Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 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

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 8, 2018)

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 Office 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Changing How Links are Activated

Got some active links in your document? Do you want to have them activated when you click on them, or do you want to ...

Discover More

Changing the Language of Comment Boxes

In most instances Word makes it relatively easy to change the language associated with your document text. This is ...

Discover More

Inserting Multiple Graphics in a Document

Word allows you to easily place graphics in a document. Placing one or two graphics is easy, but placing many graphics in ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Leaving Trace Precedents Turned On

The Trace Precedents auditing tool can be quite helpful in seeing which cells "feed into" a particular formula. The ...

Discover More

Turning Off Speech Capabilities

Excel can talk to you, reading back whatever you enter into a cell. If you want to turn this capability off, you'll want ...

Discover More

Finding the Analysis ToolPak Add-In

The Analysis ToolPak is used to add some very handy capabilities to Excel. If you don't have it installed, and you can't ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five more than 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.