Design & Audit Tips, Part IV   

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IV. Auditing & Debugging Your Worksheet

See the Organization of a Large Worksheet
View Detailed Information About Cells
Use Excel's Auditor to Correct Problems and Examine Cell Relationships

 

See the Organization of a Large Worksheet

Use the commands View, Zoom to get a dialog box like the one in the illustration below. Then specify how you want Excel to display your worksheet on the screen. If you ask for a low magnification (say 25 or 50%) you'll be better able to review your worksheet layout. Then return to regular 100% magnification to continue working.

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View Detailed Information About Cells

The useful Info Window feature is no longer available in Microsoft Excel 97. However, other tools can provide information about cells on a worksheet:

The Auditing Toolbar

You can locate the cells that provide data to formulas and find cells that depend on values in other cells by using the Auditing toolbar. To display the Auditing toolbar, point to Auditing on the Tools menu, and then click Show Auditing Toolbar.

Or, click Tools, Customize to open the "Customize" dialog box like the one at left. Locate the entry for the Auditing toolbar and click the box to its left to toggle it on.

More on using the Auditing Toolbar below.

Cell Comments

You may find it useful to add comments to a cell, to include some documentation about a value or formula directly in the worksheet. Add a comment by right-clicking the cell and selecting Insert Comment. A comment box displays that works like the standard text box. View a comment by pointing to the cell that has the comment attached. Comments can be printed, either where the comment appears on the worksheet or at the end of the worksheet.

Cell Formatting

To see the formatting applied to a cell, click the cell, and then click Cells on the Format menu. You can review each tab in the Format Cells dialog box to see the formats applied to the cell.

Cell/Range Name

If you need to know whether a name refers to a cell, click the cell. The Name box at the left end of the formula bar displays either the address of the cell, such as A1, or the name that refers to the cell

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Use Excel's Auditor to Correct Problems and Examine Cell Relationships

Turn on the Auditing Toolbar with the commands Tools, Auditing, Show Auditing Toolbar. Use the tools on the Auditing toolbar to locate problems and display cell relationships.

For example, a circular reference occurs when a formula mistakenly refers to itself and thus can't be resolved. Click the problem cell and use the Trace Error button on the Auditing Toolbar to locate the error.

Click the cell whose dependents or precedents you want to locate and use the trace precendents or trace dependents icons on the Auditing Toolbar. Excel draws arrows on the worksheet to show relationships between cells. Use the erase precedent arrows icon or the erase dependent arrows icons to erase the arrows when you're through.

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