Excel: Recognize common error codes

Today is a quick guide to the most common errors you can have in Microsoft Excel. Surely you have come across one of them in a cell when wanting to carry out any action. Let’s see the best known and why they appear.

Quick Guide to Excel Errors

1. ERROR #### (…)

Among  excel errors  , this message does not report a problem with the formula, unless it is the result of an operation between dates. The  continuous # symbol  (hashtag or  hashtag  , call it what you want) indicates insufficient space in the column.
On the other hand, when the formula includes date/time serial numbers, it indicates that the result is  negative  , therefore not representable. 


This error also identifies a width problem, not physical but logical. The  #NUM! manifests itself when using numeric values ​​that exceed Excel’s limit. The current version allows you to enter  numbers between -10^308 and 10^308  . For a summary of all limits, I refer you to  the official documentation  . 


This error occurs when rows or columns that have references within the formula are deleted. Example: the cell with formula A1 + B1 will return the error  #REF! after removing column B. 


When the data types of references in a formula do not match (for example, a number added to a letter), the  #VALUE!
Also, the same problem occurs when a function’s arguments do not match the requested data type (for example,  num  or  val  ). 

5. #DIV/0 ERROR!

This error code is generated when the formula contains a division with a  divisor  equal to zero. The  #DIV/0! it also happens when the divider reference leads to an empty cell. If you have no idea what a divider is, I’ll send you back here to refresh your memory… 


The  #NAME! is returned when non-existent (or syntactically incorrect) function names or  incorrect range  names  are used  . In the latter case, the incorrect name is enclosed in double quotes. 


The error code  #NULL! occurs when a range is given without the correct separator. Example: COUNT(A1 B1). Here, the colon symbol to indicate the beginning/end of a cell range has been omitted. Or the semicolon symbol to separate two different ranges. 

8. ERROR # N/A!

This code is typical of functions that allow you to search for values ​​within an array (for example, VLOOKUP , HORIZONTAL SEARCH, COMPARE, etc.). When the value is not present, the #N/A! error is returned, which means Not/Available.


Finally, to understand the meaning of each error, Excel provides a very useful tool, called  Error Checker  . The tool is activated from the Formulas tab and provides: an immediate explanation of the error, a reference to the documentation, and the ability to highlight the cell causing the problem with the  Detect Error button  .

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