Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
It Takes All Types
When one of your formulas returns one of these error values, an alert
indicator (in the form of an exclamation point in a diamond) appears to the left of
the cell when it contains the cell pointer, and the upper-left corner of the cell
contains a tiny green triangle. When you position the mouse pointer on this
alert indicator, Excel displays a brief description of the formula error and adds
a drop-down button to the immediate right of its box. When you click this
button, a pop-up menu appears with a number of related options. To access
online help on this formula error, including suggestions on how to get rid of
the error, click the Help on This Error item on this pop-up menu.
The worst thing about error values is that they can contaminate other
formulas in the worksheet. If a formula returns an error value to a cell and a second
formula in another cell refers to the value calculated by the first formula, the
second formula returns the same error value, and so on down the line.
After an error value shows up in a cell, you have to discover what caused
the error and edit the formula in the worksheet. In Table 2-1, I list some error
values that you might run into in a worksheet and then explain the most
Error Values That You May Encounter
from Faulty Formulas
Up in the Cell
What’s Going On Here?
Appears when the formula calls for division by a cell that either
contains the value 0 or, as is more often the case, is empty.
Division by zero is a no-no in mathematics.
Appears when the formula refers to a range name (see Chapter
6 for info on naming ranges) that doesn’t exist in the worksheet.
This error value appears when you type the wrong range name
or fail to enclose in quotation marks some text used in the
formula, causing Excel to think that the text refers to a range name.
Appears most often when you insert a space (where you should
have used a comma) to separate cell references used as
arguments for functions.
Appears when Excel encounters a problem with a number in the
formula, such as the wrong type of argument in an Excel function
or a calculation that produces a number too large or too small to
be represented in the worksheet.
Appears when Excel encounters an invalid cell reference, such
as when you delete a cell referred to in a formula or paste cells
over the cells referred to in a formula.
Appears when you use the wrong type of argument or operator
in a function, or when you call for a mathematical operation that
refers to cells that contain text entries.