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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Locating Circular References

A circular reference occurs when a formula directly or indirectly refers to its own cell. This causes the formula to use its result in the calculation, which can create errors. When a workbook contains a circular reference, Excel cannot automatically perform calculations. You can use error checking in Excel to locate circular references in a formula, and then remove them. If you leave them in, Excel calculates each cell involved in the circular reference by using the results of the previous iteration. An iteration is a repeated recalculation until a specific numeric condition is met. By default, Excel stops calculating after 100 iterations or after all values in the circular reference change by less than 0.001 between iterations, unless you change the Excel option.

Locate a Circular Reference

  • yellow-01.jpg Click the Formulas tab.
  • yellow-02.jpg Click the Error Checking button arrow, point to Circular References, and then click the first cell listed in the submenu.
  • yellow-03.jpg Review the formula cell.
  • yellow-04.jpg If you cannot figure out if the cell is the cause of the circular reference, click the next cell in the Circular References submenu, if available.
  • yellow-05.jpg Continue to review and correct the circular reference until the status bar no longer displays the word “Circular.”
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