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An important value in some worksheets is that so called bottom line number, that number that we sometime see in a lower right-hand corner of the worksheet, the one that brings together all the different formula results. Let's imagine that in cell L27 here is one of those Totals. A quick look at its contents simply means that it is getting totals out of one of two other cells whichever is larger, so L11 or K27. Sometimes the question comes up, where does this data come from? And we answer the question immediately by referring to those two cells.
But each of those cells might have formulas in them. This one to the left is part of that. It has got a formula that refers to other cells. So sometimes what we want to do is answer the question, where does this cell get its data from? Let's highlight all cells that in anyway if altered might affect this Total in the lower right-hand corner. And we can do this in one of two ways. A keystroke shortcut that will highlight all the cells in this worksheet that if altered might affect this is Ctrl+Shift+Left Bracket.
And all these highlighted cells contain either formulas or text which if altered, have an impact or can have an impact on cell L27. Quite a few. Now, you could possibly print this or apply color to it. A better approach in terms of the visuals if you want to keep these onscreen and show these to others perhaps is to use on the Formulas tab in the Formula Auditing Group, the choice called Trace Precedents. Click it once. It refers to those cells that immediately have a reference to the cell.
Keep pressing Trace Precedents and we'll see in successive layers more and more and more of these. Eventually, you'll will either hear a beep or see that no more lines and arrows are appearing. So in this worksheet, as we scroll up and down here, those cells that have blue dots in them or arrows or both, if altered can affect this cell here. When we're using this feature for tracing precedents, the cell that we're looking for the precedents of, if that's the way we can say it, it must have a formula in it.
This feature also will allow us to track onto other worksheets. If there are formulas here that get data from other worksheets. So this is referred to as Tracing Precedents, using the keystroke shortcut, Ctrl+Shift+Left Bracket or more easily used and pretty fast, the Trace Precedents choice in the Formula Auditing group in the Formulas tab of the Ribbon.
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