Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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 Precedent Cells.

Tracing Precedent Cells

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 8, 2018)

Excel allows you to display precedent cells in much the same way as you do dependent cells, as described in a previous tip. All you need to do is select the cell whose precedents you want to see, and then click the Trace Precedents tool on the Formulas tab of the ribbon (in the Formula Auditing group). Excel graphically displays arrows that show the relationship between the selected cell and any other cells in the worksheet. If you click on the tool again, the next level of precedent cells are displayed.

Precedent arrows are removed either by clicking on the Remove Arrows tool or by clicking the down-arrow to the right of the Remove Arrows tool and choosing one of the options there.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8627) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Tracing Precedent 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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