Linked data types FAQ and tips

There's a lot you can do with linked data types. Whether you want to reference connected data types in a formula or simply learn about some of the limitations, check out the content below for more details on how to make the most of linked data types.

Tips and tricks

Open a card:

Press Ctrl+Shift+F5 for Windows or Cmd+Shift+F5 for Mac.

Add a column:

Press Alt+Shift+F10 to open the Insert Data menu. You can also press the Ctrl or Cmd key. Then use your arrow keys to move to a field, and press Enter to choose a field.

Note: If you've opened a workbook with data types and see the error "This data type may not be available to you," see the section How can I access linked data types below.

Getting started for the first time? Check out these helpful articles:

  1. Convert text to a linked data type in Excel

  2. Use the Data Selector to specify data types

  3. View and insert data from a data type

Linked data types connect to an online data source. Once you convert text to a linked data type, an external data connection is established in the workbook. That way, if the data changes online, you can update it by refreshing it in Excel. To refresh the data, right-click a cell with the linked data type and click Data Type > Refresh. That will refresh the cell you selected, plus any other cells that have that same data type.

If you want to refresh all linked data types and all data connections that may be in the workbook (including queries, other data connections, and PivotTables), click Data > Refresh All or press Ctrl+Alt+F5.

With data type cards, you can extract more than just your typical values. Some data type cards, such as those for the Movie data type, includes images that you can insert into your workbook. These images are inside the cell.

Convert text to a data type by selecting the cell and going to Data tab > Data Types group > Automatic.

Once converted, an icon will appear in the left of the cell value. Select it to view the card.

In the card, hover over the image and you'll see the Insert Data  Add Column button  icon. Select this to insert the image into your workbook.

The image will scale to fit within the cell. To resize it, simply adjust the row or column to increase the size of the cell. 

Tip: To view the source attribution of the inserted image, right-click the image and select Show Card.

You can switch out the information for a linked data type in two ways: 

Right-click menu: Right-click the cell you want to change > select Data Type > Change.... A pane will appear on the right. Search for the data you want, and then Select to put that information in place of the original one.

From the gallery: Select the cell(s) you want to change, go to the Data tab and in the Data Types group, choose a different data type.  

If you don't want the linked data type anymore, just right-click the cell, and click Data Type > Convert to Text. The data type is removed, there's no longer an online connection, and the value in the cell is converted to text. Keep in mind that if you convert the data type to text, any column or formulas that had extracted values from that data type will display the #FIELD! error.

It is also possible to write formulas that use the values from the linked data types. This can be helpful if your data is not in a table. For more information, see How to write formulas that reference data types.

Filter menu, Display Value menu, fields from linked data type listed

You can always sort and filter data in Excel by using the filter buttons on the column headers. (Turn on filter buttons by clicking Data > Filter.)

But here's a tip for cells with data types: Click the filter button above the cells with icons. Then decide how you want to sort or filter. If you want to do so using the displayed name, keep Display Value selected under Select field. If you want to sort or filter by another field from the linked data type, select that field under Select field.

In this example, we selected the field Area. Excel then used that as a basis for the filter check boxes below, and displays the populations for the countries we have in the table. Also good to know: Excel will change the Number Filter menus depending on the field you select under Select field.

Frequently asked questions

In order to access data types that link to external sources of data such as Bing, Wolfram, and more, you must meet these requirements:

  • Have an active Microsoft 365 subscription.

  • Have the English editing language added to Office Language Preferences

Are you getting an error message when trying to access data types?

If you get the message, "You can't access data types in this workbook." on a data type:

You may not be logged in with your subscription account. If you are, this data type may not be available to you yet, as data types are rolling out gradually.

Note: To get the latest updates first, you can join the Insiders Beta channel. See When do I get the newest features for Microsoft 365? to learn more.

If you get the message, "You may not meet the requirements or have the correct license" when refreshing the workbook or data type, or are trying to change a data type:

You may have opened a workbook with data types in a version of Excel that only supports viewing linked data.  For example, the workbook contains the Stocks data type so you can still view the card or access fields. However, you won't be able to refresh or change the data type.

To use these data types, make sure you're logged in with your subscription account and your apps are up to date. You can also use this workbook in Excel for the web.

Linked data types pull in reliable data from online sources. Once you've converted a data type, you can view the source of the information by selecting the data type icon to open the card view. If you scroll down, you will see the source. For example, you may see Bing, Wolfram, etc.

To see what linked data types are currently available, see What linked data types are available in Excel?

We’re continuously working to improve Excel data types. If you can't find a word, the data is incorrect or missing, or you can't achieve your task… we want to know! We’ll use your valuable feedback to make the experience and the feature better.

What feedback are we looking for?

  • Data quality (wrong, inappropriate, incomplete etc. data)

  • Data coverage (missing data)

  • Your experience (using data types and the data)

  • Suggestions and ideas

For feedback on data quality

  1. Once you convert to a data type, select the data type icon in the cell to open the card.

  2. Scroll to the bottom of the card and select the flag icon.

  3. Fill out the short survey and submit it. The more specific you are, the easier it is for us to understand the issue and fix it.

Select the flag icon at the bottom of the card.

For feedback on data coverage

  1. Once you convert to a data type, you may get a blue question mark in the cell. This means we had trouble finding a match. Select this icon if the Data Selector hasn't already opened.

  2. the Data Selector pane, select Give feedback.

  3. Fill out the short survey and submit it. The more specific you are, the easier it is for us to understand the issue and fix it.

For general data type feedback or suggestions

You can also send general feedback from directly in the Excel app about your overall experience using data types.

  1. Go to the Help tab > Feedback. See How do I give feedback on Microsoft Office for more details.

  2. Tell us what you like or dislike, or have suggestions about. Submit the form with as much detail as possible.

Yes. Select a cell with a linked data type, then press CTRL+C to copy it. Press CTRL+ALT+V, and then choose Values. This will paste the data type into the new cell, but the data won't be refreshable.

Yes, but they need to use Excel for Microsoft 365 and be on the Insiders Fast channel.

Note: This feature is being made available to customers on a gradual basis over several days or weeks. It will first be available to Office Insider participants, and later to Microsoft 365 subscribers. If you are a Microsoft 365 subscriber, make sure you have the latest version of Office.

At this time, only Excel for Microsoft 365 supports linked data types. Other versions of Excel may eventually support these data types, as we are continually improving Excel. If you open these new data types in a version of Excel that doesn't support them, #VALUE! will appear for those cells. And #NAME? will appear in place of any formulas that reference these data types.

You cannot select a cell with a data type, and drag the fill handle down to link up text that's not already a data type. The same thing goes for the Format Painter. However, if you are using these data types in a table, you can type under the last row of the table. When you press Enter, Excel will automatically attempt to match your text with online data, and convert it into a data type. It will also do this if you aren't using a table. Just make sure the cell you are typing in has two or more cells above it that already use a data type.

Some traditional Excel features may not function well with linked data types. For example, if you try to create a PivotTable based on information from these data types, you'll get a #VALUE! error. And, using these data types with Power Pivot, Power Query, or even some charts may not work as expected. 

At this time, these data types are only available if you have the English editing language added to your Office Language Preferences. We hope to support more languages in the future.

More about linked data types

Discover more from Wolfram

Excel data types: Stocks and geography

Use Organization data types from Power BI

Create a data type (Power Query)

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