Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 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: Accessing Dependent and Precedent Information.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 5, 2020)
David rightly notes that Excel provides auditing tools (Trace Dependents and Trace Precedents) that are a very helpful way of keeping track of what is happening in large worksheets. However, the actual interface just lists out the cells in a small area, and David cannot easily copy out this list of cells to analyze and manipulate it. When he uses Trace Dependents on an important cell in a large worksheet, the small dialog box can contain several hundred references. David wonders if there is a relatively easy way of getting this information into a more usable format, like a blank worksheet or another workbook.
There is obviously no way to do this with native Excel commands, but you can create a macro that will extract the information you desire. The following macro will list the dependent cells for whatever cell is selected when you run the macro:
Sub ListDependents() Dim rArea As Range Dim rCell As Range Dim sActiveCell As String Dim rDep As Range Dim lRow As Long On Error Resume Next Set rDep = ActiveCell.Dependents If rDep Is Nothing Then MsgBox ActiveCell.Address(False, False) & _ " has no dependents" Exit Sub End If On Error GoTo 0 sActiveCell = ActiveCell.Address(False, False) Worksheets.Add lRow = 1 Cells(lRow, 1).Value = "Dependents for " & sActiveCell For Each rArea In rDep For Each rCell In rArea lRow = lRow + 1 Cells(lRow, 1) = rCell.Address(False, False) Next Next Set rArea = Nothing Set rCell = Nothing Set rDep = Nothing End Sub
When the macro is first run, it checks to see if there are any dependents for the cell. If there aren't, then you are notified and the macro is exited. If there are dependents, then a new worksheet is added to the workbook and the dependents of the cell are added to the worksheet.
If you want the macro to instead list precedents, all you need to do is change the all instances of "Dependents" in the macro to "Precedents."
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3121) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Accessing Dependent and Precedent Information.
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