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.


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