Help with Circular Reference Error

Regular Visitor

I'm trying to sum a column of numbers, and two of those numbers are calculations that reference another calculation.  I get the following error message:

There are one or more circular references where a formula refers to its own cell either directly or indirectly. This might cause them to calculate incorrectly.

I've done this many times before without a problem.  In this case, I don't see how it's referencing its own cell. I used to be able to use a value from a calculation in another calculation, but it seems like something has changed with Excel, or this is a different problem.  I got the calculation to work in other cells but not in the column where I wanted it.  

(For some reason, this system won't let me post the file link from my OneDrive here.)




2 Replies


You are most likely trying to place the formula in cell that is referenced by the formula.  It is difficult to tell without seeing the formula.

@LBrock  wrote:  `this system won't let me post the file link from my OneDrive here``


I think that depends on how many posts you have so far.  A work-around:  edit the beginning of the URL so it does not look like a URL.  For example, the URL for this thread is:

techcommunity dot microsoft dot com /t5/excel/help-with-circular-reference-error/m-p/3739678#M180483




Have you tried to use Formula > Error Checking > Circular References to track down the culprit.?


Finding circ refs is more art than science, in some cases.  It depends on the complexity of the circ refs.


IMHO, do not enable Iterative Calculations just to avoid the circ ref error, unless you purposely designed a system of circ refs (unreliable and ill-advised, IMHO).


That simply masks the problems.  Your formulas probably will not work as intended, anyway.