Word 2013 – How to remove links to other files

If you see the following message when opening a Word document it means the document has been linked to another document, most likely a spreadsheet.

“This document contains links that may refer to other files. Do you want to update this document with the data from the linked files?”


See Word 2013 – How to link an Excel spreadsheet to see how these documents are linked.

Issues can occur when the linked file has been moved or delete. The linking also stops Adobe Acrobat from combining the file with other files.

The steps below show how to unlink the Word document from the other file.

  1. With Word open, click on the ‘FILE’ menu then click on ‘Options’
  2. Word2013-AutomaticallyUpdateLinkedFile1
  3. On the left hand side click on ‘Quick Access Toolbar’
  4. Under ‘Choose commands from’ select ‘All Commands’
  5. Scroll down until you see ‘Edit Links to Files’ and select it
  6. Click on the ‘Add’ button to add it to the quick access toolbar.
  7. Click ‘OK’ to save the changes,
  8. Word2013-UnlickFiles1
  9. You’ll now find a new icon for ‘Edit Links to Files’ in the quick access toolbar at the top left of Word.
  10. Word2013-UnlickFiles2
  11. Click on the ‘Edit Links to Files’ icon
  12. The ‘Links’ window will open and will list all the files that are linked to the document.
  13. Select the file you want to unlick and click ‘Break’
  14. Click ‘OK’ to save the changes.
  15. Word2013-UnlickFiles3
  16. The file will now be unlinked. It will remain in the Word document as a picture.

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5 comments on “Word 2013 – How to remove links to other files

  1. I followed the instructions on how to break links to files and applied them successfully. When I was done, I saved the file and closed it and word. Today I opened the file and to my dismay, found that all the links are back and the icon for editing links is grayed out, not available. Would someone be able to help with this issue? this is rather frustrating since I have a 2000 page document with probably about 20 links to other documents per page. I have no idea how to create macros, tried and failed, and am at a complete loss at this time.

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