How to use Watch Window in Excel

- Written by Puneet


Often, there are some cells in our worksheet where we have important formulas. Those formulas help us calculate some crucial values. In this situation, it’s really important to take an eye on those cells, whether the calculation is correct or there is no error.

But the point is the more you have these kinds of cells, the more effort and time you need to track them. In Excel, there is an option called watch window, which was introduced by Microsoft in the 2013 version, and it can be your tool of trade once you know how useful it is.

In this post, you will learn how to track your important cells in Excel using a watch window.

It’s one of those Excel Tricks that can help you improve Basic Excel Skills.

Key Points

  • Monitoring Multiple Cells: One of the Watch Window’s valuable features is its ability to monitor multiple cells. This functionality is incredibly beneficial when comparing various sheets.
  • Auditing and Debugging: The Watch Window is not just a monitoring tool; it’s also an excellent resource for auditing and debugging your worksheets.
  • Display Features: Each cell added to the Watch Window will display several details. These include the workbook name, the worksheet name, the cell name, the current cell value, and the formula in the cell (if any).

What is a Watch Window in Excel?

The Watch Window is a useful feature in Microsoft Excel that allows you to keep a close eye on the values of certain cells, even as you navigate to different parts of your worksheet. It can be particularly helpful in large spreadsheets where you need to keep track of the values

Where is the Watch Window on the Excel Ribbon

To locate the Watch Window on the Excel Ribbon, follow these steps:

  • Navigate to the Formulas tab: Once you’ve opened the workbook, navigate to the ‘Formulas’ tab in the Excel Ribbon.
  • Look for the Watch Window button: Within the ‘Formulas’ tab, look for the ‘Watch Window’ button, which is in the ‘Formula Auditing’ group.
  • Open the Watch Window: Click the ‘Watch Window’ button to open the “Watch Window” dialog box. This will open a dialog box on top of your workbook. From this window, you can add the cells you want to monitor.

Shortcut Key to Open Watch Window

Alt + M + W is the shortcut to quickly open the Watch Window in Excel without navigating the menu options.

  1. Hold down the ‘Alt’ key on your keyboard.
  2. Press the ‘ M ‘ key while holding the ‘Alt’ key.
  3. Hold the ‘Alt’ key and press the ‘W’ key.

Adding a Cell to Watch Window in Excel

Once you’ve opened the Watch Window, you can add cells by clicking the “Add Watch” button. Here are the steps:

  1. Add a Cell: In the Watch Window pane, click the ‘Add Watch’ button. A dialog box will appear.
  2. Select the Cell: In the dialog box, click the cell selector button on the right. It will minimize the dialog box and allow you to select a cell in your worksheet.
  3. Choose the Cell: Navigate to the cell you want to monitor and click on it. It will add the cell reference to the dialog box.
  4. Add the Selection: Click the ‘Add’ button in the dialog box to confirm the selection. It will add the cell to the Watch Window.

Monitoring Important Cells With Watch Window

We can inspect and audit the following components with the watch window.

  1. Workbook Name: When you add a cell to the watch, it captures the workbook’s name.
  2. Worksheet Name: The worksheet name will also be captured along with the workbook name. When you have a lot of worksheets in your workbook it is easy to identify cells with worksheet names.
  3. Name: It will also capture the name of the cell range if specified by you.
  4. Cell Address: It will show the address of the cell.
  5. Cell Value: You have a cell value in the watch window. It is a volatile value that can change when the actual value in the cell will change. It makes it easy to audit values in the cell.
  6. Formula: If the added cell has a formula, you will get that in your watch window. This makes it easy to inspect and audit them.

Deleting a Cell from the Watch Window

To delete a cell from the Watch Window, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Watch Window: Navigate to the Formulas tab in your Excel Ribbon. You will find the ‘Watch Window’ button in the ‘Formula Auditing’ group in this tab. Click on this button to open the Watch Window.
  2. Select the Cell: In the Watch Window, click on the cell you want to remove. It will highlight the cell.
  3. Delete the Cell: Click on the ‘Delete’ button on your keyboard. This will remove the cell from the Watch Window.

To delete more than one cell use the Shift + Arrow key or you can also use the Shift + End key to select all the cells to delete.

Fix Watch Window Below Your Excel Ribbon

You can also fix it below your ribbon. To do that just double-click on the title bar of the watch window.

fix watch window below the ribbon

Or, you can do this by clicking on the push pin icon at the top right of the Watch Window.

Important Points

  1. You can add as many cells in it to monitor them but using too many cells will slow down your workbook.
  2. Double-click on the cell entry to select it.
  3. You can only able to track a cell from a workbook if that workbook is open.
Last Updated: April 01, 2024

6 thoughts on “How to use Watch Window in Excel”

  1. Hello Dear,
    I am trying to run macro with the use of watch window which focus on specific cell and as it’s value change, macro should run and genrate new file as per coding. But right now it is not working.
    So, Can you provide me some guidance how should i try to compensate this issue ?

  2. Dear,
    Can you please tell me by watching specific cell continously if any change occure then how i cam save particular file by cell value.?
    I stuck with this problem with few days if you can help me to get it out please.


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