Trace precedents cells from one cell in Excel

There are occassions when a formula in cell is dependent on another cell which too has a formula.

In this case, the value of the current cell is dependent on some other cell which is not directly related to the current cell.

Now the correctness of the cell's value can be easily verified since it depends on only two cells.

Consider another case, in which the cell depends on more than two or three cells.

In this case, it will be difficult to verify since the user has to go step by step from last referred cell to the first and also, it is not practical to do so, in case of calculations involving complex values.

This difficulty is eased by a feature in Excel called as "Trace Precedents".

The "Trace Precedents" helps in finding the source of the error in a cell containing formula.

There are two types of cells used with Trace precedents.

1.Precedent Cells

2.Dependent Cells

Precedent Cells

Precedent Cells are cells that are referred to by a formula in another cell. For example, if cell D10 contains the formula =B5, cell B5 is a precedent to cell D10.

Dependent Cells

Dependent Cells contain formulas that refer to other cells. For example, if cell D10 contains the formula =B5, cell D10 is a dependent of cell B5.

The following description demonstrates, how to use trace precedents.

1.Select the cell that contains the formula for which you want to find precedent cells.

2.To display a tracer arrow to each cell that directly provides data to the active cell, on the Formulas tab, in the Formula Auditing group, click Trace Precedents

excel trace precedents cells from one cell

Blue arrows show cells with no errors. Red arrows show cells that cause errors.

If the selected cell is referenced by a cell on another worksheet or workbook, a black arrow points from the selected cell to a worksheet icon

The other workbook must be open before Excel can trace these dependencies.

3.To identify the next level of cells that provide data to the active cell, click Trace Precedents again.

4.To remove tracer arrows one level at a time, starting with the precedent cell farthest away from the active cell,

on the Formulas tab, in the Formula Auditing group, click the arrow next to Remove Arrows, and then click Remove Precedent Arrows.


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