Can't Update Some of The Links in Workbook Right Now! How to solve it?

When you work with multiple workbooks in a business, you import data from various external data sources. The external source can be another excel workbook, csv file, database, etc. So when you save and reopen your workbook, you may get a warning like this. This warning says,

This workbook contains links to other data sources.

  • If you update the links, Excel will attempt to retrieve the latest data.
  • If you don't update the links, Excel will use the previous information.

Note that data links can be used to access and share confidential information without your permission and possibly perform other harmful action. Do not update the links if you do not trust the sources of this workbook.

This prompt will have three action buttons Update, Don't Update and Help.

So, what is this?

When you establish connection using formulas, power queries or other database connection methods, you allow excel to access and share information to other sources. So when you reopen a workbook that contains link to other sources, excel informs you that your file contains links to other files. Your confidential information can be accessed by those sources.

So what can you do?

There's one button Update. When you click this button, the link will be refreshed and the file will be able to share and receive data from the source. Update your file with those links only if you trust the sources. If you don't trust the source then use the button don't update. If you don't update the source link it will use the previous data.

Issue With Update Links

You will notice sometimes that even after updating the links you will get this warning: "We can't update some of the links in your workbook right now. You can continue without updating their values, or edit the links you think are wrong." You have two options Continue and Edit Links...

So why this happens.

This can happen due to many reasons. The source file may not exist anymore. The source files location has changed. The data model is changed and sometimes for anonymous reasons. But it does happen.

How to solve this can't update link issue?

You may want to update some links but don't know where the issue is.  To know the issue, you need to know all the links to the workbook. To track all the links in the workbook do this.

Select the main workbook. Go to data --> Connections --> Edit links. A prompt will open that shows all the connection to the work book.

Here you can select each source link and choose what happens to it. You can choose to update the data using Update Value button. You can change the source, open the source, break the links, or check status of the connection.

Here you can check for the problematic connection and solve it.

"Can't Update Links"  Prompts Even After Breaking Links. How to stop this prompt?

It happen sometimes that even after breaking the links, excel shows the "Can't update the links" prompt at startup. To forcefully stop this prompt do this:

Go to data --> Connections --> Edit links. Here click on the startup prompt button on the bottom left corner.

Here, we have three options. The first is "Let user choose to display the alerts or not". This is default. The second option is "Don't display the alert and don't update automatic links". The third option is "Don't display the alert and update links".

So if you don't want to update the links and don't want the prompt choose the second option and hit OK. If you want automatic update without the prompt, use the third option.

This will force excel to not to show the prompt.

Personally, I recommend you to see the source of the problematic link and solve it from the root.

So yeah guys, this how you can solve the links updating issue in Excel. I hope it was helpful. If it didn't help you, let me know the problem in detail in the comments section below. We will solve the issue together. If you have any other query related to excel or VBA, mention that too in the comments section below.

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  1. I have an Excel sheet which is not updating the links. Followed your steps. Need help. Can I Send you the file to take a quick look. Thanks.

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