Working with Trace Precedents from the Excel spreadsheet auditing toolbar

Excel offers various spreadsheet auditing tools including that of the spreadsheet auditing toolbar. The main function is to help you identify cells worked with and for which purposes as this will help you track errors and find the cause of the errors. The spreadsheet auditing toolbar is thus most helpful to identify causes of errors and to then rectify them. It can be viewed by following a few simple steps.

Below a full YouTube tutorial on the Auditing Toolbar including the Trace Precedent feature

  • ¬∑On the Menu bar select Formula and then Formula Auditing .

The Trace Precedents button on the toolbar is used for identification of cells being used for a formula. When you click on a cell and then on the Trace Precedents option a blue line will appear that will indicate what cells are used in the formula in the highlighted cell through the use of line arrows. If you want to remove the arrows simply select Remove Precedent Arrows or make use of the Remove All Arrows option.

What if the cell selected looks at a worksheet other than the one currently on?

A dotted line appears and you can be taken to the relevant worksheet by double clicking on the dotted line. The GO TO option dialogue box opens and you can select the worksheet where you want to go to. Once selected, it will take you to the relevant spreadsheet.

You can follow the steps through our Tips & Tricks Video on using Spreadsheet Auditing. The short video also addresses other buttons on the auditing toolbar such as the Trace Dependents tool which is useful for identifying patterns in a worksheet.