Use Excel Watch Window to Keep a Tab on Important Cells and Formulas

When working with large datasets full of formulas in Excel, it becomes difficult to keep a track of important cells and formula results. You may have a data set that spans across hundreds or even thousands of records, and going back and forth to know the result of important formulas could be a big waste of time.

For such cases, Excel introduced the Watch Window feature in Excel 2010.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to  :

  • Keep track of important cells/formulas using the Watch Window.
  • Use Watch Window to keep track of cells in multiple sheets.
  • Delete cells/formulas from watch window.

Let’s get started.

How to Keep Track of Important Cells using Watch Window

Suppose you have student’s scores dataset as shown below and you want to keep a track of the average score in the three subjects.

excel-watch-window-student-data-set

You can do that by adding these cells to the Watch Window in Excel.

Here are the steps:

  • Select the cells that you want to track.
  • Go to Formulas –> Formula Auditing –> Watch Window.watch-window-in-excel-formula-tab
  • In the Watch Window dialog box, click on Add Watch.watch-window-in-excel-add-watch
  • This will open the Add Watch box where the selected cells will already be referenced. In case you want to change the reference, you can do it in this step.watch-window-in-excel-add-watch-box
  • Click on Add.

This would instantly add all the three cells to the Watch Window dialog box.

watch-window-in-excel-output

Docking the Watch Window in Excel 2013 and 2016: While the watch window is a floating window by default, you can dock it to the right pane of the worksheet in Excel 2013 and 2016. To do this, simply drag it to the extreme right and leave it and it will automatically dock there.

Watch Cells from Multiple Worksheets

You can easily add cells from multiple worksheets in the same watch window. This is helpful when you have data that spans across multiple worksheets.

For example, below I have data for student scores for two different exams (something like mid-term and finals) in two different worksheets.

To add the average scores from both these sheets to the same watch window, simply repeat the steps shown above for both the sheets.

Here are the steps:

  • Select the data in Sheet 1 (Exam 1 in this case).
  • Go to Formulas –> Formula Auditing –> Watch Window.watch-window-in-excel-formula-tab
  • Click on Add Watch and then click on Add. This will add the three cells to from Sheet 1 to the watch window.watch-window-in-excel-output
  • Again click on Add Watch.watch window in-excel-add-watch-multiple-sheets
  • In the Add Watch dialog box, click on the icon to select the range  and go to the second sheet and select the cells that you want to add.
  • Click on Add.

This will add all the six cells from two different sheets to the same Watch Window.

watch-window-in-excel-output-multiple-sheets

Delete Cells from Watch Window

You can easily delete cells once you have added these to the watch window. Just select it and click on Delete Watch.

watch-window-in-excel-delete-watch

To select multiple cells to delete, hold the shift key and select the first and the last cells to select all the cells between these.

If you want to select non-contiguous cells, hold the Control Key and then select the cells.

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  • Mark P

    I use this feature, it can save quite a bit of time. Though it doesn’t let you see a chart on another page, so I also use the Camera Tool.