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You have probably used Excel's native Trace Precedents/Dependents tools and discovered the limitations of their utility. Macabacus' Pro Precedents and Pro Dependents—the most advanced auditing tools of their kind—make tracing precedents/dependents very simple and are absolutely essential for any power user.
Pro Precedents allows you to effortlessly navigate an audited formula's inputs. When you activate Pro Precedents, a dialog opens displaying the addresses and values of all cells used in the calculation of the audited cell. Selecting a precedent cell range in the dialog using the up/down arrow keys or the mouse navigates to the precedent range, whether it is outside of the visible range on the same worksheet, on another worksheet, or even in another workbook.
With the Evaluate Functions & Groups option enabled, Pro Precedents evaluates Excel functions (e.g., SUM) and expressions grouped by parentheses within formulas individually, letting you analyze complex formulas piece-by-piece. In other words, you can see what a portion of your formula is contributing to the overall result. If Macabacus is able to evaluate certain Excel functions as cell references, selecting the function in the Pro Precedents dialog will navigate to that cell range. If you are wondering what cell that HLOOKUP, VLOOKUP, OFFSET, CHOOSE, INDIRECT, or INDEX(MATCH) function is actually pulling from, Pro Precedents can show you. The Evaluate Functions & Groups option is disabled by default to avoid confusion for those who do not understand it, but enabling this option is recommended for most users. This feature can be toggled using the
You can also drill down on precedents using intuitive, tree-based navigation. If a precedent cell or evaluated function/group has precedents, it will be marked with a symbol. Press the right arrow key to expand the tree and trace precedents one level deeper. Use the left arrow key to move back up one level in the precedents tree. You can open the Pro Precedents dialog, navigate multiple levels of precedent cells, and close the dialog without ever using your mouse.
Pro Precedents has several keyboard shortcuts for repositioning and resizing the dialog. Key
Ctrl+Left to move the dialog. Key
Ctrl+End to position the dialog at the top left and bottom right corners of the screen, respectively. Key
Shift+Left to resize the dialog.
The Pro Dependents dialog navigates an audited cell's dependencies similar to how Pro Precedents navigates precedents. Other features include:
F2. When you are done editing the formula, key
Enterto apply the new formula, or
Escto cancel editing. If the new formula no longer references the audited cell, the dependent node is removed from the tree.
Navigate back to the last cell audited using Pro Precedents or Pro Dependents.
Macabacus > File > Optimizemenu and open Name Scrubber. Remove any unused names by clicking the Clean Names button and performing a Deep Clean, or remove names manually from the list. If you are satisfied that hidden names are not in use, delete them, too. Note that some add-ins, including Macabacus, use hidden names for legitimate purposes (e.g., linking), so be careful when deleting them.
If Pro Dependents does not find dependents in cells where you believe it should, use Excel's native Trace Dependents tool to see if the expected cells appear there. If not, then the "dependent" cell's formula may contain a "volatile" function. Excel cannot find dependencies in some volatile functions like OFFSET(), and since Macabacus relies on Excel to tell it what the dependencies are, Pro Dependents cannot find these dependencies, either.
Macabacus remembers the last position of the Pro Precedents/Dependents dialogs. Sometimes, these dialogs can appear outside of your screen's viewable area. This can happen if you are working in Excel on a large docking station screen, undock your laptop and begin working on the laptop's smaller screen. Use the
Ctrl+End shortcuts immediately after executing Pro Precedents/Dependents to bring the hidden dialog back into view.
If keying the Up/Down arrow keys does not navigate the precedents and dependents in the Pro Precedents and Pro Dependents dialogs, respectively, and instead causes the cursor to move up/down one row on the worksheet, another add-in may be causing this condition. We have only observed this conflict with the Workshare add-in, specifically, although other add-ins might produce the same result. Disable the Workshare or other conflicting COM add-in to resolve the problem.
Excel natively traces precedents only for the active cell in a selection of multiple cells. Macabacus, on the other hand, shows precedent trace arrows for all selected cells at once. If you repeat this keystroke before changing the cell selection, Macabacus clears the trace arrows.
Excel natively traces dependents for only the active cell in a selection of multiple cells. Macabacus, on the other hand, shows dependent trace arrows for all selected cells at once. This is a useful check to perform before deleting cells that helps avoid unintentional #REF! errors upon deletion. If you repeat this keystroke before changing the cell selection, Macabacus clears the trace arrows.
Clear trace arrows from the active worksheet.
You can automatically show precedent trace arrows for the active cell as you navigate among cells by enabling AutoTrace Precedents. AutoTrace Precedents can be toggled on and off using the shortcut below, or with a checkbox on the
Macabacus > Trace menu.
You can automatically show dependent trace arrows for the active cell as you navigate among cells by enabling AutoTrace Dependents. AutoTrace Dependents can be toggled on and off using the shortcut below, or with a checkbox on the
Macabacus > Trace menu.
AutoTrace will not show trace arrows for selections containing more than 20 cells. Without this limit, navigation might become very slow or Excel could freeze as Macabacus computes precedents / dependents for larger selections.
This documentation refers to Macabacus version 8.9.9. Some features and descriptions of these features may not
apply to older versions of Macabacus. Update your Macabacus software to take advantage of the latest features.