Excel shortcuts

The Best Excel Shortcuts for Tracing Dependents

If you work with large and complex Excel models, you know how important it is to be able to trace dependents. By tracing dependents, you can identify which cells are driving the results of a particular cell. This can be extremely helpful when trying to troubleshoot errors in a model or understand how a change in one cell will impact the rest of the model.

There are a few different ways to trace dependents in Excel. The most common way is to use the Trace Dependents tool, which is found under the Formulas tab in the ribbon. This tool will draw arrows from the selected cell to all of the cells that it depends on. However, this tool can be a bit cumbersome to use, especially if you have a large number of dependents.

A better way to trace dependents is to use one of the following Excel shortcuts:

  • Ctrl + [ - This shortcut will select the direct dependents of the active cell. Direct dependents are cells that are directly referenced by the active cell. For example, if the active cell contains the formula =A1+B1, then cells A1 and B1 are direct dependents.
  • Ctrl + Shift + [ - This shortcut will select the direct and indirect dependents of the active cell. Indirect dependents are cells that are referenced by the direct dependents of the active cell. For example, if the active cell contains the formula =A1+B1 and cell A1 contains the formula =C1+D1, then cells C1 and D1 are indirect dependents.
  • Ctrl + Alt + [ - This shortcut will select the precedents of the active cell. Precedents are cells that are referenced by the active cell. For example, if the active cell contains the formula =A1+B1, then cells A1 and B1 are precedents.
  • Ctrl + Shift + Alt + [ - This shortcut will select the direct and indirect precedents of the active cell. Direct precedents are cells that are directly referenced by the active cell. Indirect precedents are cells that are referenced by the direct precedents of the active cell. For example, if the active cell contains the formula =A1+B1 and cell A1 contains the formula =C1+D1, then cells C1 and D1 are indirect precedents.

These shortcuts are extremely helpful when tracing dependents, but they can be even more helpful when used in combination with other shortcuts. For example, you can use the Ctrl + Shift + [ shortcut to select the direct and indirect dependents of the active cell, and then use the F5 key to go to the first dependent cell. Or, you can use the Ctrl + Alt + [ shortcut to select the precedents of the active cell, and then use the F4 key to toggle between relative and absolute references.

There are a number of other shortcuts that can be used in combination with the shortcuts for tracing dependents. These shortcuts include:

  • F5 - This shortcut will go to the first dependent or precedent cell. For example, if the active cell contains the formula =A1+B1, pressing F5 will take you to cell A1.
  • F4 - This shortcut will toggle between relative and absolute references. For example, if the active cell contains the formula =A1+B1, pressing F4 will change the formula to =$A$1+$B$1.
  • Ctrl + F3 - This shortcut will open the Name Manager, which can be used to manage named ranges and defined names.
  • Ctrl + H - This shortcut will open the Find and Replace dialog box. This dialog box can be used to find and replace values, formulas, and other elements in a worksheet.
  • Ctrl + G - This shortcut will open the Go To dialog box. This dialog box can be used to go to a specific cell, range, or named object in a worksheet.

Using these shortcuts in combination with the shortcuts for tracing dependents can help you quickly and easily trace dependents in large and complex Excel models. These shortcuts will save you time and help you avoid errors in your models.

Move beyond 

Excel

Get started with Causal today.
Build models effortlessly, connect them directly to your data, and share them with interactive dashboards and beautiful visuals.