Our course lesson on editing Excel links is another easy one – we’re winding down gently. We take a quick look at how to edit external links in Excel. These arise when, instead of linking to another tab within the same workbook, you link to another external spreadsheet.
If we were to issue a good modelling practice guideline on this one it would probably be: “Don’t do it, keep your model self-contained, don’t link to external spreadsheets”. We’re realists though and we know it’s not always possible e.g. if you need to link into a central spreadsheet that contains the company-wide view on something like interest rates or exchange rates. The problem with external links is that they can ‘break’ e.g. when you email your model outside your organisation. So you need a few clues on how you could manage broken links in a model that’s been sent to you. That’s what this lesson is about.
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Postscript: a warning on names
PS – During this course lesson we’ll remind you that getting into the habit of creating cell names (“Ctrl” “Shift” “F3”) can ultimately lead to broken links in your spreadsheet. This tends to happen when you create a name in one spreadsheet and then copy the tab that contains the names into another spreadsheet. We’re not a big fan of names except perhaps where you’re using a few to navigate to key areas of your model. “Ctrl” “F3” will bring up the name manager and allow you to delete names that are referencing external spreadsheets. Watch for your model falling over though as you delete those old names. See why we don’t like names? If your model falls over you’ll probably find yourself having to do a manual edit and replace (“Ctrl” “F” then “Ctrl” “Tab”) converting text-based names to the cell reference shown in the “Ctrl” “F3” name manager. Did we mention that we don’t like names?