Tame your computer – simple cell check

28 May

Are you using somebody else’s Excel files, but don’t have a clue what’s going on? Or perhaps the formulas in the workbook are rather complicated and all over the place, making it hard to tell which cells are used.

Maybe you use the Show Formulas button or the (rather unintuitive) keyboard shortcut CTRL+` (see tip  238 if you don’t know what I’m talking about) but did you know you can display arrows that indicate what cells affect the value of the currently selected cell or those cells that are affected by the value of the currently selected cell?

Here’s how:

  1. Select the cell you want to check.
  2. On the Formulas tab in the Formula Auditing group, click on the Trace Precedents button to display arrows that indicate what cells affect the value of the currently selected cell.  AND/OR
  3. On the Formulas tab in the Formula Auditing group, click on the Trace Dependents button to display arrows that show those cells that are affected by the value of the currently selected cell.

A blue tracing arrow is displayed, connecting the selected cell to each of its precedents or dependents, assuming, of course, that the cell has a precedent or dependent.

When you double-click the blue line the cell you toggle between the two cells.

To remove tracing arrows from a worksheet, click on the Remove Arrows button in the Formula Auditing group on the Formulas tab, or click on the arrow next to the Remove Arrows button and click on Remove Precedent Arrows or Remove Dependent Arrows.

By the way, we’re celebrating ten years of top tips to help you ‘tame your computer’. My enthusiasm for making technology work well for people has never waned and I look forward to continuing to help you make the most of your software. You can see the latest tip and a ‘shortcut of the week’ at www.roem.co.uk.  The full archive can be found on http://roem.co.uk/hints.php.  If you would like to start the week with your own copy of the weekly tip, please send a blank email to subscribe@roem.co.uk.

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