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Selecting all cells that depend on the active cell

From: Excel 2010 Power Shortcuts

Video: Selecting all cells that depend on the active cell

Here is a worksheet that's a bit of a mess, and it's your responsibility to make this worksheet work for you. It's got some vital information in it. Maybe you are relatively new with it. You are trying to figure out what's going on. One bit of information that's really helpful is to figure out which cells depend upon others, and that can be a very tedious task if you approach it manually. Maybe you've scoped out this worksheet a bit and you more or less figured out that cell B3 is pretty important. One of the things you would like to find out is which cells depend upon this value.

Selecting all cells that depend on the active cell

Here is a worksheet that's a bit of a mess, and it's your responsibility to make this worksheet work for you. It's got some vital information in it. Maybe you are relatively new with it. You are trying to figure out what's going on. One bit of information that's really helpful is to figure out which cells depend upon others, and that can be a very tedious task if you approach it manually. Maybe you've scoped out this worksheet a bit and you more or less figured out that cell B3 is pretty important. One of the things you would like to find out is which cells depend upon this value.

For example, if we go to cell B7. We can look in the formula bar or double- click and see that there is a reference to B3. So, we know that if we change B3, B7 probably will change as well. It depends upon the nature of the formula too. But if B3 changes, B7 will change. So, maybe we write that down and we start to go to another cell, and then this maybe scary thought occurs to us. If B7 changes then we now have to consider other formula somewhere that might refer back to B7. Here is a formula refers to B7. So this depends on B3 as well.

It's going to take us a long time to figure out which cells might change if B3 changes. We'd like to trace the dependence of this cell, and we want to do it painlessly. There are two ways to do this. One is the keystroke shortcut, and then another is a built-in command that's easy to get to. Here's the cell in question. Let's quickly highlight all the other cells in this worksheet that depend upon this cell. Simply, press Ctrl+Shift+Right Bracket and all the other highlighted cells, and we can scroll up and down and see them, they are highlighted for the moment, are dependencies of cell B3.

Some of them have formulas that have references to other cells as well. So, you can't make the case for saying these cells depend only on B3, but they do have a dependency on B3. If it's really important to you, you might immediately apply a color to them. Maybe go back to the Home tab, click this button right here, and add a background color or something. That's certainly something you could do. But if you want to start tracing the dependencies of other cells, you are probably going to have some confusion here, but that's certainly one technique.

Another technique, much more obvious, not exactly a shortcut but pretty fast to get there is to go to the Formulas tab and here is a choice that says Trace Dependents. Now, when you click this you might say "Well, yeah, but that didn't highlight all the cells, did it?" No, it takes those cells that immediately refer to B3. Keep clicking this button, there we go, and then click it again and again and again and again until you either hear a beep or you stop seeing the appearance of new arrows and buttons.

Now, this is much more dramatic than the previous approach. We can say that every cell that has a blue dot or an arrow in it does have a formula that in one way or another traces a dependency back to cell B3. We might jokingly say here to print this to show that you've been busy. If you are going to start trying to check the dependencies of other cells, the best approach here probably is either after you've printed it or copied it somehow, then remove the arrows before proceeding with checking another cell's dependencies.

But there is no question that this is an auditing tool that's really helpful. I don't envy anybody who has to do auditing, but this gets the job done pretty quickly. Again, Trace Dependents or press Ctrl+ Shift+Right Bracket. One other aspect to this too. In the current situation, there are no formulas here that refer to any of these cells in another worksheet. But I am going to remove the arrows here and set this up on purpose. Suppose there is another cell in a different worksheet that has a dependency on one of these cells that maybe as dependent upon B3.

So, I am going to go to another worksheet. This worksheet right here, click on this cell, and type =, then go down to the worksheet that we just came from, the Formulas tab, click it, and click on this cell and press Enter. So, here is a formula here that gets data from that other sheet. Now, I want to go back to the other sheet, click this cell again, trace its dependents, click, click and what do we see here.

A dotted line with this grid looking icon here that refers to another sheet. If you see this what you will do is double-click the dotted line and you'll see the reference to the other sheet. Now, it could be also to another workbook if you have a formula in another workbook that refers to these cells. If we double-click this right here or click it then click OK, it will take us to that particular reference. So, you can see how powerful this is and how valuable it is in some situations. It won't go a second level.

