mail address could be useful to the end user to be able to contact the developer of the spreadsheet. When you click on the link, it will pop up and email with the address filled out and the subject line completed. You will still have to fill out the body of the email.

Editing/Deleting Hyperlinks

To edit a hyperlink, right-click on the cell/object and select “Edit Hyperlink”, which will open the Hyperlink window and allow you to make the necessary changes. Deleting hyperlinks is easy and can be done be right-clicking on the cell and selecting “Remove Hyperlink”.

In summary, hyperlinks are a cool way to make your workbooks easier to navigate. They eliminate unnecessary hunting for files that are routinely opened with the current file. They, also, make navigating large workbooks with many tabs much quicker and easier.


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    • ercramer36 profile image

      Eric Cramer 5 years ago from Chicagoland

      Updated with a video tutorial from Youtube