Microsoft Excel Security Warning Data Connections Have Been Disabled

When using Microsoft Excel, upon opening a file, you may see the following message:

Security Warning: Data Connections Have Been Disabled

This warning message is disconcerting, annoying, and in most cases unnecessary.

While Excel can have active data connections with other files and cloud-based data sources, sometimes there can be old data connections that aren’t necessary.

Perhaps at one point you imported a CSV file into columns on an existing sheet. That import session may be saved under connections, even though there isn’t actually a dynamic real-time connection to the long-ago-deleted CSV file.

Follow these steps to remove unnecessary data connections from Excel files:

  1. Make a backup of your spreadsheet file.
  2. On the Data menu/ribbon click on Connections. A visual of this is below from Excel 2016 for Mac. See the Connections option under the Data tab.
  3. You’ll see a list of current data connections as shown below. Remove any that aren’t in use. Keep in mind that this probably won’t have any negative impact, unless you’re using a more complex spreadsheet workbook (like at work) that actually uses active data connections. Notice in the example below, there are no locations in the workbook where the data connection is being used. So, it’s just unnecessary at this point.


4 thoughts on “Microsoft Excel Security Warning Data Connections Have Been Disabled”

  1. I tried this…….. one connection was shown as “\My” I couln’t get rid of it because the “Remove” button was greyed out. Any idea what this might be how to remove it?

    1. If you can share a screen shot, it would be easier to see what you’re talking about. Perhaps you could use or to upload the image then put the share link here. Or, if you’d like to follow-up offline, used the contact form on this website to get further help.

      1. Thanks for getting back to me. About a week after my post I did the same again, ie selected Data then Connections, in the Workbook Connections pop-up box the same connection “\My” was still there in the Name column but this time the “Remove” button was enabled and I was able to delete the connection. Don’t know what is was but it’s gone now.

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