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How to use the Microsoft Excel formula check window

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Tired of scrolling to see formulas and results in cells that aren’t visible? The control window in Microsoft Excel allows you to keep an eye on your formulas without having to constantly scroll.

Available for all desktop versions of Excel, the control window is a useful tool for viewing your formulas with their locations and results. You can view cells in your current workbook or any other that you have open, giving you the flexibility you need to keep up to date.

Add cells to your control window

You can easily add cells to the control window in your current spreadsheet, and you can select the specific cells with formulas if you want to view or view all formulas in the sheet.

View certain cells with formulas

To add specific cells, select them first and then open the Formulas tab. Now click on “Watch Window”

; in the Formula Auditing section of the ribbon.

Go to the Formulas tab and click Watch Window

Click on “Add watch” in the toolbar of the control window.

Click Add Watch

Confirm the cells you selected in the Add Watch pop-up window and click ‘Add’.

Confirm the cells and click Add

View all cells with formulas

If you’d rather add all cells with formulas to your sheet, it’s just as easy. With your sheet active, go to the Home tab.

Click the ‘Find and Select’ dropdown in the Edit section of the ribbon and select ‘Formulas’.

Go to the Home tab, click Search and Select and choose Formulas

This will select all cells with formulas in your spreadsheet. From there, follow the same steps mentioned above to open the control window and add those cells.

Use the viewing window

After adding cells to the control window, you can see the workbook name, sheet name, cell name, cell reference, value and formula for each cell.

Cells in the control window

This is when the control window becomes so valuable in large spreadsheets. To see the result of a formula (value), you don’t have to scroll through your current sheet, go to another sheet, or even display a different workbook. Just look at the Watch Window.

RELATED: How to change cell reference style in Excel

Any cells you add to the control window will stay there until you delete them (as seen below). The exception is when you use multiple workbooks. For example, if you are using workbook A and have cells from workbook B in the control window, keep workbook B open. If you close it, those cells will disappear from the control window.

Move the control window

The control window can be moved or parked wherever you want in your Microsoft Excel workbook. Drag to move it or double-click the gray area to dock it above the formula bar.

Docked control window in Excel

You can also close the control window with the “X” in the top right corner or with the button in the ribbon. When you open it again, those same cells you added will be ready for that.

Delete cells from your control window

To remove a cell from the control window, select it in the window and click ‘Remove watch’. You can use your Control key (Command on Mac) to select multiple cells in the window and then click “Delete Watch”.

Click Delete Watch

Being able to see cells with formulas that are not in your instant view is a great feature. So remember the Watch Window feature the next time you’re working with a long Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.

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