How to Use Hyperlinks to Quickly Move Between Sheets in Microsoft Excel

The busier a Microsoft Excel workbook is, the more ways you need to move around it. Check out these shortcuts to help you move between sheets.

Image: Sai/Adobe Stock

Move in a Microsoft Excel workbook is not difficult if you only have a few sheets. This is because Excel displays sheet tabs at the bottom of the screen. Simply click on a tab to activate that sheet. The more sheets you add, the more likely Excel is to hide certain sheet tabs.

When this happens, you don’t need fewer sheets, you need more ways to access the sheets. In this tutorial, I will show you several ways to quickly switch between sheets in an Excel workbook.

I’m using Microsoft 365 on a 64-bit Windows 10 system, but you can use older versions of Excel and Excel for the web.

SEE: Windows, Linux, and Mac commands everyone should know (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

How to Use Shortcuts to Move in Excel

The default number of sheets in an Excel workbook is three, but there is no limit to the number of sheets a workbook can have. Your system’s memory may limit the number of sheets, but not Excel. Without limits, moving through a busy workbook can quickly become tedious. Fortunately, Excel offers shortcuts.

Moving between the first sheets is easy. Simply click on a tab at the bottom of the screen (Figure A). There’s a big inherent problem with this method: you can’t click on tabs you can’t see. Switching to another sheet is no longer a quick click, but it’s still not difficult.

Figure A

Selecting tabs in Excel to move between sheets
Figure A: Click on a tab to switch to another sheet.

On the left, you can click the back and forward arrows (circled in figure A). For each click, Excel moves a sheet’s tabs left or right, exposing tabs you might not otherwise see. If your workbook contains dozens of sheets, this method is not particularly useful because it may take several clicks to reach the desired sheet.

Using the sheet list is a faster method. To do this, right-click the back and forward arrows area to display a list of sheets (Figure B). Click on a sheet to activate it immediately. If the dialog cannot display the full list, Excel will add a scroll bar to the right. Even if you have to scroll through dozens of sheets, it’s still fast.

Figure B

Activate the menu in Excel.
Figure B: Use this list of sheets to quickly activate a sheet.

The sheet list can become your best friend if you need to move many sheets in the same Excel workbook. There are shortcuts that you might also find useful:

  • Go to the first sheet: hold down the Ctrl key and click the left arrow.
  • Move to the last sheet: Hold down the Ctrl key and click the right arrow.
  • Move a sheet to the right: Ctrl + PgDn. Continue to hold down the Ctrl key and press PgDn to continue moving to the right.
  • Move a sheet to the left: Ctrl + PgUp. Keep holding Ctrl and Pres PgUp to keep moving left.
  • Move to a specific sheet: Press F5 to open the Go To dialog box. The reference parameter will show the active sheet and cell. Rewritten on it (Figure C) and click Go. The required exclamation mark is a separator between the sheet and the cell reference. The only advantage of this method is that it also activates a specific cell.

Figure C

Creating a reference between sheets in an Excel workbook.
Figure C: Use Go To when you want to specify the sheet and cell.

How to Use Hyperlinks to Move in Excel

Hyperlinks are a type of shortcut that only requires a quick click. If you find navigating around using tabs and keyboard shortcuts a bit cumbersome, you can try hyperlinks. A hyperlink is specially formatted content that responds to a click by opening a file, webpage, or moving the cursor to another location within the same file.

To illustrate, add hyperlinks to a sheet one at a time. First, click on the Insert tab, then click on the Link drop-down menu in the Links group. From the drop-down list, choose Insert Links at the bottom of the list.

In the resulting dialog box, click Place in this document in the link bar (far left). In the Or select a location in this document list, click the sheet you want to link to (Figure D).

Figure D

Insert Hyperlink menu in Excel
Figure D: Select a sheet.

Click OK to return to the hyperlink displayed in Figure E. Simply click the hyperlink to immediately activate Sheet4.

Figure E

hyperlinked sheet reference in Excel
Figure E: Excel inserts a hyperlink to the selected link.

Stay tuned

Chances are you want a full list of sheet hyperlinks. In a future article, I’ll show you how to create a quick list of hyperlinked sheet names using Microsoft Power Query.

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