How to Check Your Input Sources

In this video we’ll show you how to run a quick basic check of the input sources of your spreadsheet and how to determine if there is any unknown input. We’ll also show you a powerful way to visualize your spreadsheet’s information flow to help determine the function and dependability of each worksheet.

Case: are the spreadsheet results based on complete and up-to-date information?

Say you’re an investment manager at a large corporation and you receive a spreadsheet in preparation for a potentially big investment.

For a proper assessment, it is vital to know where the spreadsheet gets its input from. In particular, you want to know that the spreadsheet results are based on complete and up-to-date information. We’ll use PerfectXL to verify this.

Input/Output Visualization

Logged in, we drag the spreadsheet in for analysis. Once it has finished, we jump straight to the Input/Output visualization. This shows all the worksheets in the spreadsheet. Arrows indicate where sheets get their input from. Sheets marked in black are solely used as input, so in the blink of an eye we can see that all input sheets are used in calculations.

If you wanted to go into further detail, visit the Constants page to reveal a list of all the numbers defined in the spreadsheet that are used by formulas.

Check for Input of External Sources

So far we’ve only looked at input from within the spreadsheet. How about external sources? We’ll go to the Characteristics section of the analysis, where at the bottom we instantly note that there’s important information coming from another spreadsheet. Curiously, we only ever got one spreadsheet. Worth to check with the provider of the Excel file if the information is really complete.

Summary

As you can see, in just over a minute we’ve been able to do a basic check of input sources and determined that part of the spreadsheet’s input is unknown, because we are missing an external source. We’ve also seen a powerful way to visualize the information flow in your spreadsheet to help determine the function and dependability of each worksheet.

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