If that other cell in the other worksheet has a formula that works off a bit, we won't see that and initially unless we go check that cell's dependents. Here, too when we finally either printed this or taken stock of what's going on here, we'll simply remove the arrows. So, tracing dependents by either pressing the keystroke shortcut or using this feature on the Formulas tab. Great tool for auditing worksheets.

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This video is part of

Image for Excel 2010 Power Shortcuts
Excel 2010 Power Shortcuts

64 video lessons · 17350 viewers

Dennis Taylor
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 37s
    1. Welcome
      1m 17s
    2. Using the exercise files
      20s
  2. 22m 45s
    1. Entering data or formulas in non-adjacent cells simultaneously
      2m 28s
    2. Converting formulas to values with a simple drag
      2m 34s
    3. Copying data or formulas down a column instantly
      2m 56s
    4. Adjusting all or selected column widths or row heights in a flash
      2m 21s
    5. Instantly displaying all worksheet formulas
      3m 16s
    6. Two quick shortcuts for creating charts
      1m 18s
    7. Print Preview
      1m 7s
    8. Instant date or time entry
      1m 16s
    9. Undo/Redo/Repeat
      3m 19s
    10. Zooming in and out quickly
      2m 10s
  3. 7m 37s
    1. Expanding and collapsing the Ribbon and Full Screen view
      1m 23s
    2. Keyboard command access
      2m 22s
    3. Quick Access toolbar display tips
      3m 52s
  4. 14m 30s
    1. Split screens and frozen titles in a flash
      5m 56s
    2. Repeating title creation and suppression
      6m 17s
    3. Customizing your display of Status Bar totals
      2m 17s
  5. 11m 31s
    1. Navigation shortcuts
      2m 30s
    2. Tips for navigating between workbooks
      3m 48s
    3. Navigating within worksheets
      5m 13s
  6. 11m 12s
    1. Selecting an entire row, column, or worksheet
      3m 20s
    2. Selecting noncontiguous ranges and visible cells only
      4m 39s
    3. Selecting the current region and moving around region corners
      3m 13s
  7. 22m 16s
    1. Accelerating data entry
      6m 27s
    2. Auto-Fill techniques for entering dates
      4m 59s
    3. Auto-Fill techniques for entering times
      2m 37s
    4. Custom lists for rapid entry
      5m 54s
    5. Cell editing tips
      2m 19s
  8. 12m 38s
    1. Copy/Move acceleration tips
      3m 27s
    2. Worksheet Copy/Move shortcuts
      2m 29s
    3. Dragging and inserting variations
      3m 47s
    4. Instantly displaying Paste Special options
      2m 55s
  9. 29m 31s
    1. Rapid formula creation
      3m 48s
    2. Selecting all cells that depend on the active cell
      5m 24s
    3. Selecting all cells that can affect the active cell
      2m 38s
    4. AutoSum shortcuts
      2m 57s
    5. Rounding shortcuts
      5m 14s
    6. Generating random numbers
      3m 16s
    7. Counting unique entries
      3m 11s
    8. Performing calculations without formulas
      3m 3s
  10. 17m 4s
    1. Controlling rows and columns
      5m 50s
    2. Realigning imported text
      2m 27s
    3. Handling blank cells
      4m 20s
    4. Collapsing and expanding detail
      4m 27s
  11. 28m 8s
    1. Formatting numbers
      6m 49s
    2. Aligning data
      3m 49s
    3. Adding background color for readability
      3m 43s
    4. Formatting data conditionally
      1m 54s
    5. Creating custom formats
      6m 23s
    6. Formatting periods over 24 hours
      3m 2s
    7. Applying strikethroughs and borders
      2m 28s
  12. 25m 46s
    1. Sorting shortcuts
      2m 40s
    2. Cleaning up spaces
      4m 47s
    3. Identifying duplicates
      6m 10s
    4. Splitting columns
      3m 57s
    5. Ensuring unique entries
      2m 46s
    6. Forcing dates to be weekdays only
      3m 56s
    7. Displaying unique items from large lists
      1m 30s
  13. 18m 38s
    1. Placing and adjusting charts
      2m 37s
    2. Creating chart titles from cell content
      2m 22s
    3. Creating and manipulating shapes
      5m 31s
    4. Linking and unlinking pictures
      8m 8s
  14. 9s
    1. Goodbye
      9s

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