In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the formula auditing features available in Excel, including Trace Precedents, Trace Dependents, Show Formulas, Error Checking, and Evaluate Formula.
Excel is a powerful tool for data analysis and reporting. Additionally, it is particularly essential that users have the ability to audit formulas so that their data is accurate and reliable. With formula auditing in Excel, this feature is used to ensure the accuracy of calculations and results in a spreadsheet. We will be going over all of the features of Excel Auditing in detail, including the benefits of using each tool, how to use them, and best practices for ensuring the accuracy of your formulas.
The Trace Precedents feature in Excel is used to show the cells that are used in the calculation of a particular formula. This tool is useful when you want to understand the relationships between cells in a spreadsheet and identify which cells are being calculated from.
To use Trace Precedents, simply select the cell with the formula you want to audit and click the ‘Trace Precedents’ button under the ‘Formulas’ tab. The tool will display lines pointing toward the selected cell to indicate that those cells were used in the calculation. This allows you to see which cells contribute to the calculation of the formula, making it easier to spot any errors or inconsistencies.
In the example above, the tool is used to know where it got the data to calculate Cash to Close. It used the cells from data from Purchase Price, the Down Payment % and the Est. Closing Costs.
The Trace Dependents tool in Excel is used to show the cells that use a particular cell in their calculation. This feature is useful when you want to see the impact a change in one cell may have on other cells in the spreadsheet.
To use Trace Dependents, select the cell you want to audit and click the ‘Trace Dependents’ button under the ‘Formulas’ tab. This tool will display arrows connecting the cells that use the selected cell in their calculation. This allows you to see which cells are dependent on the value of the selected cell, making it easier to spot any errors or inconsistencies.
In the example above, this shows that the Purchase Price value affects the cells of the Loan Amount, the Est. Closing Costs, the Property Tax, and the Cash to Close values.
The Show Formulas feature in Excel allows you to view the formulas in a spreadsheet rather than the results of the calculations. This feature is useful when you want to quickly check the formulas in your spreadsheet without having to go through each cell one by one.
To use Show Formulas, simply click the ‘Show Formulas’ button under the ‘Formulas’ tab. This will convert all the calculations into formulas in the sheet.
Excel’s Error Checking feature is used to detect and highlight potential errors in your formulas. This feature can save you time by identifying potential problems before they become bigger issues.
To use Error Checking, simply click the ‘Error Checking’ button under the ‘Formulas’ tab. This will open a window that will tell you what is wrong with the formula, and how you can resolve it.
The Evaluate Formula tool in Excel is used to step through a formula and evaluate each part of the calculation, allowing you to see how the formula is being calculated. This tool is especially useful when working with complex formulas, as it allows you to see the intermediate results of each calculation.
To use Evaluate Formula, select the cell with the formula you want to audit and click the ‘Evaluate Formula’ button under the ‘Formulas’ tab.
Having the knowledge to perform formula audits ensures the accuracy and reliability of your data in Excel. By using these formula auditing features, you can quickly and easily identify any potential problems in your formulas and make the necessary corrections. Regularly auditing your formulas will help keep your data up-to-date and accurate.