Linking text boxes

A trick to allow copying between sheets

Linking to a text box in a sheet is straightforward, unless you want to copy that linked text box to another sheet and retain the link. Here is how you do it.

Standard Technique

To link to a text box you click the text box and then click in the Formula Bar and press = and then click the cell to link to and press Enter.

This works OK on the sheet but if you copy the text box to another sheet it links to the same cell in the other sheet. If that’s what you want, great. If it isn’t then you need to use this technique.

Text box copy technique

Click the text box click in the Formula Bar and press = then instead of clicking on the current sheet click on another sheet tab and click a cell in another sheet then return to the current sheet and then click the cell you actually want to link to and press Enter.

By doing it this way the sheet name is included in the link and that ensures the link is kept when you copy the text box to another sheet.

You could also manually type the sheet name into the Formula Bar, but using the mouse is much easier.

The Art of Possibility (2002)

A great book to help you think about things a little differently and hopefully act a little differently too.

Some great ideas and stories, highly recommend.

I listened to the audio book version which had the added benefit of music.

Fix date format

On a recent Webinar I was asked a question about an unusual date structure that was imported. The structure was not recognised by Excel as a date. Here is formula that fixes it.

Below is an example of the date issue.

The formula in cell B2 is


As you can see the dates in column A are left aligned. That is a clue that they are not recognised as dates in Excel. Dates are right aligned.

The SUBSTITUTE function replaces the full stop between the numerals with a / and makes it look like a date.

This isn’t sufficient as the SUBSTITUTE function will return text. The *1 at the end converts the text date in to a real date that Excel recognises.

Note: Power Query can also automatically fix dates like these when it imports data.