Excel error messages can throw a wrench into your plans. Let’s walk through some of the most frequent errors you will encounter, and how to prevent them in the first place.
The value error occurs when your formula is unable to return a result or cannot execute. Usually, this is due to a misplaced character (check your commas and colons), logical command that doesn’t make sense, or a lookup/match that doesn’t exist.
An easy solution to the value error is to use formula builder to test complex formulas and confirm that it returns a value. In the following example, the HLOOKUP formula can’t find July since it isn’t in the table. The VLOOKUP formula can’t find benefits in a related issue since it isn’t in the table.
The #NAME error occurs when Excel can’t read a reference in a cell. If you put quotes around a cell reference, Excel will interpret it as text instead of a reference. Alternatively, if you mistype part of a formula, you may get this reference (example: SMUIF() or VLOKUP()). Similar to #N/A, an easy solution to the value error is to use formula builder to test complex formulas and confirm that it returns a value.
One of the most common errors in Excel, #DIV/0 occurs if you attempt to divide a value by 0. It is very common in spreadsheets with dynamic data such as a Profit and Loss statement where not every cell populates. An easy solution is to use the formula =IFERROR() in any formulas with division. I would recommend returning either “0” or “n/a.”
This error occurs when a reference in a formula no longer exists. If you linked a formula to A2 and delete the A column, it will return this error. The common cause is deleting rows or cells. To prevent the error, update formulas pointing to a row or column prior to deleting.
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