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:

doc-find-circular-reference1

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:


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:

doc-find-circular-reference2

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


Add Text (add character/word to a specific location of each cell in a range.)

doc add text 6

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Comments  

Permalink +17 inquirer
Your a life saver thanks
2013-12-10 18:18 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink +2 Prasad
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 !!
2014-01-04 11:32 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink +3 Paula
Just what I needed, and in such a clear, precise manner.
Thanks =)
2014-01-09 22:30 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink +3 Josh
:-) Big simile... quick and easy way.. thanks..
2014-01-21 19:12 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink 0 msulaiman786
THANKS....
SAVED ME FROM AN ERROR

:-x
2014-01-23 04:13 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink +1 Irina
Thanks much! VERY helpful!
2014-02-04 17:46 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink +1 Moe
THNAK YOU VERY MUCH!!!!
2014-02-13 17:59 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink +1 Milind
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.
2014-02-17 06:58 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink +1 Adesh
This was exactly the reply I was searching.... Thanks
2014-02-19 03:20 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink 0 Karen
Brilliant save me so much time. Tried MS help rubbish unless you knew where it was. :-*
2014-02-24 14:45 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink 0 Vidya
Perfectly explained and exactly what I needed! Thank you!
2014-03-05 21:03 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink +1 David A
This was excatly what I needed and your tip was wonderful.
Thanks for making this so easy.
2014-03-07 21:37 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink +1 Fullcircuits
Awesome! You saved my day! :lol:
2014-03-12 18:19 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink +1 girlie
thanks SO much. i was about to re-do the whole file when i stumbled upon this!
2014-03-28 07:56 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink 0 Chitoxs
This is a lovely and useful tip. Thanks
2014-04-09 15:05 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink 0 acon
thanks a lot mate for your advice
2014-04-10 12:27 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink 0 Kelvin
Excellent advice, spreadsheet is a lot tidier now :)
2014-04-16 10:43 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink 0 Mohamed
THANK YOU VERY MUCH !!!
2014-05-12 05:55 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink 0 Garry
Excellent...eas y peasy now. Thanks!
2014-05-14 10:54 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink +2 rimzan khan
U saved me,Thank you
2014-05-20 06:55 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink 0 sys64738
Thank you, this was annoying me greatly
2014-07-18 09:58 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink 0 walee
Thank you so much. You saved my life.
2014-07-18 15:15 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink 0 Nachu
Awesome stuff :)
Saved me :)
2014-07-22 08:53 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink 0 SHERY
You fixed my HEACACHE!! :-)
2014-07-23 13:06 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink 0 dianna
GREAT stuff, quick n easy, also easy the stress :lol:
2014-08-12 16:41 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink +1 Ed
Thanks for the help. Saved me hours going through all the sheets
2014-08-28 03:44 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink 0 Jasper
Thanks, clear and simple instruction for an irritating problem :-)
2014-09-16 07:40 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink 0 rueuth
Many Thanks, solved in two minutes!! :lol:
2014-09-17 14:16 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink 0 chidi
Thanks for the quick fix
2014-09-20 22:03 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink 0 Sam Hall
Thanks. Have been reading that stupid error for weeks and first solution I found was yours and the directions were super simple.
2014-10-02 13:33 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink +1 Chuck
I have this same warning popping up when I open a workbook.
However, I have checked each sheet within the workbook and no sheet reports a circular reference. I have even executed the Formula Auditing=>Error Checking individually on each sheet and no sheet reports a circular reference. It's only reported when I open the workbook. Any ideas on how to find out what excel is complaining about on open?
2014-10-13 13:22 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink +1 Charles
Quoting Chuck:
I have this same warning popping up when I open a workbook.
However, I have checked each sheet within the workbook and no sheet reports a circular reference. I have even executed the Formula Auditing=>Error Checking individually on each sheet and no sheet reports a circular reference. It's only reported when I open the workbook. Any ideas on how to find out what excel is complaining about on open?

Same here - circular ref warnings started appearing when ever there is a recalculation, just after I added this fab example in a large range on my work sheet.
2014-11-26 16:54 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink +1 Charles
Quoting Chuck:
I have this same warning popping up when I open a workbook.
However, I have checked each sheet within the workbook and no sheet reports a circular reference. I have even executed the Formula Auditing=>Error Checking individually on each sheet and no sheet reports a circular reference. It's only reported when I open the workbook. Any ideas on how to find out what excel is complaining about on open?


Great expression - thanks

I have the same - circular reference warning on recalc since I copied this expression to a range in my worksheet.
2014-11-26 16:56 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink 0 Roxie
THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!! This was diving me crazy!!!!!!!!
2014-11-17 18:36 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink 0 Alok
very nice and quick. thanks.
2014-12-05 03:55 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink 0 Shariff
Awesome! So clear it fixed up my problem and saved me tons of time browsing through sheets and sheets looking for it manually!
2015-01-29 07:07 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink 0 Hil
So easy once you learn it. :roll: Thank you!!
2015-04-21 10:02 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink 0 Tapa
You just saved me a ton of time. Thank-you so much.
2015-06-17 14:04 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink 0 Ankit Singh
thanks a lot Admin i am happy with solution
2015-06-29 03:25 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink 0 Martha
Thanks a million ;)very helpful & easy to follow instructions.
2015-11-06 16:46 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink 0 Milena
Thank you so much!!!!
2016-12-01 11:20 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink 0 Ken
Thank you, hard to find the solution but easy to fix. Your guidance was right on.
2016-12-22 16:16 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink 0 Idris
You eased my headache.
Thank you.
2017-01-03 17:36 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink 0 Adelani
Thank you for saving my entire life and removing that burden of looking for errors.
2017-01-10 11:34 Reply Reply with quote Quote
Permalink 0 Steve
Short sweet answer. Popped up on Google right under MS support which I routinely skip past. Thanks!!!
2017-01-30 03:04 Reply Reply with quote Quote

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