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Home > English site > Articles > Circular References
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Working with Circular references in Excel


If you've come to this page, chances are you've experienced the "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 try to demystify that message here!

You may also find an excerpt of parts of the article on the Microsoft Office blog

The next couple of pages discuss:

Table Of Contents


Showing last 8 comments of 27 in total (Show All Comments):


Comment by: Lauri Anne (8/3/2012 3:48:58 AM)

Can you use a circular reference in Sky Drive. I have a fairly large sheet that uses circular references to distribute orders to our produce co-op. I would like to be able to use this sheet on SkyDrive but it looks like that can't happen.


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (8/7/2012 11:17:49 AM)

@Lauri: I guess the answer must be no if you have tested it and it does not work. But did you try it with a small spreadsheet?


Comment by: Lauri Anne (8/7/2012 3:35:35 PM)

I have tried it it seems the problem is SkyDrive doesn't support the circular reference nor does it support iterative calculations...


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (8/8/2012 1:08:58 PM)

Hi Lauri Anne,

OK, thanks for letting me know!


Comment by: Michael Man (10/16/2012 9:00:19 PM)

I am attempting to create an inventory control spreadsheet. In it I have created a circular reference and do not know how to resolve it. I have started cell B2 to be my starting inventory with C2-G2 being Monday-Friday usage and H2 being final weekly counts. Is there a way after fridays usage is entered and is put into H2, that B2 gets the new value as well to start over again for next week?

Thank you for your time.
Michael J Mann


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (10/17/2012 9:32:23 AM)

Hi Michael,

Is there a reason why you would not simply start the next week on row 3?


Comment by: Michael Mann (10/17/2012 2:54:54 PM)

We have several types of cotton and foam that we use, and I am trying to digitalize our inventory system. Is there a way to make it auto go to row 3? I am sorry for asking so many questions, I am just not used to Excel.


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