Excel Formulas Not Working? Decode the Code!

Excel Formulas Not Working? Not sure what that error message means? In the course of compiling an Excel spreadsheet, you are going to run into formula errors. In order to fix the errors with your formulas, you have to know what that error message is telling you. What follows is a list of the most commonly encountered error messages you will encounter in Excel. Simply bookmark this page and refer back to it the next time you run into an unfamiliar error message or you aren’t sure how to fix your formula.

Excel Formulas Not Working? 8 Most Common Formula Errors


This error occurs when you attempt to divide a number by 0. Since this is mathematically impossible, Excel returns this error.


This error occurs when your formula references a value that does not exist. For example, if you attempt to use a VLOOKUP formula that looks like =VLOOKUP(“USA”,A:B,1,False), but “USA” does not appear anywhere in Column A, then your formula will return the #N/A error.


This error occurs when your formula contains an invalid cell reference. This could occur because you either mistyped the cell reference (i.e., you reference cell 1A instead of A1), or because you referenced a Named Range that does not exist.


This error occurs when one (or more) of the values referenced in your formula is of the wrong type. For example, if you attempt to add a cell with text in it to another cell (e.g. =A1+B1, where the value of A1=”USA”), you will receive this error.Excel formulas not working


This error occurs when Excel is unable to recognize a text reference within a formula. This can be either a formula name that Excel doesn’t recognize or a misspelled Named Range reference. The most common cause of this error is a misspelled formula name (as in “VLOKUP” instead of “VLOOKUP”).


This error occurs when your formula contains an invalid number. This could either be a number that does not exist (as in the square root of a negative number) or a number that exceeds Excel’s processing ability.


This error is fairly rare, but most often occurs when you reference improper range references (as in where you’re trying to refer to two non-intersecting ranges).


This error occurs when a number is so long it cannot fit in the cell. Simply re-size the column width of the cell to resolve the error. You will also see this error if you make a date negative.

Once you know why your Excel formulas are not working, you can start figuring out how to fix them. Many times this involves a lot of trial and error (especially if you are working with a long, complicated formula). But once you know why your Excel formulas are not working, you will be well on your way to figuring out how to fix them.

Excel Formulas Not Working? Need Help With Excel?

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