Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Managing Excel formula error indicators

From: Excel for Mac 2011 Essential Training

Video: Managing Excel formula error indicators

The Excel program is able to determine when a cell contains an error, and in some cases identify what type of error has occurred. In addition to displaying error messages instead of formula results, Excel will also display indicators in the cell where it thinks the formula could be incorrect, inconsistent, or contain some other mistake. In this movie, I'll show you how to manage those indicators and turn off the ones you don't want to appear. So in this worksheet I have a couple of potential errors - well, one definite error and one possible error. I'll start with the definite error, and that's here in cell B7, where I have Average per Sale, and the cell displays the divide by zero error.

Managing Excel formula error indicators

The Excel program is able to determine when a cell contains an error, and in some cases identify what type of error has occurred. In addition to displaying error messages instead of formula results, Excel will also display indicators in the cell where it thinks the formula could be incorrect, inconsistent, or contain some other mistake. In this movie, I'll show you how to manage those indicators and turn off the ones you don't want to appear. So in this worksheet I have a couple of potential errors - well, one definite error and one possible error. I'll start with the definite error, and that's here in cell B7, where I have Average per Sale, and the cell displays the divide by zero error.

So let's see what's happening. I'll take a look at the formula. So it's dividing the value in B3, the sales revenue by the value in B4. So there is the problem. There is no value in B4, so that means that it's trying to divide by zero, which is not allowed in mathematics. So we need to put a value in B4. So I'll just type in, let's say we had 50 sales, and I'll press Return, and now we get our average value per sale, and the error message goes away.

I'm going to go back and change this value to 0, so we get our error once again, and I want to show you something that you can use to get more information on any errors that appear, and that is by clicking this error options button. When you hover over that error options button, Excel displays a tooltip that gives you more information about the error. In this case, the formula or function used is dividing by zero or by empty cells. If you click the button, you see it has a down arrow here, indicating it's clickable, then you get a menu of options.

First, it tells you what the error is, and then it gives you a list of options that you can use to get more information about the error. For example, you can trace it, you can ignore it, you can edit it in the formula bar, and so on. I'll just press the Escape key and turn my attention to this other error here. Now this cell, as you'll notice, has a green triangle at the top left-hand corner of the cell. That is what Excel uses to indicate an error by default. You'll also see the same indicator here in cell B7. So let's take a look at the error in cell G3.

If I click the cell and hover over the error options button, it says that "The formula in this cell refers to a range that has additional numbers adjacent to it," and when I look at the formula on the formula bar, I see that's true. I'm drawing the value for this formula, which finds the sum of sales from January through March. So I'm drawing the values from cells E3 through E5, these three cells. What Excel sees is an entire range of cells here that are part of the same group that are not included in the formula, and it just flags it and says, are you certain that this formula is correct.

There are other cells that you could be including. In this case, it is correct, so it's really not an error. If you want, you can control which error indicators Excel displays when it examines your formulas. To do that, you open the Preferences dialog, and for that you can click Excel > Preferences. I'll click Preferences, and then in the Preferences dialog, under Formulas and Lists, you can click Error Checking. So there's an entire set of rules that Excel follows, and by default all of them are turned on.

There are only two that I will usually turn off, and those two are here in the middle. "Flag formulas that are inconsistent with the formulas in adjoining cells," in other words, if you have a sum formula in one cell and an average formula in another, that might be considered inconsistent and Excel will flag it. Well, normally that type of worksheet construction is intentional, so I don't check for it. So I'll clear that check box, and then you have "Flag formulas which omit other cells in the region." That was the one I just showed you in the worksheet where I was just finding the total for sales from January through March and didn't worry about April through December.

When I created my worksheets, that particular construction is intentional, so I will clear this error. Everything else I usually leave turned on. If as you use Excel you decide you want to turn them off, just remember to come back here, and you can do so by clearing their check box. When you're done, click OK, and Excel will no longer indicate cells that contain those errors, and as you'll see, cell G3 no longer has an error indicator in the top left-hand corner. Excel tries to be helpful by indicating errors, and indicating divide by zero or whether a formula name is incorrect is extremely helpful.

If you think Excel goes too far, you can turn off error indicators for specific error types that you don't want it to detect.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Excel for Mac 2011 Essential Training
Excel for Mac 2011 Essential Training

