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Advanced Excel: eliminating errors in functions

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One of the most efficient features available in Microsoft Excel is the ability to create a formula and then copy it into a large number of subsequent cells. When you perform a dbroad copy and paste like this, Depending on the type of data, you’ll get either a #DIV/0 or a #VALUE error if the source cells don’t contain the correct data. You could scan the spreadsheet manually and modify each cell that contains such an error or use the IFERROR function when creating your original formula.

The IFERROR function is composed of two parts – the original function that you wanted to create (such as dividing two numbers) and a value to use when this function doesn’t make sense (like trying to divide by 0 or a word).

Let’s take a basic table of data that contains three columns. The total amount of a restaurant bill is in the first column, and the second column is comprised of the number of people in the party that received the bill. In the third column, we want to calculate the price per person.

Advanced Excel Functions - IFERROR - online Excel course

Task: Use the IFERROR function

(1)     Create the spreadsheet above using the data in columns A & B.

(2)     Perform a simple calculation to divide the Total Price by the number of people to get the answer in Colum C

(3)     Notice the error messages

(4)     Click on cell C2 and type the following function =IFERROR(A2/B2,”Unknown”)

(5)     Use the fill handle to copy it down the column. Notice that where-ever the error normally occurred; it has been replaced by the word Unknown.

(6)     This time try =IFERROR(A2/B2,””) and notice that the cells where an error occurred are now showing no value.

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