Working With Circular references in Excel

Have you ever experienced the dreaded “Circular reference warning” popping up when you opened an Excel file or entered a formula?

Excel detects a circular reference when a chain of calculations visits the same cell more than once. Many users get (very) confused by this message and have no idea what it is about. I’ll tried to demystify that message in a new article:

Working with Circular references in Excel

The article contains these chapters:

Types of circular references

Simplistically speaking there are only a few types of circular references to discern:

Deliberate circular references

Accidental circular references

Calculation settings

If you want to work with circular references, the calculation settings of Excel are very important. This page gives you some pointers!

Properly setting up circular references

Whereas I am no fan of using circular references, they can be beneficial to your model and really solve the problem you are trying to solve. So here is some advice on how to properly work with them.

Reasons why circular references may not be detected

This page shows a couple of reasons why circles are not detected.



Jan Karel Pieterse

6 thoughts on “Working With Circular references in Excel

  1. A summary of the content should be available here for readers to judge if it is useful. Especially as clicking that links takes you to another page where further links need to be clicked to see the article

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