Finding Excel 2019 Errors by Watching the Watch Window

By Ken Bluttman

The Watch Window lets you watch the calculated results of an Excel formula but without the limitation of having the cell be in the viewing area of Excel. This Excel feature is helpful when you’re working on correcting formulas that use precedents that are scattered about the worksheet or workbook.

First, to set up a watch in Excel 2019, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Watch Window button on the Formulas tab of the Ribbon.
  2. In the Watch Window, click the Add Watch button.

    The Add Watch dialog box opens.

  3. Use the RefEdit control (the square button to the right of the entry box) to specify the cell(s), or type in the cell address or range.
  4. Click the Add button in the Add Watch dialog box to complete setting up the watch.

The image below the Watch Window with a watch already in place. Cell C6 of the Costs worksheet is being watched. The Excel formula uses precedents from both the Orders and Shipping worksheets. The Watch Window sits on top of the Excel workbook and stays visible regardless of which worksheet is active. This means, for example, that you could try different values on the Orders worksheet and see the result in the calculation in Costs!C6, but without having to bounce around the worksheets to see how new values alter the calculated result.

Excel Watch Window
Using the Watch Window to keep an eye on a formula’s result.

The Watch Window also lets you delete a watch. That’s a good thing; otherwise, you would end up with a bunch of watches you no longer need! To delete a watch in Excel, perform these steps:

  1. Select a watch from the list of watches in the Watch Window.
  2. Click the Delete Watch button.