Tracking Changes & Watch Window

Tracking changes in Excel

Many a time there are people working on Excel who are switching between worksheets and workbooks to determine what has changed. This manner is time consuming and extremely hard work, for those still using this method its time to employ the use of the Excel watch window. The Excel watch window is a tool that allows you to track cells, more often than not the cells containing formulas, while working on a different part of a spreadsheet or an entirely different spreadsheet. The watch window also allows you to monitor changes made to Excel cells in another workbook.

To utilize watch window Most Excel versions have the watch window function and can be added to the top of your spreadsheet by going to View on the Excel menu, selecting Toolbar and then selecting watch window. You can also right click anywhere on the gray toolbar and select the watch window toolbar from there. Quicker ways to display the watch window is to use the button on the Formula auditing toolbar. Right clicking on any cell in a worksheet will enable you to select Add Watch from a short list.

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Once the watch window toolbar has been added to the top off your spreadsheet it is a simple process that has to be followed to start tracking cells. On the toolbar you will notice there is a button that says Add Watch, click on this button and a dialogue box will appear that states: ‘Select the cells that you would like to watch the value of’ there is a box underneath in which you can type the cell reference in. Finally click Add.

Once you have added a cell you will see the information in the watch window under the following headings:

  • Book: this specifies what workbook the cell is located in
  • Sheet: the sheet in the workbook
  • Name: if the cell is named
  • Cell: the reference for the cell for example H19
  • Value: the value in the cell
  • Formula: the formula in the cell

Removing a cell from the watch window function is as easy as selecting the cell from the watch window list and clicking the Delete Watch button. This function is also able to monitor cells in other workbooks but will only be displayed if the workbooks are open. If you close a workbook well a cell is being watched it will be disappear from the watch window list. To close the watch window at any time you can select Tools, Formula Auditing and Hide Watch Window.

Training for Excel

The watch window function is only one of a vast number of functions that most Excel packages have to offer. These function were specifically designed to make your Excel work experience as efficient as possible. In having the knowledge to utilize this package to its full potential you will save your business an immeasurable amount of time and you will avoid spreadsheet errors that cause the loss of thousands of rands.

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