Tech Tip: Excel Watch Window

If you’re working in a large multi-tab spreadsheet in Excel, you know it’s sometimes hard to keep track of values getting updated as you change things around. But the Watch Window is a great way to keep an eye on a set of cells as you update data all over the place.

You can use it to check the values and formulas in cells that are not visible in the active worksheet, as well as inspect, audit, or confirm formula calculations and results in large worksheets. This will save you a ton of scrolling and clicking all over the document to check and recheck calculations.

Here’s how you go about using it.

To access this feature, select Formulas > Watch Window.

To add cells to the Watch Window:

  1. Select the cells that you want to watch
    1. To select all cells on a worksheet with formulas, select Home > Editing > Find & Replace > Go To Special > Formulas.
  2. To display it, select Formulas > Watch Window.
  3. To specify the selected cells as the range you want to watch, click Add Watch > Add.
  4. Drag the title bar of the Watch Window to move it to the location you want. It can be a floating window, or it can be docked to the right side of the window.
  5. To change the width of a column, drag the boundary on the right side of the column heading.

To remove cells:

  1. To display the Watch Window, select Formulas > Watch Window.
  2. To select the cells you want to remove, press Ctrl and then click the cells.
  3. Click Delete Watch.

You can move or dock the Watch Window as you do a toolbar or a pane. For example, you can dock it on the right side of the app window and keep track of the following cell properties: workbook, sheet, name, cell, value, and formula.

More information on Watch Window from Microsoft.

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