Friday, November 15, 2013

Excel Quirk

I came across a new hyperlinking quirk in Microsoft Excel today.  I was entering some numerical values into a spreadsheet and then linking them to a PDF.  I've done this hundreds of times without any problems, but today I ran into a quirk.

Some of the PDFs had a pound sign in their name (i.e. claim_check#1).  Excel would accept the hyperlink but refused to open the file. I got the infamous "Cannot open file" error each time I clicked on the hyperlink.  I was stumped until I realized that Microsoft treats the # sign as a bookmark holder when hyperlinking. 

When your hyperlink points to an Excel spreadsheet or Word document, you can instruct the link to open a particular bookmark within your application.  This is done by placing a # sign immediately after the hyperlink address, as shown below.

When Excel saw the # sign in the name of my PDF, it couldn't find the corresponding bookmark because there wasn't one.  So, I got the error.  Who knew?  So, when naming your PDFs or other documents, avoid the # sign if you plan to hyperlink to them in Word or Excel.

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