How to find and locate circular reference in Excel quickly?

When you apply a formula in a cell, says Cell C1, and the formula refers back to its own cell directly or indirectly, says =Sum (A1:C1), circular reference happens.

When you reopen this workbook with circular reference again, it pops up a circular reference error message, which warns formulas contains a circular reference and may not calculate correctly. See the following screenshot:


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It tells what is the problem, however, it does not say where the error stays in. If you click the OK button, the warning error message will be closed, but it will pop up next time when you reopen the workbook; if you click the Help button, it will bring you to the Help document.

Actually, you can find out and locate the cell with circular reference in Excel with following steps:

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Step 1: Go to the Formula Auditing group under the Formula tab.

Step 2: Click the Arrow button besides the Error Checking button.

Step 3: Move mouse over the Circular References item in the drop down list, and it shows the cells with circular references. See the following screenshot:


Step 4: Click the cell address listed besides the Circular References, it selects the cell with circular reference at once.

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+7#inquirer2013-12-10 18:18
Your a life saver thanks
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+1#Prasad2014-01-04 11:32
Could not agree more with the comment of "inquirer" - you are my saviour indeed !

It is really stupid of Microsoft to only give the warning in the pop up message and not inform on how to find the circ. reference. I had a big excel file and it was taking several minutes to open each time because of this circ. reference problem.

Thanks a lot !!
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+1#Paula2014-01-09 22:30
Just what I needed, and in such a clear, precise manner.
Thanks =)
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0#Josh2014-01-21 19:12
:-) Big simile... quick and easy way.. thanks..
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0#msulaiman7862014-01-23 04:13

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0#Irina2014-02-04 17:46
Thanks much! VERY helpful!
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0#Moe2014-02-13 17:59
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0#Milind2014-02-17 06:58
This indeed solved my worries, also it saved me from probable and possible disasters that might happen due to circualar reference errors.
thanks a lot to all.
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0#Adesh2014-02-19 03:20
This was exactly the reply I was searching.... Thanks
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0#Karen2014-02-24 14:45
Brilliant save me so much time. Tried MS help rubbish unless you knew where it was. :-*
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0#Vidya2014-03-05 21:03
Perfectly explained and exactly what I needed! Thank you!
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0#David A2014-03-07 21:37
This was excatly what I needed and your tip was wonderful.
Thanks for making this so easy.
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+1#Fullcircuits2014-03-12 18:19
Awesome! You saved my day! :lol:
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0#girlie2014-03-28 07:56
thanks SO much. i was about to re-do the whole file when i stumbled upon this!
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0#Chitoxs2014-04-09 15:05
This is a lovely and useful tip. Thanks
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0#acon2014-04-10 12:27
thanks a lot mate for your advice
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0#Kelvin2014-04-16 10:43
Excellent advice, spreadsheet is a lot tidier now :)
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