Create links in Google Sheets to external destinations

We know that Google Sheets supports text and numbers in its cells. But, at times we may need to navigate to beyond the spreadsheet application. In this article, we explain how, in Google Sheets, insert link to external destinations. There are two ways to accomplish this task.

Use HYPERLINK formula

Google Sheets comes with an inbuilt formula that lets us create links to destinations probably on the internet. Here’s the syntax:

HYPERLINK(url, [link_label])

  • url – the link or URL of the image.
    • This must be enclosed in double quotes if entered as text. It can also be a reference to a cell that holds the URL.
    • The URL protocols that this formula supports are http://, https://, mailto:, aim:, ftp://, gopher://, telnet://, and news://. Anything else is not allowed.
    • If we do not provide any protocol, it defaults to http://, and accordingly prepends it to the URL.
  • link_label – is an optional parameter. This is what the users see as a display text to the URL. If we ignore this, the formula displays the URL itself, but with a clickable link.

Let us consider various use cases of this formula. Please see the snapshot below.

google sheets insert link 1

Clicking on these generated links takes us to the Google home page, outside the scope of the Google Sheets spreadsheet.

The first three examples are self-explanatory. The last one is a little peculiar. Please note that we have given an empty string (as opposed to nothing) for a link_labelparameter. Despite the result not having any display text, the HYPERLINK formula still returns a working link. We can see that by hovering the mouse hover onto the cell B7.

Use menu option Google Sheets insert link to external destinations

For those who are not very keen on using the HYPERLINK formulas, we have an alternative option in the graphical user interface. To insert a link in a particular cell, select it, then navigate to Insert > Link [or press Ctrl + K (Cmd + K for mac)].

google sheets insert link 2

We will then see a pop-up window that has more options than the HYPERLINK. Incidentally, this menu option can accommodate the URLs as well. We just have to key in the URL in the link field as shown in the image below.

google sheets insert link 3

We then click on the Apply button, which will essentially insert a link using the HYPERLINK formula.

google sheets insert link 4

Congratulations! We just successfully learned how to insert a link in Google Sheets to external destinations using both HYPERLINK formula and also the menu option: Insert > Links. Read through the following blog post to learn how to import tables from the web to Google Sheets.

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