# How to Show Precedent Tracer Arrows in Excel

*This tutorial demonstrates how to show precedent tracer arrows (showing which cells the current cell depends on) in Excel.*

## Show Precedent Tracer Arrows

**Precedent cells** are cells that are included in the calculation of a selected cell. For example, if cell B3 contains the formula **=B1+B2**, cells B1 and B2 are precedents of B3.

You can use Trace Precedents commands to graphically display and trace the relationships between cells and formulas with tracer arrows. The **Trace Precedents** feature shows arrows to indicate which cells are included in the calculation of the currently selected cell. This helps a lot when you are checking formulas for accuracy or finding the source of an error.

- The first step is to select the cell for which you want to show precedent tracer arrows. In this example, it’s cell F8, which is the sum of cells F2:F6. Each of these cells is calculated as a sum from its row: F2 is the sum of B2:E2, F3 is the sum of B3:E3, etc.

- Then in the
**Ribbon**, go to**Formulas > Trace Dependents**(from the Formula Auditing group).

Precedent tracer arrows appear for the selected cell. You can see below, for this example, that there are five cells (F2:F6) that make the value of the selected cell.

- If there is more than one layer, you can click
**Trace Precedents**again and it shows other layers with new tracer arrows.

- When you’re done, hide the arrows to view your spreadsheet without them.

**Tips**

- The shortcut for Trace Precedents is
**ALT > M > P**. - You can use a VBA loop to trace multiple cells without clicking on each cell.
- You can also display the dependency tracer arrows.