Do you have large datasets or dashboards with formulas scattered along multiple sheets? Are you navigating back and forth between sheets to check what the formulas return after changing values on the different sheets? Excel has a solution for you: the Watch window. In this guide, we're going to show you how to monitor formulas using the Watch Window Excel feature.

Microsoft has introduced Watch Window in Excel 2013. It is a tool to monitor a cell's value and its properties, such as the workbook and worksheet names, cell or range names, cell address, and formulas, in a separate window. You can place this window wherever you want and even dock it like a toolbar.

How to Use the Watch Window Excel Feature

Follow the path in the Ribbon: Formula > Formula Auditing > Watch Window

Alternatively, you can use the Alt + M + W shortcut to open the dialog.

How to add cells to monitor

Click the Add Watch button to open a reference input dialog. Select the cell(s) you want to add and click OK.

How to remove cells from the Watch Window

  1. Select a cell or cells to delete
  2. Click the Delete Watch button

Note: You can select multiple cells by using the Ctrl or Shift keys.

How to dock

The Watch Window dialog is a separate window by default. It is always displayed at the front panel of your Excel window. So, you can move it like any window. On the other hand, the Watch Window can be docked to the top, bottom, left, or right side of the screen. To do this, just drag the Watch Window using the mouse to the location you want.


  • You can add only one watch per cell.
  • If a cell has a reference from an external workbook, it is displayed only when the external workbook is open.
  • You can add as many cells as you want into Watch Window. However using too many cells will affect performance and slow down your workbook.
  • You can access a monitored cell by double-clicking on it.