# Circular Dependency Detected in Google Sheets (2024 Fix)

May 8, 2024

## Circular Dependency Detected in Google Sheets Explained

A circular dependency in Google Sheets occurs when a formula in a cell indirectly or directly refers back to itself, creating a loop. This can cause errors in your calculations and result in the "Circular Dependency Detected" warning.

### Example 1: Direct Circular Dependency

You have a formula in cell A1: =A1+1. This formula is trying to add 1 to the value of A1 itself, creating a loop.

### Example 2: Indirect Circular Dependency

This occurs when a cell refers to another cell, which eventually refers back to the first cell. For instance, if A1 contains =B1, and B1 contains =A1, it's an indirect circular dependency.

## How to Fix Circular Dependency Detected in Google Sheets

### Correct the Formulas

The simplest way to resolve a circular dependency is to correct the formulas. Ensure that no formula refers back to its own cell or creates a loop through other cells.

Example:

1. Cell A1 contains =A1+1.

Modify the formula so that it doesn't refer to A1. For instance, change it to =B1+1, where B1 is a different cell that doesn't create a dependency loop.

2. A1 contains =B1, and B1 contains =A1.

Break the loop by changing one of the formulas. For example, change B1 to =C1, assuming C1 doesn't create another circular dependency.

### Use Helper Cells

Sometimes, breaking a circular dependency requires restructuring your worksheet. You can introduce "helper cells" to hold intermediate values.

Example:

You want to calculate a running total in A1, but =A1+B1 creates a circular dependency.

Use a helper cell (C1) to store the previous total. Set A1 to =C1+B1, and update C1 with the new total each time you change B1.

### Check for Complex Dependencies

In larger spreadsheets, circular dependencies might not be obvious. Carefully review your formulas, especially where cells are heavily interconnected.

### Avoid Volatile Formulas

Certain functions like INDIRECT, OFFSET, and RAND can often lead to circular dependencies if not used carefully. Ensure these functions aren't inadvertently creating loops.

### Using Iterative Calculation (Advanced)

If your use case specifically requires circular references (like for certain types of financial modeling), Google Sheets allows you to enable iterative calculations.

Go to "File" > "Settings."

Click on the "Calculation" tab.

Check "Iterative calculation" and set the maximum number of iterations and the convergence threshold.

We hope that this article has helped you and given you a better understanding of circular dependency detected in Google Sheets. If you enjoyed this article, you might also like our articles on how to make a heat map in Google Sheets and how to swap two cells in Google Sheets.

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