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How to show (formula) relationships between cells in Excel?

Author: Sun Last Modified: 2020-09-18

If there are multiple formulas in your worksheet, and now you want to display the formula relationships between the cells, which means you need to trace the precedents and dependents between cells. In this article, I introduce the tricks which can do you a favor.

doc show cell relationship 7

Show relationships between cells with Trace Precedents or Trace Dependents

Show relationships between cells with Kutools for Excelgood idea3

arrow blue right bubble Show relationships between cells with Trace Precedents or Trace Dependents

In Excel, you can apply Trace Precedents and Trace Dependents functions to show the relationships between cells.

1. Select a cell which you want to trace the precedents or dependent.

2. Click Formulas > Trace Precedents/Trace Dependents. See screenshot:


Trace Precedent: Show arrows that indicate which cells affect the value of the selected cell

Trace Dependents: Show arrows that indicate which cells are affected by the value of the selected cell.
doc show cell relationship 1

And now the relationship between cells has been shown:

Trace Precedents
Trace Dependents
doc show cell relationship 2
doc show cell relationship 3


(1) If the active cell doesn’t contain a formula with valid references, or not be referred by any formulas, warning dialog boxes will pops out as below screenshot shown:
doc show cell relationship 4
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(2) For removing these arrows, please click Formulas > Remove Arrows.

But with this method, you only can show one relationship with one step, if there are hundreds of formulas, this way must be tedious and time-wasted. In this case, you can move on the next method.

arrow blue right bubble Show relationships between cells with Kutools for Excel

With Kutools for Excel, you can quickly show all relationships among cells in a range, and also can automatically display the formula relationship in real time with the Trace Precedents and Dependents utility.

Kutools for Excel, with more than 300 handy functions, makes your jobs more easier. 

After free installing Kutools for Excel, please do as below:

Click Kutools > More, then choose one option as you need. See screenshot:
doc show cell relationship 6

Now when you click a cell or a range, the relationships between cells have been shown in real time.
doc show cell relationship 7

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