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Tracing formula precedents and dependents

From: Excel 2007: Financial Analysis

Video: Tracing formula precedents and dependents

Excel includes a number of very useful tools you can use to ensure your formulas incorporate the proper values. One of those tools give you the ability to determine which cells are used in which worksheet formulas. Cells can play two roles in a formula, as a precedent or as a dependent. A cell that is precedent supplies its value to the formula in another cell. A dependent is a cell that contains a formula and has other cells providing values to it. Displaying a cell's precedents indicates which other cells provide the formula's inputs. Now you can see the two cells here, B3 and B4 in this simple example, but say you had a more complex formula, you can still use this technique to determine where the values are coming from.

Tracing formula precedents and dependents

Excel includes a number of very useful tools you can use to ensure your formulas incorporate the proper values. One of those tools give you the ability to determine which cells are used in which worksheet formulas. Cells can play two roles in a formula, as a precedent or as a dependent. A cell that is precedent supplies its value to the formula in another cell. A dependent is a cell that contains a formula and has other cells providing values to it. Displaying a cell's precedents indicates which other cells provide the formula's inputs. Now you can see the two cells here, B3 and B4 in this simple example, but say you had a more complex formula, you can still use this technique to determine where the values are coming from.

So, to display precedents, you go to the Formulas tab and then in the Formula Auditing group, you click Trace Precedents. You'll see that we have cells B3 and B4 as advertised that are highlighted with a dot. There's a line with an arrow and it goes to the cell that contains the formula that uses those two values. So that is how you trace dependents. When you're done doing the tracing, you can go back up to the Formula Auditing group, click Remove Arrows and the arrows disappear. So let's see how it works for dependents.

On this worksheet, we have Bonds, Notes and Loan Interest and we have a Total. This is a company's monthly debt service for the year 2009. If you want to see which cells use the value from cell B3 as part of its formula, you can click cell B3, again, on the Formulas tab and in the Formula Auditing group, click Trace Dependents. You'll see that once again you have the blue circle. The line draws an arrow to the cell that uses the value as part of it's formula. To remove the arrow, you go up to the ribbon and click Remove Arrows.

Now tracing precedents and dependents also works for values that are on other worksheets. So, for example, here in cell B5, I have a loan interest and that is on the Interest worksheet, which is the one we looked at previously. If you want to see which cell contains that value, you would select it, click Trace Precedents. Tracer arrows can also show you when values have been drawn from other worksheets. So, for example, on this worksheet, we have cell B5, which draws its value from the Interest worksheet.

So, if you click cell B5 and then go up to Trace Precedents to see where it draws its value from, Excel shows you this indicator, which tells you that the value is drawn from another worksheet. It can also be from another workbook entirely, but in this case it's just from another worksheet in the same workbook. So, to display that value, you click the line, the Go To dialog box appears and you can select the location to which you want to go, click OK, and it takes you to the Interest worksheet, cell B6, which is where the value came from. Identifying a cell's precedents and dependents will help you discover and correct many formula inaccuracies.

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Excel 2007: Financial Analysis

51 video lessons · 14017 viewers

Curt Frye
Author

 
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  1. 2m 6s
    1. Welcome
      1m 8s
    2. Using the exercise files
      32s
    3. Disclaimer
      26s
  2. 13m 20s
    1. Separating inputs and formulas
      2m 2s
    2. Avoiding common mistakes
      5m 39s
    3. Tracing formula precedents and dependents
      2m 52s
    4. Evaluating Excel formulas step by step
      2m 47s
  3. 18m 40s
    1. Tracking income and expenses using an Excel table
      3m 29s
    2. Creating a Pivot Table from table data
      3m 36s
    3. Pivoting a Pivot Table
      2m 22s
    4. Filtering a Pivot Table
      3m 11s
    5. Adding Pivot Table columns to enhance data analysis
      3m 5s
    6. Tracking cash flow using a Pivot Chart
      2m 57s
  4. 18m 48s
    1. Reading a corporate financial statement
      6m 1s
    2. Introducing common-sizing strategies for analyzing financial statements
      3m 59s
    3. Creating common-sized income statements
      3m 1s
    4. Creating common-sized balance sheets
      2m 53s
    5. Calculating percentage changes in financial statements
      2m 54s
  5. 8m 12s
    1. Calculating earnings per share
      1m 54s
    2. Calculating return on equity and return on assets
      2m 50s
    3. Calculating gross profit margin and net profit margin
      3m 28s
  6. 6m 19s
    1. Calculating the current ratio and quick ratio
      2m 47s
    2. Calculating the average collection period
      1m 56s
    3. Calculating inventory turnover
      1m 36s
  7. 6m 12s
    1. Calculating the equity ratio
      1m 26s
    2. Calculating the debt ratio
      2m 57s
    3. Calculating the times interest earned ratio
      1m 49s
  8. 10m 58s
    1. Calculating simple interest and compound interest
      3m 36s
    2. Applying nominal versus effective interest rates (APR versus APY)
      3m 21s
    3. Calculating the number of days between events
      4m 1s
  9. 13m 32s
    1. Computing the future value of an investment
      3m 30s
    2. Calculating present value
      2m 29s
    3. Calculating net present value
      2m 42s
    4. Calculating internal rate of return
      2m 24s
    5. Calculating NPV and IRR for uneven input periods (XNPV and XIRR)
      2m 27s
  10. 7m 30s
    1. Projecting future results using the Forecast function
      2m 9s
    2. Performing quick forecasts using the Fill handle
      2m 57s
    3. Adding a trendline to a chart
      2m 24s
  11. 22m 28s
    1. Introducing amortization
      2m 20s
    2. Calculating payments on a fully amortized loan
      2m 21s
    3. Calculating payments on a partially amortized loan (balloon payments)
      2m 4s
    4. Calculating interest and principal components of loan repayments
      5m 32s
    5. Introducing depreciation
      2m 1s
    6. Calculating straight line depreciation
      1m 30s
    7. Calculating declining balance depreciation
      3m 24s
    8. Calculating double declining balance depreciation
      3m 16s
  12. 9m 34s
    1. Introducing bonds and bond terminology
      1m 37s
    2. Calculating a bond's yield
      2m 15s
    3. Calculating the value of zero coupon bonds
      3m 18s
    4. Pricing bonds to be offered to investors
      2m 24s
  13. 23s
    1. Goodbye
      23s

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