Excel’s Advanced Error Codes – “Why isn’t this working?!”

We’ve all seen Microsoft Excel error codes, and you’ve probably already figured whatmicrosoft office excel shortcuts 2016 some of them mean. But when we get into more advanced Excel usage, the error codes we encounter can still be vexing. Understanding the following error codes will promote you to Excel’s Power User status! Excel TIP: Use the Formula tab’s Formula auditing tools to track error issues. We’re going to be using some of them here.

#N/A

Excel is saying “That lookup value isn’t valid”

This usually happens because our lookup function can’t find the lookup value. It happens most often when our lookup_value refers to an empty cell. But it also happens when we have an unsorted table_array. (This also effects the MATCH function.)

Excel Tip: Use the Trace Precedents tool (Formulas tab > Formula Auditing group) to track which cell you’ve identified as your lookup_value.

#NUM!

Excel is saying “I can’t display that number”

This happens for one of a few reasons:

  • We’ve used a negative number, but our function was expecting a positive number
  • We’ve put in a calculation that returns a number too big for excel to display
  • We’re using an iterative function, and Excel’s preferences are still set to disallow iterations

Excel Tip: Check your function/formula. If you’ve entered an exponential function, it may be too big. If it requires a positive number, or it iterates, make sure you’ve allowed that.

 #NULL!

Excel is saying “There’s no intersection!”

This most often happens because we meant to enter a formula but forgot to input our math operator. If we forget the + or – or * or / and put a space in there instead, we’ll get this error.

This truly happens because there’s no intersection between ranges. We have the ability to ask Excel to display the value in a cell that is in common between two ranges. But if there is no overlap though, this feature doesn’t work. If you meant to make an intersection check and make sure that our intersections overlap.

Excel Tip: Use the Trace Precedents tool (Formulas tab > Formula Auditing group) to track which cells your erroneous cell is fetching information from.

#NAME?

Excel is saying “Is that a named range?”

This happens in a few circumstances:

  • Misspelling a function
  • Forgetting quotes around text in a function
  • Referencing a named range that has been deleted, or misspelling a named range.

Excel Tip: Use the Trace Precedents tool (Formulas tab > Formula Auditing group) to track which cell you’ve identified as your lookup_value.