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Word with linked excel file not working as expected

Word with linked excel file not working as expected

Helen H.1
New member | Level 1

I have created a word document with 2 linked excel tables. It was working fine before I put it into Dropbox, changes in the excel tables were immediately updated in the word document. But once I put it in a shared folder in Dropbox my friend on his computer (both Macs) opened the word document but the links to the excel spreadsheet were no longer linked and the tables had to be copied and pasted into word again. Can anyone explain why it was?

5 Replies 5

Re: Word with linked excel file not working as expected

Richard P.
Super User alumni

Can anyone explain why it was?

Excel and Word use absolute paths to embedded documents (meaning that if its in your Documents folder, then the path includes *your* username), and that path would have changed once the files were on your friends computer (as the path to the same files would have *his* username in it), meaning the paths that Word was using to fetch the data were no longer valid (as Dropbox does not update the paths in the Word document, and Word doesn't do it, so its now looking in the wrong place).

There isn't any way to resolve this, its an MS Office issue.

Re: Word with linked excel file not working as expected

Helen H.1
New member | Level 1

Ok, so once the link has been set up again on his computer, will it all work ok now? I.e. If I do edits on my Mac will it all come through to his OK or will he have to keep putting the links back in? I still don't quite understand it 

Re: Word with linked excel file not working as expected

Richard P.
Super User alumni

Its not going to work at all, because the moment you update the links on his computer those changes will be synced to your computer, breaking your copy...

The only thing you can do is take the Word document out of Dropbox, keep the Excel files in Dropbox, and on both computers update the Word document to point to the Excel documents on that computer - the Word document won't be synced (as its not in Dropbox) but the Excel documents will (as they are in Dropbox), so the links won't break and the Excel files can be updated with new data.

Re: Word with linked excel file not working as expected

Rick M.
Experienced Collaborator | Level 13

Only way is to make both computers (e.g both PCs) have the same paths: move the location of dropbox folder to c:\ourdropbox  so that all users can access all of dropbox.

Re: Word with linked excel file not working as expected

Helen H.1
New member | Level 1

Thanks so much, I think I'll do my best with the limited calculations I can do in Word and drop the link to the excel file. At least I know know that I'm wasting my time keep trying to make t work.

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    Helen H.1 New member | Level 1
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    Rick M. Experienced Collaborator | Level 13
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    Richard P. Super User alumni
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