Microsoft brings support for external workbook links to Excel on the web

Microsoft today announced that it is bringing Workbook Links to Excel on the web. The firm says that it aims to let customers also use the web client for all their work, without having to “fall back to the rich client”. The feature lets users paste direct links to data from other workbooks, just like on Excel for Windows and Mac.

The feature is as simple as copying a range from a source table and pasting the link via the ‘Paste Options’. Both spreadsheets must be created on the web version and should be saved in OneDrive or SharePoint for the feature to work. The firm adds that the feature has been highly requested and that it helps users keep a record of the data source and easily refresh it.

Users can manage links from ‘Workbook Links’ under the Data tab in the ribbon. The list under the option shows all active links and provides users with the ability to refresh or break them at once, or action each link separately. The list will also display the status of the links. If a link has not been updated, the status notifies the user and even provides a reason for the error, if possible.

When users open an Excel file that has external links, a yellow banner is served with the option to "Enable Content", just like in the desktop versions. Ignoring the prompt or dismissing it will prevent the file from updating data from the external links. Lastly, the Redmond giant says that since it is constantly adding external data sources to Excel, it terms direct links to external workbooks ‘Workbook Links’ instead of ‘External Links’.

Workbook Links support is rolling out to all Excel users on the web. Since the rollout is staggered, the feature might not show up right away for everyone.

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