How to find links in a workbook

There is no automatic way to find links used in a workbook. However links use brackets [ ] to enclose the source workbook name, and it also uses the exclamation mark at the end of the sheet name in the link. So you can search for one of these two symbols depending on what type of links you are looking for.

If you are looking for external links only, use the ‘[‘ . If you are looking for all links, external links and links within the same workbook, then use ‘!’.

Examples of links:

1. =Sheet2!$C$1
2. =[Book2]Sheet1!$C$1

Link 1 above is a link to a worksheet within the same workbook, while link 2 is a link to an external workbook.

Steps to find a link:

1. On the Edit menu, click Find. the Find and replace window will open.
2. Click Options to expand the window.
3. In the Find what box, enter “!”.
4. In the Within box, select Workbook.
5. In the Look In box, select Formulas.
6. Click Find All.
7. Your links will be listed in the box at the bottom of the Find and replace window.
8. To select the cell with a link, select the line that contains the link.


Applies to Excel 2003


  1. Tanks for your ideea !
    But my Excel workbook has hundreds of formulas and sheets and … LINKS … How do I find a specific cell linked to another workbook ? This is my problem.

    Thank you again !

    • Well, instead of looking for “[” enter the workbook name in the “Find what” box like this:


      Then only cells linked to Book2 will be listed. I hope this answers your question.