Last Updated on April 25, 2024

One of the important areas we cover in our Office 365 SharePoint training programs is the sharing, moving, or replacing of documents. A common issue users have is the links in the documents break in the process of moving or replacing files.

The easiest solution is to ensure you understand how to manage files in your Document Library so that you retain the same file format when replacing or overriding a file. This will help avoid issues that can occur when moving or duplicating a file to a new location.

If you replace a file with a new document in a different format, the links will change, be removed, or become broken. An example of this scenario might be if you try to replace a ‘.doc’ file with a ‘.pdf.’

Simply checking that you are using consistent file formats can help avoid issues with links embedded within your documents.

Replacing a File in SharePoint and Retaining Links

The correct process for replacing a file so that it preserves links is as follows:

  1. Find ‘Document Library’ in SharePoint and locate the file you wish to replace.
  2. Navigate to ‘Libraries.’ Select ‘Media Library’ if your file is a video or graphic, or ‘Document Library’ for a word document, spreadsheet, or PDF.
  3. Double-click the relevant item and click ‘Edit Details.’
  4. Use the Browse function to find the replacement file. Make sure you are using the same file format as the original file or document.
  5. Review the information, such as file name.
  6. Click ‘Save.’

It is advisable to clear your cache or open a new browser before testing your document links to ensure you aren’t viewing the stored version associated with the previous file.

How to Move SharePoint Documents Containing Links

Whether you want to create a survey in SharePoint and circulate it to collaborators, export files to a different Document Library, or share specific files, a document with broken links can cause delays and frustration for your colleagues.

Broken links are more common when sharing files than when replacing or updating documents. This is because if you select the Share button and transfer a file to another SharePoint site, the links can become broken. When this happens, other users receive a notification that the item does not exist when they try to click the link.

However, this issue does not affect the process of transferring files to a new folder within the same Document Library or another library within the same site.

Moving a SharePoint File to an External Site

Here are the steps to take to move a file to a separate library in another SharePoint site and preserve the working links in the file:

  1. Right-click the file in your Document Library that you want to share.
  2. Select the name of the user you want to share the file with.
  3. Click ‘Send.’
  4. Right-click the same file name and select ‘Move To.’
  5. Choose the appropriate destination from your list of SharePoint sites.
  6. Pick the relevant destination library, checking the box that allows you to share the file with the same people.
  7. Click ‘Move Here.’

Your collaborators or coworkers will have access to the file in the new location. The links will continue to function as intended, and all users will receive a notification advising that the file was moved, and to which site and Document Library.

Once you know how, replacing or transferring files in SharePoint without breaking those precious links will be easy and take no time at all.

About The Author

Microsoft Certified Trainer and Consultant specializing in Office 365, Microsoft SharePoint, Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate, Microsoft Access, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Visio, Microsoft Office Development, and Crystal Reports. In Glenn's career as an independent consultant, he provided network design, implementation and administration, database development, support services and training for several firms in the greater Philadelphia area.

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