When you’re working with spreadsheets, you may have several files linked together. In other words, one spreadsheet references the contents of another. Sometimes, you may want to break these links to ensure data remains static. Let’s learn how to break links in Microsoft Excel.
How to Break Links in Excel
Consider a cell reference contained in cell D1 of your workbook. Notice that in the formula bar, this cell is actually a reference to another cell in another entirely separate spreadsheet. Now, imagine that you want Excel to lock in the actual value, instead of just a reference. In other words, you want to make changes in the referenced cell, but not in cell D1 of this workbook.
With the cell selected, go to the Data tab on Excel’s ribbon. You’ll see several options involving refreshing links and data connections over on the left side. To break a link, click on the Edit Links option. You’ll see that Excel launches the Links menu.
In the center, you’ll see the Source list, which contains all linked files contained in your sheet. You can click on any of them to select them. Then, once you’ve made your selections, click on Break Link.
Excel will display a dialogue box asking you to confirm that, yes, you want to break the link(s). To confirm, press Break Links.
That’s all it takes. When you return to cell D1, notice the formula bar again. Your link – that is to say, cell reference – has been removed. Now, the original value is simply hardcoded into the cell. Any changes you make to your other file will have no impact on this file, and vice versa.
As you can see, it’s easy to break links in Microsoft Excel. This helps you maintain and preserve control over your spreadsheets.