Linking Cells Together in Excel with Paste -> Link

Too many chances for errors

Sometimes when you set up a spreadsheet you want a particular piece of information in exist in two or sometimes three different places. That could be somewhere within the same workbook, a different workbook, or even a different application. The elephant-in-the-room problem with this is if you don’t remember to update every place you’ve used that piece of information your work will lose its continuity and any results you need to present will be compromised—as will your reputation.

Help is on the way

The solution to this dilemma lives with the Excel Paste command. Rather than retype the information in the different locations, copy it. Once copied, move over to the desired new location and paste it there using Paste->Link.

The clipboard section of the Home tab.
The clipboard section of the Home tab.

To find Paste->Link, click on the black arrow under the word “Paste”. Go down to “Other Paste Options” and you will see an icon with a three link chain. That’s the “Link” option.

Icons on the Paste drop-down menu
Icons on the Paste drop-down menu

Select the Paste->Link option and the information is places into the new cell with by a reference to the original cell. Now when you make a correction or change to the original information, it will be carried over to all cells linked to the original cell.

Older Excel Versions

If you’re using an older version of Excel you may have to select the Paste->Link off the Paste Special menu. That’s not a problem. The selections are the same, just in a dialog box format.

Paste Special dialog box
Paste Special dialog box

Click on Paste Special, then Paste Link, then OK and you have your link the same as with the newer format.

If you are linking the cell to a different workbook or another application such as Word, the information will update the next time you open the document or spreadsheet. You will get a warning box saying that the information has been changed and asks whether or not you want to update. In order to keep continuity, always say yes.

Please feel free to ask questions. Good luck and enjoy using Excel...

More by this Author


No comments yet.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article