Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Audit a Formula to Locate Errors
Audit a Formula
to Locate Errors
If you know or suspect that a formula error is
caused by an error in another cell, you can
audit the formula to locate the cell that is
causing the error.
If a formula error is the result of referencing
other cells that contain errors or inappropriate
values, you must determine which cell is
causing the error. This is straightforward if the
formula references only a single cell, but it
becomes progressively more difficult as the
number of references increases.
To determine which cell is causing the error in
your formula, you can use the auditing features
in Excel to visualize and trace a formula’s input
values and error sources. Auditing operates by
creating tracers — arrows that literally point
out the cells involved in a formula. You can
use tracers to find three kinds of cells:
precedents, which are cells that are directly or
indirectly referenced in a formula; dependents,
which are cells that are directly or indirectly
referenced by a formula in another cell; and
errors, which are cells that contain an error
value and are directly or indirectly referenced
in a formula.
Trace Precedents
1 Click the cell containing
the formula whose
precedents you want to
trace.
2 Click the Formulas tab.
3 Click Trace Precedents.
Excel adds a tracer arrow
to each direct precedent.
4 Repeat step 3 until you
have added tracer arrows
for all the formula’s
indirect precedents.
2
3
1
2
3
Trace Dependents
1 Click the cell containing
the formula whose
dependents you want to
trace.
2 Click the Formulas tab.
3 Click Trace Dependents.
1
Excel adds a tracer arrow
to each direct dependent.
4 Repeat step 3 until you
have added tracer arrows
for all the formula’s
indirect dependents.
 
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