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When using Excel, it’s almost inevitable to experience a few errors from time to time.


Excel’s IFError function offers a useful way to contain and manage errors within any spreadsheet. It affords users greater control over functionality and appearance, particularly when working with datasets that are challenging in terms of scale and complexity.

IFError works by returning a predetermined outcome whenever a formula results in an error. When no error has been detected, the field still displays a standard result as normal. It is effectively a method used to determine further action based on a specific set of outcomes.

Using the IFError syntax

IFERROR uses logical values (TRUE or FALSE) as input or output, much in the same way as the IF function. It tests a condition and returns a certain outcome if the condition is deemed TRUE or FALSE; the main difference from the IF function is that IFERROR also tests to see if a formula returns an error and returns an outcome set by the user.

The standard syntax for IFError is written as follows:

=IFERROR(value, value_if_error)

As you can see, the formula is relatively straightforward and comprised of two main elements: the ‘value’ and the ‘value_if_error’. If the ‘value’ is an error, then give the outcome ‘value_if_error’.


Common error types in Excel

The IFERROR function provides a handy solution to manage all of the errors that we’ve listed below listed above:

Incorrect formula – #VALUE!

This is a very common error that indicates a problem with the way a formula is typed, which could be due to any number of issues.

Invalid cell reference – #REF!

This error happens when the user deletes a cell containing a formula, or pastes another cell on top of a formula.

Division by zero – #DIV/0!

This error refers to a cell that has a value of 0, or that is blank.

Name not recognised – #NAME?

This error occurs when the user types a range name incorrectly, or they forget to place quotation marks at a specific point within a formula.

If you’re struggling to get to grips with Excel’s IFError function or looking to gain more knowledge about a specific spreadsheet error, get in touch with our team of expert Excel consultants today on 0161 883 2655.


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