How to Link Cells in Different Excel Spreadsheets

Excel Spreadsheet Linking Tutorial

Overview: Learn how to link data in one Excel Spreadsheet to data in cells of another worksheet or workbook using linking formulas.

How to Link Cells in Different Excel Spreadsheets

Pulling All of your Information Together

Excel allows one worksheet to get information from cells in another worksheet. The other worksheet can be inside of the same workbook (file) or in an entirely different one. This is a nice way to use certain sheets for information input (think transactions, prices, account balances) and other worksheets to summarize and and report on the detailed data (think dashboards).

The process of linking data between Excel worksheets and/or workbooks actually only involves a few simple steps:

  1. Open all of the Excel files that you want to link
  2. Pick the linked data’s Destination cell
  3. Select the Soure Data to be linked
  4. Press the Enter key

Linking Excel Worksheets within the Same Workbook

Open your Excel spreadsheet and go to the worksheet where you want to display the linked data and click in the desired destination cell.

Excel linking between worksheets

Press the “equals” key on your keyboard to begin the linking formula. Then, click on the worksheet (tab) where the source data resides.

Click in the cell where the source data resides.

Excel linking between worksheets

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Notice that the Worksheet name, then the cell name appear in the formula bar.

Press the Enter key.

The source data will be displayed in the destination cell.

Excel linking worksheets

Notice how the Worksheet and Cell are displayed in the formula bar.

Linking Excel Worksheets Between Different Workbooks

Open up all the your Excel spreadsheets whose data you would like to link.

Link Excel Spreadsheets

Go to the worksheet where you want the source data to be displayed and click in the destination cell. Press the “equals” key then switch to the Excel Workbook where the source data resides.

Click in destination cell

Click in the cell where the source data resides.

Source Data

Notice that the Workbook (file) Name, the Worksheet name, then the Cell name appear in the formula bar.

Press the Enter key.

The source data will be displayed in the destination cell.

Linking Excel Workbooks

That’s the entire process. Not that hard, right?

Linking Excel Spreadsheets Video Tutorial

See how to link up your spreadsheets in the video tutorial below.

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13 responses on “How to Link Cells in Different Excel Spreadsheets

  1. Kimberley Dyer

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for dumbing down how to link cells in different excel spredsheet, i want to take it one step further and link an entire row to another spreadsheet (within the same workbook) (example A4-L4) only if G4 is a specific number. Is this possible?


  2. Lara

    There are some interesting points in time in this article but I don’t know if I see all of them center to heart. There is some validity but I will hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner as well

    1. Mari

      Apparantly its a new feature of Excel 2010. Unless you open the excel spreadsheet in a different instance of Excel you can’t move the window across to use the extend my screen option. Unfortunately if you open in a separate window you can’t link worksheets in spreadsheets opened in separate instances of Excel 2010- it leaves the = sign and the F3 shortcut doesn’t work either. There are supposed ‘work arounds’ amending the /dde flag but they don’t seem to work. Guess I have to back to 2007 version of office to be able to run two work books in separate windows. I like to extend the screen so that I have more productivity. And this is progress?

      Is there a utility that will let me move a second workbook onto a new window? Or a utility that would allow linking across two instances of Excel?

      Thank you for your help on this.

  3. John G

    Question: In Excel 2010, I added a couple rows on sheet 1, but they don’t show up on my linked sheet 2 (within the same workbook); is their a shortcut key to update the linked data on the second worksheet? To be clear, data winthin existing cells automatically updates, but not newly added rows . . . Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks – John G.

    1. Christopher Masiello Post author

      I haven’t figured out how to do that with a Refresh function. You need to copy down the existing rows and the new data will appear. You’ll have to either do it before or after you enter the original data into the linked to sheet.

  4. Ola Wiig-Hanssen

    I have used this for 20 years, but suddenly it stops working. And I have no idea why. I know that the file name doesn’t show, so that could be a reason, but why doesn’t it?

  5. prashanth

    This is juuuuust what I was looking for. Bullzeye. thank you very much. i am soo excited that I can do this from within excel itself without having to install a third party app. although trying to figure out how to deal with accidental moving of either or both the files. and also how to deal with cells with formula. But thanks again.

  6. uno

    im working on a daily, weekly and monthy reports, is there a possibility that i could link two different worksheets with to different two different excel file? so that even i make an update on a daily report file, it’ll take effect on weekly as well as the monthly report file… thanks alot…

  7. Johnson

    thank you very much. your tutorial has realy help me to save time in my work and also increased my knowledge i realy hope to getting more from you. i am grateful

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