HYPERLINK function returns "Cannot open specified file"

New Contributor

I am trying to use the HYPERLINK function but to no avail. I have exhausted all the standard help available on this, but I cannot figure out what is wrong, Here is an example of the syntax I am trying to use to hyperlink to a cell on the same tab of a spreadsheet: =HYPERLINK($U$14,"Table 20-09"). When I use the Insert Hyperlink functionality, it works fine. However, I have to use the HYPERLINK() function because it needs to work dynamically (with a passed cell reference). The sheet is not protected (at this point). Using Office 365. A solution to this problem will be greatly appreciated.

23 Replies

Hi @Jan Grobbelaar


Do you have a sample screen shot to share?




best response confirmed by Jan Grobbelaar (New Contributor)
=HYPERLINK("#$A$3","Somewhere in the same worksheet")


=HYPERLINK("#'ANOTHER SHEET'!$A$3","Somewhere in another worksheet")

if you want a dynamic link in cell A3, put


then, the hyperlink function

=HYPERLINK($A$3, "Somewhere pointed by Cell A3")
Thank you very much!
Thank you for offering to help, but I got the problem resolved.
Nice one guys! Willy, haven't seen you in a while. Good to see you around.

Have a great weekend all!


Hi Damien,

my hyperlinks dont go to the corresponding sheet. all get errors.

i have tried different hyperlink formulas. please see my screenshots.

for example, in my first screenshot, when i select the first (blue) link at the top of the screen, i get "an unexpected error has occurred.

i get the same response when i select the (black) link under it.

the thrid image show my spreadsheet in its whole.

can you see what is causing the errors?

thanks for your help.

Hi @Jamie Sutherland



Give this formula a try for linking within the same workbook:



In terms of using other cells to piece together a hyperlink (this example uses , copy and try:

=HYPERLINK("#"&"'" & B3 & "'!" & A1, "Go To Sheet")


See how you go?




Hey Damien,

thanks for getting back to me. curiously, both hyperlinks give me "an unexpected error has occurred". i'm starting to think there may be a bug in MS Excel.

Hi @Jamie Sutherland


Not sure what the issue is. Try simulating in a new Workbook to see if you still have the same issue?


Check your tab doesn't have any spaces in the name as well.


Otherwise, might need to log a support ticket with Microsoft?


Hope you figure it out! Let me know if any of the above works?




actually, i can use your formulas on a new excel workbook, just not in my existing workbook. as you will see in the attached jpg each tab/sheet is a single name

Hi @Jamie Sutherland


I was suggesting that sometimes, accidentally, a space could be after the sheet name which isn't visible to the eye but might be sitting there as space is a character.


Anyway, the only other option I can think of to fix the issue is to recreate your sheets in a new workbook and see if that fixes the problem which is not ideal but may be worthwhile in the long run.




Hi, This did solve my problem with the error messages I was getting but its not dynamic and moving when rows are added in. Please, can you help?


=HYPERLINK("#Sheet1!A20", "Fuel Systems")


@Damien Rosario 

You may try
=HYPERLINK("#Sheet1!" & ADDRESS(ROW(A20),COLUMN(A20)), "Fuel Systems")

Hi @Jan Grobbelaar ,  I know this thread is a bit old, but I just spent some time working out how to make the Hyperlink formula fully dynamic -- so that Users can rename worksheets without breaking the links -- and thought you may be interested.  This formula to access "#'Change Log'!$A$1" works as I expect:


=HYPERLINK(CHAR(35) & CHAR(39) & REPLACE(CELL("filename", 'Change Log'!$A$1), 1, FIND("]", CELL("filename", 'Change Log'!$A$1)), "") & CHAR(39) & CHAR(33) & "$A$1", "Go to Change Log")


I would be interested if anyone can simplify this and still retain the dynamic nature.


Cheers, Wayne

@Willy Lau I tried the formulas but can't seem to get it to work in Office 365.

What I am trying to do is create a hyperlink to a changing cell in the next screen. 

=INDIRECT(CONCATENATE("'Lines Parts'!",ADDRESS(1,SUM(COUNTA('Lines Parts'!$A$1:$ZZ$1)))


Currently that formula returns the value of the cell that I am trying to hyperlink to. Each month, it will need to change to the new column of data, as we register it month over month. 


When I tried to hyperlink it, it says "Cannot open the specified file". 


@Jan Grobbelaar 

I have found that this error frequently occurs when I try to hyperlink to a file. Sometimes the containing folder is displayed in Explorer but the file does not open. This seems to be a problem with the file association mechanism and the opening strategy of the target program. In my case I was trying to open a .jpg file, which I normally associate to FastOne.exe. When I changed the association to Irfanview.exe, all worked OK. I realise that this isn't a complete workaround, but may help where, for example, the target program can be a generalised file reader.

@Damien Rosario 




am getting this error msg when i am trying to do hyper link with in a work book 


can you please help me out with your expertise


Hi @Josephbennet 


Hope you are well.


Give this one a go:



Good luck


@I All, I have created an interactive workbook however keeping getting an error as above (cannot open the specified file)


The hyperlink I have is: =HYPERLINK("["&Setup!$E$6&"]'Employee ("&E8+1&")'!E8","next employee ("&E8+1&") >>")


Essentially what should happen when I click on it is that it will go to the next empoloyee's data or a previous employees data.


Any help would be appreciated, thank you!