Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Tracing Dependent Cells.

Tracing Dependent Cells

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 8, 2018)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


You can use the tools on the Formulas tab of the ribbon (in the Formula Auditing group) to determine relationships between cells in your worksheet. For instance, you might want to determine which cells refer to a value in a particular cell. All you need to do is select the cell in question and then click on the Trace Dependents tool. If there are any other cells that refer to the selected cell in a formula, Excel draws arrows between the cells. This allows you to graphically see the relationship between cells.

If you click on the Trace Dependents tool again, Excel displays not just the direct dependents, but the first level of indirect dependents as well. Clicking your mouse on the Remove Arrows tool removes one of the levels of auditing arrows. If you only want to remove some of the arrows, click the down-arrow to the right of the Remove Arrows tool to see your options.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8626) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Tracing Dependent Cells.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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