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Excel/invalid references


"Hi Bob

I worbkbook that I have been using for many years has suddenly started to display this messasge when I try to save it:

“A formula in this worksheet contains one or more invalid references…”

The workbook is quite large and complex.  The information that informs all of the functions and charts is placed in one single worksheet.  This worksheet is changed every new academic year to reflect new students who arrive at the shcool.

This is the only change.  Structurally e.g column heading, formulas...nothing else changes.

I have done some reading.  It seems that this is quite a difficult problem.

Do you know of any code that might identify these invalid references?

Thanks in advance.

Chris Mitchell"


Yes the invalid reference error message can be a bit difficult to find.  I have a couple of workbooks that I get that message in that I haven't bothered to fix, becaue they are working fine and finding the error can be problematic and time consuming.

Here is an answer you may have run across that could help--this is offered by shane Devenshire in another excel forum--

"That dialog box give you an option to Edit Links, choose it.  Then look at the Status column - it will be telling you that there is a reference to a Source not found.  It will show you the filename on the far left under Source.
If you click Open Source a dialog box will display showing where it is trying to find the file  C:\My Documents\book1.xlsx  ....
This will tell you the name and location of the file Excel is trying to find.  If the file name or location has changed and you know it you should go back to the Edit Links dialog box by choosing Data, Edit Links and you should use Change Source to find and select it."

One thing to keep in mind is that any reference to an outside workbook/sheet that no longer has the same address or path because it is or has been eliminated will result in that error message  I usually forget this, and even though I am not using an outside reference it still may be in one of my old formulas.  Youc an also get the message if any of your chart references have changed, so I suggest that you check those for errors.

Those would be my suggestions, hope they help.

Good luck

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Richard Roberts


Can assist you in most areas of Excel, have been working with it for about 15 years in many types of applications, but primarily in financial and accounting applications. I am a CPA and many client or client problems have necessitated the use of excel. I am not an expert in charting, macros, or pivot tables.


Have been working with Excel for about 20 years primarily in accounting and financial areas.

BA, Certified Public Accountant

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