If you open an Excel spreadsheet containing external hyperlinks, when you click the link, Excel will check that the link is valid (i.e. doesn't return a 404 error) before actually opening it in the browser.

This is utterly maddening for me and I cannot for the life of me figure out why the developers could have ever fathomed that this would be a remotely good idea.

The side-effect is that hyperlinks take a longer time to open, and/or cannot be opened at all if Excel's connection to your network is blocked (e.g. by a firewall).

I have tried disabling all the options in the "Trust Center" that relate to links but nothing has helped.

How can I turn off link checking in Excel forever?

  • Good question didn't know it did that. You could you google docs though. – Griffin Mar 8 '13 at 1:08
  • What do you expect or want to happen "if Excel's connection to your network is blocked (e.g. by a firewall)"? – Scott Mar 8 '13 at 1:18
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    It should act like any other application and simply launch the default program associated with the link's protocol (e.g. "http://" = web browser). – WackGet Mar 8 '13 at 2:42

A registry setting can change this behavior and force Excel to simply launch URL's in the default browser. There could be security implications, so be sure to read the following article carefully and decide if it's the right thing for you to do.


I ran the "Fix it for me" application after several unsuccessful attempts to manually make the registry edits.

Now my hyperlinks launch in the default browser, without the pre-check, regardless if it's clicked by the user, or programmatically launched in VBA.

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    You are my hero. Although the regardless if it's clicked by the user, or programmatically launched in VBA part is really stupid of Microsoft. Thanks. – WackGet May 2 '13 at 3:34
  • It works! I just want to note that the registry key is HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\9.0\Common\Internet for Excel 2007, 2010 and 2013 (so do not change it to Office\15.0, etc.) – EM0 Dec 1 '15 at 23:36
  • With Office 2016 (or whatever the latest is as of posting this), I had to manually edit `...\Office\16.0` for it to work. – TheWanderer May 12 '20 at 14:11

Excel finds out what the link points to / returns - another excel file, a word document, a web page etc and then opens that in the respective application or itself. This is desired functionality.

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    Right, except while you call it desired functionality, I call it needless interference. If my spreadsheet is full of http hyperlinks to other spreadsheets, they should open via the browser as normal and Excel should not attempt to "intercept" them. But this is especially true when it's an external URL and the extension is not an Office document. – WackGet Mar 8 '13 at 2:44
  • There is no way to tell what mime type the content returned by a hyperlink will be without retrieving it. The extension is not sufficient. – Brian Mar 8 '13 at 13:32

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