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XL2000: Visual Basic Macro to List Circular References


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Summary

In a Microsoft Excel worksheet, when a formula in a cell refers to the same cell the formula occupies, either directly or indirectly, a circular reference is created. In Excel, tracing tools are provided on the�Auditing toolbar to help you locate unwanted circular references. Another way you can trace circular references is to create a Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications macro that produces a list of all cells containing circular references that occur in a single worksheet.

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More information

Microsoft provides programming examples for illustration only, without warranty either expressed or implied, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability and/or fitness for a particular purpose. This article assumes that you are familiar with the programming language being demonstrated and the tools used to create and debug procedures. Microsoft support professionals can help explain the functionality of a particular procedure, but they will not modify these examples to provide added functionality or construct procedures to meet your specific needs.
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Finding Circular References

Precedents are the cells referenced, directly or indirectly, by a formula. A circular reference occurs whenever the cell containing the circular reference formula is included in the formula's precedents.

The following sample Visual Basic macro generates a new sheet in a workbook and lists all circular references found on the active worksheet. The macro does this by testing each formula in the sheet to see if the cell containing the formula intersects the precedents of the formula.

NOTE: A limitation of this method is that the Precedents property in Visual Basic for Applications can only find precedents on the active sheet. The macro will not find a circular reference that is caused by a remote reference.

Sample Visual Basic Procedure

On a module sheet, enter the following Visual Basic code:
Sub FindCircRefs()
    ' Get source information.
    sourcesheet = ActiveSheet.Name
    Sheets.Add
    ' Get destination information.
    destsheet = ActiveSheet.Name
    destrange = ActiveCell.Address
    ' Return to source.
    Worksheets(sourcesheet).Activate
    rowcount = 0
    ' Trap for error in "result", indicating no circular reference.
    On Error GoTo notcircular

    ' Loop through every used cell in source.
    For Each Item In ActiveSheet.UsedRange
        ' Check to see if cell contains a formula.
        If Left(Item.Formula, 1) = "=" Then
            ' If cell intersects with precedents, cell has circular
            ' reference.
            result = Intersect(ActiveSheet.Range(Item.Address), _
                ActiveSheet.Range(Item.Precedents.Address))

            Worksheets(destsheet).Range(destrange).Offset(rowcount, _
                0).Value = Item.Address(False, False)

            Worksheets(destsheet).Range(destrange).Offset(rowcount, _
                1).Value = "'" & Item.Formula

            rowcount = rowcount + 1
            ' Skip to here if not circular.
            skipitem:
        End If
    Next
    Exit Sub

' If error in "result", go here.
notcircular:
    ' Skip cells that do not contain circular references.
    Resume skipitem
End Sub
				
To use this macro, run the FindCircRefs macro from the Microsoft Excel worksheet for which you want to find circular references. A new sheet is added to the active workbook, listing the cell addresses of circular references in column A and the formula at that address in column B. If no circular references are found, the new sheet is empty.

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References

For more information about circular references and locating cells that contain them, click Microsoft Excel Help on the Help menu, type locate cells that create a circular reference in the Office Assistant or the Answer Wizard, and then click Search to view the topics returned.

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Keywords: KB213826, kbprogramming, kbhowto, kbdtacode

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Article Info
Article ID : 213826
Revision : 1
Created on : 9/1/2011
Published on : 9/1/2011
Exists online : False
Views : 576