Circular References and Circular References Diagnostic Tool (for OrgVue)

If there are circular references in the parent child reporting structure there can be unpredictable behaviour in the tree structure.

When you import (copy) data into OrgVue that contains circular references, OrgVue will generate a warning:


  • As part of its import function, OrgVue accepts data provided that it is logical but then gives warnings about what is questionable about it e.g. duplicate IDs, missing parent IDs, circular references. 
  • Any warnings should be reviewed before saving the dataset
  • Any warning delivered will relate to the source data row numbers i.e. Excel typically rather than what has been loaded

By circular reference we mean there is an instance of A reports to B reports to …. reports to A, i.e. it goes round in a cycle

The best way to detect circular references is via Excel, and this article describes how to use the attached OrgVue Diagnostic Tool - Circular References spreadsheet.


The spreadsheet attached to the article has two tabs, the tab labelled diagnostic is where "your data" should be pasted: the tab labelled sample is a sample output of the tool in use

  • Copy (export) the dataset containing the circular reference(s) into the diagnostic tab of the tool
  • Each row represent a child/parent node relationship , where each column represents a circular reference in the hierarchy.
  • The Excel calculation will need to be dragged out to the right until there is no value to display, at which point you have reached the top level of that particular circular reference.
  • The rightmost column will show Fine if no circular reference, an ID value will indicate a circular reference


  • Use standard Excel filters to exclude rows where cell value is Fine as the remaining rows will be the circular references
  • When looking to fix the circular references, review column values per row by 'walking' left to right to identify the circular reference, which would then need to be corrected
  • Once circular references have been resolved, copy data to OrgVue again, check for any outstanding warnings

diagnostic tool usage note:

  • the tool allows for 8000 nodes approximately
  • if this number is exceeded, update the underlying lookup table in Excel
  • in Excel go to Formulas > Name Manager
  • update the scope of the Refers to... for the lookupTable name for Diagnotic tab to include all rows - change 8293 to 25000 say




Article and diagnostic tool authored by Tom Simpkins from the OrgVue development team

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