Formula Errors in Excel
MS Excel is popular for only its most useful feature of automatic calculation which we achieve by applying various functions and formulas. But while applying formulas in excel cell, we get various types of errors. The error can be of
We have various functions to deal with this excel formula errors.
- IFERROR Function
- ISERROR Function
- AGGREGATE Function
Top Formula Errors in Excel with Examples
Let’s understand all these types of excel formula errors using some examples.
1 – #DIV/0 Error
This excel error of #DIV/0 comes when we work with an excel spreadsheet formula which divides two values in a formula and the divisor (the number being divided by) is zero. It stands for divide by zero error.
Here, in the above image, we can see that number 90 is being divided by 0, that is why we get #DIV/0 error.
How to Resolve this Error?
The first and foremost solution is to divide only with cells that have a value that is not equal to zero. But there are situations when we also have empty cells in a spreadsheet. In that case, we can use the IF function as below.
Example – IF Function to Avoid #DIV/0 Error
Suppose we are getting #DIV/0 error as follows,
To avoid this error we will use IF function as follows,
2 – #N/A Error
This excel error means “no value available” or “not available”. This error indicates that the formula is not able to find the value which we suppose the formula will return. While using VLOOKUP, HLOOKUP, MATCH, and LOOKUP function, if we don’t find referenced value in the source data supplied by us as an argument then we will get this error.
- When the source data and the lookup value are not of the same data type.
In the above example, we have entered Roll No. of Student as a number but in the source data, roll numbers of students are stored as text that is why #N/A error appears.
To resolve this error, either we can enter the roll number as text-only or we can use TEXT function in the VLOOKUP Function.
Solution 1: To enter Roll number as text
Solution 2: Use TEXT Function
Use TEXT function in the VLOOKUP function for lookup_value argument to convert entered numbers to TEXT.
We could also use the IFERROR function to display the message if VLOOKUP can’t find the referenced value in the source data.
3 – #NAME? Error
This error is displayed in Excel when we usually misspell the function name.
We can see in the above image that VLOOKUP is not spelled correctly that is why #NAME? error is being displayed.
To resolve the error, we just need to correct the spellings.
4 – #NULL! Error
This error is usually displayed when cell references are not specified correctly.
We get this error when we do not use the space character appropriately. The space character is called Intersect Operator as this is used to specify the range which intersects each other at any cell.
In the below image, we have used the space character but the ranges A2:A12 and B2:B12 are not intersecting that is why this error is being displayed.
In the below image, we can see that the sum of range B2:B12 is being displayed in cell D2 as while specifying a range for SUM function, we have picked up two references (with space character) which overlaps each other for range B2:B12. This is the reason why sum of B2:B12 range is being displayed.
#NULL! error can also be displayed when we use Intersect Operator (Space Character) instead of
- Mathematical Operator (Plus Sign) to sum.
- Range Operator (Colon Sign) to specify the start and end cell for a range.
- Union Operator (Comma Sign) to separate individual cell references.
5 – #NUM! Error
This error is usually displayed when a number for any argument of a function is found invalid.
To find out the square root of a negative number which is not possible as the square of a number always has to be positive.
To solve the error, we just need to make the number positive.
MS Excel has a range of numbers that we can use. The number smaller than the shortest number or number greater than the longest number as a result of the function can return an error.
Here we can see that we have written formula as 2^8000 which yields results greater than the longest number that is why #NUM! error is being displayed.
6 – #REF! Error
This excel error stands for reference error. This error usually comes when
- We have deleted the cell accidentally which we have referenced in the formula.
- We cut and paste the referenced cell in different locations.
As we deleted cell B7 then the cell C7 shifted left to take place of B7 and we got reference error in the formula as we deleted one of the referenced cells of the formula.
7 – #VALUE! Error
This error comes when we use the wrong data type for a function or formula. For example, only numbers can be added. But if we use any other data type like text, then this error will be displayed.
8 – ###### Error
This error is displayed by MS Excel when the column width of the cell is not enough to display the stored value in the cell.
In the below image, there are date and time written in the cells. But as column width is not enough, that is why ##### is being displayed.
To resolve the error, we just need to increase the column width as per requirement using the ‘Column Width’ command available in the ‘Format’ menu in the ‘Cells’ group under the ‘Home’ tab or we can just double click on the right border of the column.
9 – Circular Reference Error
This type of excel error comes when we reference the same cell in which we are writing the function or formula.
In the above image, we can see that we have got sum as 0 as we have referenced B4 in the B4 cell itself for calculation.
Whenever we create this type of circular reference, Excel alerts us about the same too.
To resolve the error, we just need to remove the reference for the B4 cell.
Function to Deal with Excel Errors
Following are the excel functions use to deal with excel errors.
1 – ISERROR Function
This function is used to check whether there would be error after applying the function or not.
2 – AGGREGATE Function
This function ignores error values. When we know that there can be an error in the source data then we need to use this function instead of SUM, COUNT function, etc.
We can see that the AGGREGATE function avoids error values.
Things to Remember
- To resolve any error in the excel formula, we can take online help also. We just need to click on the ‘Insert Function’ button under the Formula tab and choose “Help on this function”.
- To avoid #NAME error, we can choose the desired function from the drop-down list opened when we start typing any function in the cell followed by ‘=’ sign. To choose a function, we just need to press ‘Tab’ button on the keyboard.
This has been a guide to Errors in Excel. Here we discuss the list of top formula errors in excel and functions to deal with them with the help of examples. You can learn more about excel from the following articles –