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Debug and Audit a Model (error tracking and root cause analysis)

Debug and Audit a Model (error tracking and root cause analysis)

Human-readable names

When auditing a model (especially other people’s models) it is often difficult to understand the formulae. Visyond allows you to use human-readable names that immediately reveal the modeler’s logic without you having to chase precedent cryptic cells (i.e., what is B7? and G41?), especially when they are on different worksheets.

See http://help.visyond.com/articles/how-to-use-natural-names-in-visyond/

 

Auto formatting

It is useful (and best practice) to color code cells to have a bird’s eye view of their nature.

Good modelers formats at least input in a different way.

Visyond helps you understand whether a cell contains a number, a strings, a date or a formula by autoformatting them. You just have to switch AUDIT MODE on.

Unlike traditional spreadsheets, Visyond dynamically changes these formats based on the cell content so if, for instance, a cell has an error and you have switched on AUDIT MODE, it will become red and you will not miss it. An early client once called complaining that after importing an Excel file in Visyond, many cells were red. The reason was that after passing so many hands, someone (they’ll never know who) deleted a worksheet, invalidated the references to many formulae. With Visyond you immediately uncover these issues and there are also safety belt asking you to confirm potential model-breaking actions.

Visyond helps easily navigating the precedents and dependents of a cell. Just select a cell and click on their precedents or dependents listed at the bottom of the screen.

Precedents and dependents tracking

 

Track errors and their root cause

When in Audit Mode, Visyond offers simple and intuitive ways to track errors and their root cause:

  1. It highlights error and circular cells clearly
  2. The trendlines help you visually identify unexpected behaviors
  3. The Precedents Panel displays on top the precedent cells that are error; this way you can identify the root cause of the error propagation chain with a few clicks.
Precedents and dependents tracking when cell B1 is an error cell

 

In the example below, we see that cell A9 is an error cell and has a precedent cell, A8, that is an error cell too. You can click on A8 and check which one of its precedents are also errors, and so on until you find the root cause: the first cell causing error propagation throughout the model.

If you have a larger model it is difficult to track the root cause of errors, so Visyond offers a convenient “Root” button. When there are errors among a cell’s precedents, the “Root” button appears and if pressed, it shows the root cause for the cell. In this case, as shown below, we immediately know that cell A9 is an error because cell A4 is an error.

Error root cause analysis

Trendlines

It also has native trend lines to show you visually (you do not have to inspect numbers one by one or unnecessarily chart them) whether there are any unexpected spikes on that row.

 

Unit formatting

In Visyond you can format a cell value in different units, avoiding unnecessary intermediate calculations to visualise numbers in certain units. This improves readability, auditability and reporting.

Unit Formatting

See http://help.visyond.com/articles/how-to-use-audit-mode-in-visyond/

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January 16, 2018

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