A Watch Window in Excel is a window that floats in front of your workbook that lets you see selected cells from anywhere in your workbook, or even other workbooks. This can be very helpful when you want to see how changes affect cells on other tabs or that aren’t within view on a large spreadsheet. If you don’t want it floating in front of your workbook it can also be docked along any side.

To open a watch window, click on the Formulas tab in the ribbon.  In the Formula Auditing section, click on the Watch Window button. To add cells to be watched, click the Add Watch button at the top of the watch window.  Then use your mouse to select the cell or range of cells you want to watch, or type in the cell reference, or if you have named cells press the F3 key to choose from a list of range names.  Click the Add button to add your selection to the list. To remove a watch from the list, select it in the watch window and click the Delete Watch button.

For each watch you add the watch window will list the workbook, worksheet, cell name (if you are using names), cell reference (such as A1), the value in that cell, and the formula in that cell.  Now you will be able to see the results of changes to your data without navigating all over your workbook.

Since you’ll be seeing the cell contents out of context, that is without the descriptions or labels contained in surrounding cells, the more items you add to the watch window, the more you’ll benefit from naming the cells that you add to the watch window, as the name will be the only description that appears in the watch window.

If you added cells from another workbook to your watch list, those cells will only be displayed when that workbook is open.