Keep an Eye on Important Changes using Excel's Watch Window
by Avantix Learning Team | Updated October 1, 2021
Applies to: Microsoft® Excel® 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365 (Windows)
The Watch Window is an awesome tool that you can use in Excel to view changes to cells that are not visible in the current screen. The cells could be on the same worksheet or on a different worksheet in the same workbook. You can use the Watch window to view changes in key cells in real time as you work.
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You can display the Watch Window through the Formulas tab in the Ribbon.
Adding a watch
To display the Watch Window:
- Click in the cell or range of cells you want to watch for changes.
- Click the Formulas tab in the Ribbon.
- Click Watch Window. The Watch Window dialog box appears with the current cell or range of cells selected. You can also enter cell references. If you have named cells, you can enter the name.
- Click Add.
- You can continue adding watched cells (even in other sheets in your workbook).
For each watch you add, the Watch Window will list the workbook, worksheet, cell name (if you are using names), cell reference , the value in the cell or range and the formula in that cell.
If you added cells from another workbook to your watch list, those cells will only be displayed when that workbook is open.
Viewing changes to watched cells
To view changes to watched cells:
- Ensure the Watch Window is displayed.
- Drag the Watch Window by its title bar to move it and drag the bottom right corner of the dialog box to resize it if necessary.
- Change the width of a column in the Watch Window by dragging the line on the right side of the column heading.
- Make changes to your workbook.
- If the changes you have made affect the watched cells, the values will change in the Watch Window.
Navigating to a watched cell
To jump to a cell that is being watched:
- Display the Watch Window.
- Double-click an entry in the Watch Window.
Deleting a watch
To delete a watch:
- Display the Watch Window.
- Click the entry you want to delete.
- Click Delete Watch.
The Watch Window is a great tool in Excel and you can use it in older versions as well.
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