Use PowerPoint’s Edit Links to Files to Break, Update or Change Excel Links

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated March 15, 2021

Applies to: Microsoft® PowerPoint® 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365 (Windows)

If you want to break, update or change links to Excel charts or worksheets in PowerPoint, you’ll need to use the Edit Links to Files command. Unfortunately, this command is difficult to find. To make it easier to access, you can add Edit Links to Files to PowerPoint’s Quick Access Toolbar. If you decide that you want to break links to external Excel files, be sure to make a copy of the file first because you can’t undo the break links command.

Also, if you break links to charts, this can result in a reduction in the size of a presentation.

Note: The links discussed in this article are not hyperlinks. For more information on hyperlinks, check out the article How to Insert, Edit and Remove Hyperlinks in PowerPoint.

Recommended article: How to Compress PowerPoint Presentations (10 Ways to Reduce File Size)

Do you want to learn more about PowerPoint? Check out our virtual classroom or live classroom PowerPoint courses >

Accessing Edit Links to Files in the Ribbon

To access Edit Links to Files in the Ribbon in PowerPoint:

  1. Save the presentation. If you’re going to break links, always save a copy of the presentation.
  2. Click the File tab in the Ribbon and then click Info.
  3. In the bottom right corner or the window, under Related Documents, click Edit Links to Files. This command will appear only if links exist and you have saved the file.

Below is the Edit Links to Files command in PowerPoint (which is similar in later versions):

File Info in PowerPoint with Edit Links button.

Adding Edit Links to Files to the Quick Access Toolbar

If you’re going to work with links regularly, you may want to add Edit Links to Files to the Quick Access Toolbar:

  1. Click the arrow on the right side of the Quick Access Toolbar (this toolbar appears above or below the Ribbon). A drop-down menu appears.
  2. Select More Commands. The Options dialog box appears.
  3. From the drop-down menu below Choose commands from, select All Commands.
  4. In the list of commands on the left, click Edit Links to Files.
  5. Click Add.
  6. Click OK.

Edit Links to Files will appear on the Quick Access Toolbar. It will become active when you have inserted a linked chart, worksheet data or other object and saved the file.

Below is the Options dialog box in PowerPoint (which is very similar in all versions of PowerPoint):

Options dialog box in Microsoft PowerPoint with the Edit Links button being added to the Quick Access Toolbar.

Breaking links

To break links:

  1. Save a copy of the presentation (if you’re going to break links, always save a copy of the presentation).
  2. In the copy, click the File tab in the Ribbon and select Edit Links to Files or click Edit Links to Files in the Quick Access Toolbar. The Links dialog box appears.
  3. Click the link you want to break.
  4. Click Break Link.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Repeat for other links.
  7. Click Close.

Below is the Links dialog box:

Edit Links dialog box in PowerPoint 2010.

Updating links

When you open a file with links, a dialog box appears with a prompt to update the links. Click Update Links to update automatic links.

To update links using the Links dialog box::

  1. Save the presentation.
  2. Click the File tab in the Ribbon and select Edit Links to Files or click Edit Links to Files in the Quick Access Toolbar. The Links dialog box appears.
  3. Click the link you want to update.
  4. Click Update Now. You can also select the Automatic Update checkbox to automatically update when the file is opened.
  5. Repeat for other links.
  6. Click Close.

Changing the source of a link

If the source file has been moved or renamed, you will need to change the source.

To change the source of a link:

  1. Save the presentation.
  2. Click the File tab in the Ribbon and select Edit Links to Files or click Edit Links to Files in the Quick Access Toolbar. The Links dialog box appears.
  3. Click the link you want to change.
  4. Click Change Source.
  5. Navigate to the new location of the file and click on it.
  6. Click Open.
  7. Click Close.

If you choose to link to Excel files in PowerPoint, you’ll often need to manage the links. Before you send files to clients or coworkers, you may also want to break the links.

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More resources

How to Insert Linked or Unlinked Excel Worksheet Data into PowerPoint

How to Insert an Excel Chart or Graph into PowerPoint (LInked or Unlinked)

How to Embed a YouTube Video in PowerPoint

10 Ways to Compress PowerPoint Presentations to Reduce File Size

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Microsoft PowerPoint: Intermediate / Advanced

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Microsoft PowerPoint: Accessible PowerPoint Presentations

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Microsoft Excel: Intermediate / Advanced

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Summary
How to Break, Update or Change Links to Excel Charts or Worksheets in PowerPoint
Article Name
How to Break, Update or Change Links to Excel Charts or Worksheets in PowerPoint
Description
If you want to break, update or change links to Excel charts or worksheets in PowerPoint, you’ll need to use the Edit Links to Files command. Unfortunately, this command is difficult to find. To make it easier to access, you can add Edit Links to Files to PowerPoint's Quick Access Toolbar.
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Avantix Learning Inc.

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