Microsoft Office Tutorials and References

In Depth Information

**Auditing Formulas**

Double-clicking a tracer arrow activates the cell on one end of the line.

Doubleclicking again activates the cell on the other end.

Tracing precedents and dependents can lead to some interesting conclusions

about a worksheet. Complex formulas can be difficult to follow, but by

displaying tracer arrows, you can better see what is going on. Figure 4-15 shows

a piece of a worksheet used in a comprehensive financial solution. The active

cell, H2, has a complex formula in it, as you can see by looking at the Formula

Bar. The tracer arrows show that numerous precedents are feeding the

formula in the active cell.

When a cell references a cell on a different worksheet, an icon that looks like

a worksheet appears at the end of the precedent line. This serves as a visual

clue that the formula is composed of values from more than the current

worksheet.

Figure 4-15:

Examining

the

components of

a complex

formula.

The tracer arrows make it easy to see the values that are feeding the formula

and, therefore, make it easier to look for the source of a problem. For example,

cell H2 may be returning a negative number as an answer. The formula adds

certain values together. Positive numbers added with a negative number may

return a negative number as the result of the calculation. Therefore, just

looking for a negative number among the values at the end of the tracer arrows

may help identify the problem, perhaps within just a few seconds!