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Watching Cell Values

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2002 and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Watching Cell Values.

There's a nifty feature added in Excel 2002 that allows you to keep an eye on the value of certain cells. This is really handy in large worksheets. Let's say that you have a large worksheet, and you want to track the results at two or three cells all over the worksheet. Follow these steps if you are using Excel 2002 or Excel 2003:

  1. Right-click a cell you want to watch. Excel displays a Context menu.
  2. Choose Add Watch from the Context menu.

That's it—Excel displays the Watch Window, showing the cell and information about it (name, value, formula, etc.) You can add additional cells by simply repeating the two steps for each cell you want to watch.

If you close the Watch Window, you can later display it again by choosing View | Toolbars | Watch Window. You can also delete cells from the Watch Window by selecting the entry and clicking Delete Watch.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2385) applies to Microsoft Excel 2002 and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Watching Cell Values.

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Comments for this tip:

James Leary    07 Jun 2015, 09:32
I am still using Excel 2003 and Win XP/SP3. I copied a file to my Samsung Tab4 and tried to open it in the recently installed Excel for Android Tablets and tried to open it. It fails to open.
Instead it issues a message "This version of Excel can't open workbooks with "Watch Window". This has not happened for other Workbooks I have copied over and opened successfully.
What is wrong? HELP.
Also the Android Excel would not save an updated spreadsheet. Instead, it saves a copy as an XLSS file. I can't find this file on the Tablet. Is this saved on an MS Server somewhere. If so, how do I delete it
Dave Kerr    27 Feb 2012, 04:34
For older versions of Excel, there is a solution, but it is not nearly as elegant.
First, use freeze panes to "hold" a few lines at the top and/or left of your worksheet.
Then, in the frozen (i.e. non-moving) portion, enter links to the cells that you want to watch, using a simple formula such as "=D99" (without the quotes).
As you scroll around your work area and your data changes, the results of any changes which affect the cells you are watching will remain visible at the top of your worksheet.
Martin Pruimers    27 Feb 2012, 02:57
Having considered myself an Excel-master for many years now, I was astonished to find out that I didn't know about this easy feature. I always tried to do things like this with difficult tricks, which now prove to be unnecessary.

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