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“A cell reference refers to a cell or a range of cells on a worksheet and can be used in a formula so that Microsoft Office Excel can find the values or data that you want that formula to calculate,” according to Microsoft.

BC Networks offers Microsoft Support in San Francisco Bay Area, including MS Excel training. This article is based on video produced by the company. Learn tips and tricks on how to link cells and cell ranges in a single workbook or in a separate workbook.

In this tutorial, you can learn:

  • Why linking data is useful
  • How to link data in the same workbook
  • How to link data between workbooks

Why Would You Want to Link Spreadsheet Data?

Creating links, also called external cell references, eliminates manually entering the same information in multiple places. This saves time, reduces errors an improves the reliability of your data.

For example, product prices may be stored in a worksheet called “Master Price List” and other sheets might link to it. A sales manager could use detailed sheets for each salesperson and then create a summary sheet that compares performance and adds up total sales.

How Does Linking Spreadsheet Data Work?

“Some of the most useful and time-saving features in Excel are the options to link data across worksheets…including how to link several worksheets in one workbook,” according to a comprehensive video tutorial from BC Networks.

An Excel link, or external cell reference, dynamically pulls data from one worksheet into the same workbook or a new workbook. It’s written like a formula.

The worksheet that contains the data is called the source worksheet; the external cell reference is written in the destination worksheet which copies the data in the source. For added convenience, if the source data changes, so does the destination worksheet cell when it’s opened.

How Can You Create a Worksheet Link?

Open the destination worksheet and all workbooks that contain source worksheets. Make sure they’re open the same Excel window. There are a few ways to create the link; here’s the easiest:

  1. Go to the destination worksheet and select the cell that you want to contain the link. Type an equal sign but don’t press enter.
  2. Now, in the source worksheet, select the cell that contains the data you want to copy. Press enter.
  3. Excel takes you back to the destination worksheet where are you can now see the desired data.

How Can You Link a Range of Cells?

If you want to link a range of cells, simply select them then click copy. Within the destination sheet, select the cell where the upper-left cell of the chosen range should appear. Right-click and select Paste Link.

The contents of the source cells will now appear in the destination worksheet. Each cell will have its own link back to the source worksheet.

BC Networks: Microsoft Support in San Francisco Bay Area

San Jose-based BC Networks provides managed IT services and Microsoft support in San Francisco Bay AreaContact us today for more information on how we can transform your business and make your employees more productive.