One minute Excel Tutorial – Watch Window

watch window buttonAccountants and analysts around the world does one amazing job and that is they give the meaning to mammoth data by processing it using their skills and the same information is then used by managers to make decisions. Everyone wishes to be an analyst or a consultant that people seek for advice. However, as we know no pains no gains. And the biggest pain being a big analyst is big data!

Although Excel has made everything much easier for analysts what was not possible even to imagine few years back, still one problem bugs even today i.e. what if you have a cell that is connected to a far off end of the worksheet and every time you need to change the data you scroll back to first cell and scroll again to the one where results are shown. Now that is really pinching situation especially if you have hundreds and thousands of rows to work on. Excel does have a solution to even this named: Watch Window!

Watch window as the name suggests puts up a window on the worksheet that even if you move away from the cell which you want to monitor even then you can see what is happening in that cell so it acts just like a window allowing you to see through work space barriers or limitations or “walls”.

How to Peek on what you Seek!

Go the cell or cells you want to monitor all the time and click Formulas tab > Formula Auditing group > Watch window button. Click the button and a new box will open. Click Add watch button. A selection will field will appear in which active cell is already selected but if you want to change the selection you can do it easily and you can even select multiple cells. Click OK.

watch window

Once the cell is in the watch window, you can read some basic information like what workbook active cell is, which worksheet is it on, value in the cell, name of the cell (if you have given it already) and the formula if you have in it.

Now you can safely move away from the cell as it is already monitored through watch window. Watch window will not move or change if you move around in worksheet or switch to another workbook. It will be in front all the time unless you close it.

Now if you make the changes on which the cell being monitored depends or take values from then you can see how it changes in the watch window easily. Without watch window you will have to scroll to that cell again to see the change. This seriously slows down the process and it is very annoying.

Well although it is not the only solution you have if you want another area of work space visible for example we do have split window or multiple windows features as well but watch window is the most flexible of all as you can watch many different cells easily at one place without even disturbing your work space layout.

If you are not interested in certain information you can remove that easily too by highlighting it and click Delete watch button.

watch window remove


By default watch window appears above the work space and that hides the data behind it. You can give this window the place you like. If you double click and hold the top margin of watch window you can drag it below ribbon and it will just snap in place between ribbon and worksheet. You can also place it below or to the right or left of the worksheet. So this little creature can adapt as you want it and not really hindering your work.

watch window place