Force a Break to an External Link in Excel

If you’ve ever tried to break an external link in Excel without success, this is for you.  External links are sometimes created when copying a worksheet to another file or a new workbook.  If the Edit Links button on the Data ribbon doesn’t allow you to delete the external reference the following steps will show you how to remove those external references from File Explorer in Windows.

First, make a backup copy of your file before you proceed!

  1. Open File Explorer
  2. Right click on your file and rename it to workbookname.ZIP (.ZIP instead of .XLSX)
    Do not extract files!
  3. Navigate to xl subfolder
  4. Delete the ExternalLinks folder
  5. Rename file to workbookname.XLXS
  6. Open your file in Excel

You may want to consider opening the file using Open and Repair (from the Open button) to see if Excel will give you more info about what links were removed.

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