Six Excel error codes and how to correct them

Excel is a powerful tool, but it can be tough to master if you do not know how to deal with the error codes that might crop up from time to time.

Here is a quick rundown of the most common complications you could encounter with this software and the steps needed to fix them.

Dividing by zero

If the error #DIV/0! is displayed, it means that the formula you have created is making an attempt to divide by zero. The most common cause for this is an incomplete data set, so check for cells that are not filled with figures to rectify this.

Not applicable

Should a cell display the #N/A error, a number of culprits could be at play, all of which are related to missing information or the misspelling of some crucial aspect. An item being absent from a lookup table can often be the cause.

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Impossible calculations

Getting the #NUM! error is a sign that Excel is being asked to perform a calculation that is simply not possible. Remedy this by changing your inputs so that it is no longer numbered in this way.

Invalid values

When confronted with #VALUE! in an Excel cell, it may be that the software is seeing dates incorrectly, encountering text in a formula where numbers should be or dealing with a blank cell elsewhere.

Finding and replacing the erroneous value will sort this out, and if you are exporting a PDF to Excel, this could well occur. Proper PDF to Excel exporting procedures should be followed to minimise the likelihood of complications cropping up.

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Rogue references

If you are dabbling in an Excel spreadsheet and the #REF! error rears its head, you will probably find that this is due to some reference point being moved or deleted. Copying a formula to a new location can also influence this, so keep this in mind as you work.

Issues like this can negatively impact productivity, but IT downtime is a far bigger problem for businesses today.

Endless hashes

Seeing a series of hashes in a cell where numbers should be is a sign that the result is too large to be shown within the width available to it. Fixing this is as simple as expanding the column in question.

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