Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Chapter 16: Intentional Circular References
In This Chapter
General information regarding how Excel handles circular references
Why you might want to use an intentional circular reference
How Excel determines calculation and iteration settings
Examples of formulas that use intentional circular references
Potential problems when using intentional circular references
When most spreadsheet users hear the term circular reference, they immediately think of an error
condition. In the vast majority of situations, a circular reference represents an accident —
something that you need to correct. Sometimes, however, a circular reference can be a good thing.
This chapter presents some examples that demonstrate intentional circular references.
What Are Circular References?
When entering formulas in a worksheet, you occasionally may see a message from Excel, such as
the one shown in Figure 16-1. This message is Excel’s way of telling you that the formula you just
entered will result in a circular reference. A circular reference occurs when a formula refers to its
own cell, either directly or indirectly. For example, you create a circular reference if you enter the
following formula into cell A10 because the formula refers to the cell that contains the formula: