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Hey, Watch It!

Friday, May 4th, 2007 by | Filed Under: MS Excel, MS Office Help

Hey, Watch It!

Do you work with large MS Excel worksheets?

If so, do you ever find that you’re doing a lot of scrolling around, trying to keep an eye on a formula that’s way off in the far reaches of the worksheet? I mean, you change a value and then immediately start scrolling to see how it affected the formula. What a waste of time!

How would you like a more simple solution? Maybe a way to easily see what’s happening with the formula’s output, while you change values and without scrolling.

I’m all for that!

What we’re going to examine today is Excel’s Watch Window.

The Watch Window is a feature used to keep track of the results of cells in the spreadsheet when it recalculates. In other words, as you change values, it displays the requested cells so you can see the changes without actually going to the cell(s) to take a look.

To use Excel’s Watch Window, you simply need to open it with the Tools menu, Formula Auditing submenu, Show Watch Window choice. If you have the Formula Auditing toolbar displayed, it’s this button:

Either way, once you’ve displayed the Watch Window, you’ll be looking at this (except the center of the window will be empty):

Now, it’s just a matter of selecting the cell with the formula you need to keep an eye on and clicking the Add Watch button at the top of the Watch Window.

The window that follows is to confirm or adjust the cell that you’d like to add:

Click Add to confirm or change the cell address in the field and then click Add again.

Instantly, the cell’s information, including its location, formula and current value are displayed in the center of the Watch Window. As you make other data changes that affect this cell’s value, you will see the changes here, instead of a lot of wasted time moving all over the worksheet.

You can repeat the process to keep an eye on several cells at once.

To remove a watched cell from your list, simply click on one in the list and then hit the Delete Watch button.

With the Watch Window, you can find yourself watching multiple values without wasting an ounce of effort or a second of time. I love efficiency, don’t you?!

~ April

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