100 video lessons · 33800 viewers

Curt Frye
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 58s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
    2. Using the exercise files
      42s
  2. 20m 56s
    1. Exploring the Excel 2011 window
      4m 16s
    2. Introducing the Ribbon for Mac
      4m 44s
    3. Customizing the Ribbon
      4m 20s
    4. Setting program preferences
      3m 20s
    5. Getting help in Excel
      4m 16s
  3. 20m 4s
    1. Opening, creating, and saving workbooks
      5m 23s
    2. Setting workbook properties
      4m 14s
    3. Creating and modifying workbook templates
      4m 18s
    4. Managing workbooks across multiple versions of Excel
      6m 9s
  4. 1h 2m
    1. Selecting cells and groups of cells
      4m 58s
    2. Copying and pasting cell data
      2m 39s
    3. Entering data using AutoFill and other techniques
      4m 32s
    4. Inserting symbols and special characters
      5m 3s
    5. Creating an Excel table
      4m 43s
    6. Locating and changing data using Find and Replace
      4m 57s
    7. Restricting input using validation rules
      4m 42s
    8. Using lists to limit data entered into a cell
      2m 32s
    9. Sorting worksheet data
      3m 2s
    10. Creating a custom sort order
      3m 54s
    11. Filtering worksheet data
      4m 6s
    12. Inserting, moving, and deleting cells and cell ranges
      3m 50s
    13. Splitting and freezing rows and columns
      3m 51s
    14. Managing worksheets
      5m 28s
    15. Creating, editing, and deleting headers and footers
      4m 41s
  5. 1h 17m
    1. Introducing Excel formulas and functions
      3m 17s
    2. Adding a formula to a cell
      4m 0s
    3. Introducing arithmetic operators
      4m 13s
    4. Using absolute and relative cell references
      6m 29s
    5. Controlling how Excel copies and pastes formulas
      6m 5s
    6. Referring to Excel table data in formulas
      2m 3s
    7. Creating an AutoSum formula
      3m 22s
    8. Summarizing data on the status bar
      2m 22s
    9. Joining text in cells with concatenation
      3m 59s
    10. Summarizing data using an IF function
      6m 21s
    11. Summarizing data using SUMIF and other conditional functions
      5m 41s
    12. Creating formulas to count cells
      2m 37s
    13. Rounding cell values up and down
      4m 55s
    14. Finding data using VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP
      6m 33s
    15. Auditing formulas by identifying precedents and dependents
      3m 25s
    16. Managing Excel formula error indicators
      4m 42s
    17. Managing scenarios
      4m 59s
    18. Performing Goal Seek analysis
      2m 31s
  6. 45m 48s
    1. Applying fonts, background colors, and borders
      6m 7s
    2. Applying number and date formats to cells
      7m 1s
    3. Managing text alignment
      3m 56s
    4. Copying cell formats
      4m 2s
    5. Managing cell styles
      3m 16s
    6. Managing Office themes
      3m 31s
    7. Creating rule-based conditional formats
      3m 54s
    8. Defining Top 10 conditional formats
      4m 19s
    9. Defining data bar, color scale, and icon set conditional formats
      6m 6s
    10. Editing, ordering, and deleting conditional formats
      3m 36s
  7. 36m 55s
    1. Creating bar and column charts
      5m 26s
    2. Creating pie charts
      2m 32s
    3. Creating line charts
      4m 34s
    4. Creating XY (scatter) charts
      1m 49s
    5. Creating stock charts
      4m 11s
    6. Changing chart types and layouts
      2m 22s
    7. Changing the appearance of a chart
      4m 25s
    8. Managing chart axes and numbering
      2m 51s
    9. Adding trendlines to charts
      4m 14s
    10. Creating sparkline charts
      4m 31s
  8. 18m 39s
    1. Importing data from comma separated value (CSV) or text files
      4m 20s
    2. Connecting to an external data source
      2m 22s
    3. Using hyperlinks
      6m 1s
    4. Including an Excel workbook in another Office document
      3m 5s
    5. Linking to an Excel chart from another Office program
      2m 51s
  9. 26m 21s
    1. Creating and formatting shapes
      3m 10s
    2. Adding and adjusting images
      5m 38s
    3. Cropping, compressing, and removing image backgrounds
      4m 46s
    4. Creating SmartArt graphics
      5m 7s
    5. Creating WordArt
      2m 34s
    6. Aligning and layering objects
      5m 6s
  10. 29m 51s
    1. Introducing PivotTable reports
      3m 47s
    2. Creating a PivotTable report
      4m 37s
    3. Pivoting a PivotTable report
      3m 18s
    4. Managing subtotals and grand totals
      3m 23s
    5. Summarizing more than one data field
      1m 34s
    6. Changing the data field summary operation
      2m 40s
    7. Changing the data field number format
      2m 27s
    8. Filtering a PivotTable report
      2m 46s
    9. Applying a PivotTable style
      2m 20s
    10. Creating and editing styles
      2m 59s
  11. 26m 47s
    1. Checking spelling
      3m 32s
    2. Setting AutoCorrect and automatic Replace options
      3m 59s
    3. Managing workbook comments
      3m 40s
    4. Tracking and reviewing changes
      5m 12s
    5. Printing a worksheet or workbook
      3m 44s
    6. Setting and removing print areas
      2m 31s
    7. Exporting to other formats
      1m 33s
    8. Protecting a workbook
      2m 36s
  12. 23m 52s
    1. Running an existing macro
      4m 56s
    2. Recording a macro
      3m 56s
    3. Recording a macro using relative references
      6m 15s
    4. Renaming, viewing, and deleting macros
      2m 58s
    5. Adding comments to a macro
      2m 43s
    6. Turning off screen updating in a macro
      3m 4s
  13. 1m 1s
    1. Additional resources
      1m 1s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Excel for Mac 2011 Essential Training.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your lynda.com subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.