How to Show Tracer Arrows in Excel (2 Handy Ways)

When working with a large spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel, it can be challenging to track which cell contains the data you’re looking for. To make it easier to find your data, you can use tracer arrows to show the relationships between cells. Tracer arrows are blue lines with arrows in Excel that connect cells that contain related data. Tracer arrows make it easy to see which cells are referenced by a formula, and which cells reference other cells. In this article, we’ll demonstrate to you to show tracer arrows in Excel in comfortable ways.

Download Practice Workbook

Download the following practice workbook. It will help you to realize the topic more clearly.

What Are Tracer Arrows in Excel?

Basically, the tracer arrows are the blue line arrows that actually show the relationship between the cells used in a formula. There are two types of tracer arrows. One is Trace Precedents Arrow and the other is Trace Dependents Arrow. Both arrows are important to show the relationship between the cells. Here we have discussed how to show these tracer arrows in Excel.

2 Ways to Show Tracer Arrows in Excel

The Tracer Arrows may be shown in 2 ways one Trace Precedents and the other Trace Dependents. These two basically show the relationship between the active cells with the other cells. We have discussed 2 ways to show the Tracer Arrows. Follow the instruction stated below.

1. Selecting Trace Precedents Option

The Trace Precedents arrow is a built-in feature in Excel. It shows the relationship between the active cells and the other cells. If a cell contains a formula with other cells the Trace Precedents arrows help us to show the relationship. Here, we demonstrate the simple steps to show the Trace Precedents arrow.

📌 Steps:

  • First of all, enter the formula in cell E5.

Thus, cell E5 is precedented by cells C5 and D5. However, we can see this relation using the Trace Precedents command. This command will display a blue line with arrows to show the dependency.

  • Then, select cell E5 >> go to the Formulas tab.
  • Afterward, under the Formula Auditing command and click on the Trace Precedents option.

Selecting Trace Precedents Option to show tracer arrows in Excel

Eventually, the blue tracer line of Trace Precedents will appear just like the image below.

Trace Precedents Arrow

Read More: How to Use Blue Line with Arrows in Excel

2. Choosing Trace Dependents Option

Mainly, the Trace Dependents arrow shows the relationship between the selected cell and the other cells. The group of cells that are affected by the selected cell is displayed by the blue arrows. It is the Trace Dependents arrow. Follow the steps to show the Trace Dependents arrow.

📌 Steps:

  • Firstly, select cell C5.
  • Then go to the Formulas tab >> under the Formula Auditing ribbon group, pick the Trace Dependents command.

Choosing Trace Dependents Option to show the tracer arrows in Excel

Finally, this will show all the dependent cells under C5 with the blue line of tracer arrows.

Trace depenents arrows to show the tracer arrows in Excel

Read More: How to Draw Arrows in Excel (3 Simple Ways)

How to Remove Tracer Arrows in Excel

Sometimes you might need to remove the tracer arrows in your worksheet. It is as simple as showing the arrow. There are built-in features to remove the tracer arrows. Follow the steps to remove it.

📌 Steps:

  • In the very beginning, go to the Formulas tab and click on the Remove Arrows command under Formula Auditing.

How to Remove Tracer Arrows in Excel

  • Subsequently, this will remove all the blue lines with arrows whether they are line Trace Precedents or Trace Dependents commands.

Practice Section

We have provided a practice section on each sheet on the right side for your practice. Please do it by yourself.

Practice Section


That’s all about today’s session. And these are the ways to show the tracer arrows in Excel. Please let us know in the comments section if you have any questions or suggestions. For a better understanding, please download the practice sheet. Visit our website Exceldemy, a one-stop Excel solution provider, to find out diverse kinds of excel methods. Thanks for your patience in reading this article.

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Fahim Shahriyar Dipto

Fahim Shahriyar Dipto

Hello! Welcome to my Excel blog! I am a big fan of MS Excel. I am learning new and exciting things in Excel and writing the process here. I think this will be helpful for you to get used to Excel. Keep visiting our website for new and updated Excel methods.

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