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!
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