Phantom Links in Microsoft Office Files

Users have reported to us that LinkFixer Advanced “sees” (and reports) more links than they are able to find in their Microsoft Office files.

When you are dealing with file formats at the level necessary to do what we do at LinkTek, and when you do it all day long, you run into all kinds of interesting phenomena.

So we investigated.

We had a few questions like: What are these links that our software is finding but no one else sees? Is LinkFixer Advanced seeing “dead people”? (I have a dog that my wife and I are convinced sees dead people — or at least she thinks she does.)

I had a couple of our software engineers look at the raw data contained in files sent to us by customers who had reported this paranormal file activity. Long story short, we have come to the conclusion that these phantom links do exist in the files when LinkFixer Advanced reports them. (Whew! The software is not delusional after all.)

This is a LinkFixer Advanced report showing two broken links instead of one. So what’s important about this? Keep reading to find out.

Ghost-ChainTurns out that these ghostly links are relics left over from times that they were modified using the application (for example, Excel). In essence, they are earlier iterations (versions) of links, and are no longer actually doing anything.

We did the following test: We modified a link in an Excel file using Excel 2013. We just opened the Excel file and made a change to part of a link.

Beware of the phantom file link!

The result was a duplicated link that was reported by LinkFixer Advanced but not visible in the file itself. (The link does nothing.) On the other hand, if instead of modifying the link using Excel, we delete it entirely and replace it with a new correct link, no “phantom” link is created.

It is important to note that phantom links only happen when modifying links directly inside the Microsoft Office application. If you have LinkFixer Advanced modify your links, no phantoms are created.

We have never figured out why the Office applications retain the internal data that leads to these phantom links. Fortunately, phantom links do not have any adverse effect on your files (that we know of) nor on the operation of LinkFixer Advanced.

Do you have questions regarding this article? Let us know in the comments below or e-mail us at: [email protected]

Try Now!

Related Posts

SharePoint 2010: The First Cut is the Deepest

Aug 17, 2020

Sometimes, no matter how much you love something, there comes a time when you simply have to let it go. Sadly, this is the current fate of SharePoint 2010’s Workflow feature.

Read More

The SharePoint Blues and the Broken-Links Shakedown

Aug 11, 2020

If you’re reading this, then chances are you’ve either (1) been put through the SharePoint wringer, which turned out to be a bigger beast than anticipated and now you’re in search of anything…

Read More

Missing Data Damnation

Jul 29, 2020

LinkFixer Advanced is literally the magic wand you’ve been looking for. This powerhouse can be deployed either before, during or after any of the above situations, magically locating broken links, and then repairing them effortlessly.

Read More
Software Update

Latest Release of LinkFixer Advanced™ Streamlines Cloud Data Migrations

Jan 27, 2020

Clearwater, Florida, USA — LinkTek Corporation, the world’s leading provider of automatic link-fixing software, announced the release of LinkFixer Advanced version 5.3. According to LinkTek,…

Read More
Computer Server

Newest Release of Automatic Link Fixing Software Simplifies the Process of Protecting Links When Moving to SharePoint On-Premise or Online

Oct 2, 2018

LinkTek’s newest release of LinkFixer Advanced features a significant improvement that the company says will save its customers countless hours by eliminating the need to…

Read More
One Note Icon

LinkFixer Advanced Now Supports Microsoft OneNote and Project Files

Apr 25, 2017

LinkFixer Advanced is patented software which protects file links and automatically fixes broken links after files are moved or renamed. (Clearwater, Florida, USA) May 4, 2017…

Read More