I currently operate under Windows XP and have multiple links between my Word and Excel files. I have to upgrade to Windows 7. When the .doc and .xls files are converted to .docm and .xlsm, respectively, the links no longer work. The Word document is still attempting to point back to the old .xls file rather than the new file.

Also, creating new links between Word and Excel within Office 2010 doesn't seem to work. I create the new link, switch it from "Auto" to "Manual" and everything works fine. But when I copy the files to another folder, the Word document is still trying to link to the file in the previous folder rather than the new folder. This always worked in Windows XP.

I've been using linked Word/Excel documents for 10+ years and have never really had a problem. I'm very careful to maintain Word and Excel filenames when moving the files to a new folder. The process has always been to 1.) move the files, 2.) update the links, 3.) rename the files, and 4.) update the links again.

It's my understanding that under Windows XP, links between Word and Excel are relative. But under Windows 7 (and Office 2010?), those same links become fixed.

  • Although not a direct answer to your original question, have you thought about showing field codes and doing a find and replace to fix the links? – Adam Sep 30 '13 at 8:33
  • I understand you need to upgrade to Windows 7, but why do you need to upgrade to *.docx/*.xlsx? Office 2010 supports the old *.doc/*.xls just fine. – Dmitry Grigoryev Apr 5 '15 at 22:37

There is a tool that can help: http://www.datamystic.com/excelpipe

One of its features: Migration of documents when a server is renamed or replaced and all Excel spreadsheet links need updating. I used it when i was migrating loads of files.


You can press Alt-F9 in Word. This will show full link path. Do a global replacement of old path with a new path. Pay attention to how path name is formed and use \ as a path delimiter. Press Alt-F9 again to revert back to regular view. After that select everything with Ctrl-A and press F9 to update all the links.


You can try to use change source button from External links menu.

  • Open the old file
  • Save as .xlsx (potentially in a different folder)
  • If the destination file is open at that time, then the links are adjusted to the new file
  • If the destination file is closed, then open » edit links » change source pointing to the new one » update values.

No need to switch auto update to manual after all.

  • Using the "Change Source" button within the Edit Links screen did not work. The links just reverted back to their old source file. Another issue I have with this solution is that my Word document has 100+ links, and trying to change the source file for each one would take a considerable amount of time. – DOUG NEEDHAM Oct 2 '13 at 15:37

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