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excel iserrorErrors occur all the time in spread sheet documents. Some of the time, this is the user’s fault whilst other times it is because the program parsed the command wrong. The ISERROR command allows you to check for errors in a formula or in a macro and return a binary true or false value in any formula in Microsoft’s Excel.

This function is very important as when a macro fails in Excel, you often do not get a message telling you how or why the macro failed. ISERROR is the way to debug and make sure your functions work correctly.

This function is very important as when a macro fails in Excel, you often do not get a message telling you how or why the macro failed. ISERROR is the way to debug and make sure your functions work correctly.

Excel is a fantastic and powerful program which has a myriad of different functions and can be used for many different things. One of the things it is best used for is parsing statistics. If you are not sure on how to use Excel for your own needs, this course that is based on Excel Statistics will help you find out how to use Excel well, both in statistics and in basic data management. If you find you need to present your findings or data in a different way, this course in Microsoft Excel Charts will really get you off the ground in that department.


The syntax for the Microsoft Excel ISERROR function is:

=ISERROR( value )

Value, is a variable in this example, which you will change to suit your functions. If you are testing a single cell, put in the cell value in this part of the formula. If you are testing an array, put in the array address and if you are testing a bunch of cells simultaneously, you would put in the range of cells, separating the first and last cells with a colon. This tells Microsoft Excel what you want to test for errors. Remember, syntax is so very important to getting these kinds of things to work. If you mess up the syntax of a command, it will not work and will throw up one of the mysterious error codes that ISERROR is very good at decoding. Making sure you get the right syntax is paramount to getting the best out of Excel as with incorrect syntax you will often find that the functions will not work. If you are having trouble or struggling with the syntax, it’s often a good idea to take a look at basic programming languages. Syntax is very important and writing out real code can help you get to grips with the syntax in Excel. This Set of Excel Tutorials is a great way to figure out syntax and will help you a lot.

Once you have put a value inside this function, you will be able to see the result of the formula. If this value is an invalid value, which can be anything from an error message or one of these error codes that show you what type of error is happening in that cell:








If you do happen to have an error, you will see TRUE in the box with the function in. If you see false, it means that the value in the formula is correct.

It looks a little like this:


In this screenshot, the ISERROR function is querying whether or not the values in the cells adjacent to the functions are correct and returns the correct value for you to see.

ISERROR is very useful when you have lots of formulas in a table or other array of data and you need to figure out where exactly the error is. ISERROR can also be used across worksheets, meaning you can have a secret, hidden debug worksheet in the Excel file where it checks all of your formulas. These sheets can be hidden by right clicking their tab and selecting the hide button, which then hides them from view unless you know how to access them.

Something to note when you are dealing with formulas is that the formula bar is often hidden from view when you open up Excel. This can easily be remedied by selecting the view tab at the top of the page and making sure that the formula bar is ticked. When you are trying to add formulas in to the cells, make sure you use the formula bar at the top of Excel. This is a common mistake that is seen time and time again when people are entering formulas. If you enter the formula in to a cell, your formula will not work as Excel will not be able to parse the command correctly. If you are having trouble with using Excel and figuring out how to use the functions best, you could always try and learn how to use Excel through a series of video courses such as these Excel Tutorials. They are quick and easy to complete and will educate you in the best way possible, saving you time and money in the long run.

ISERROR can also be used in conjunction with macros, which are like little scripts that you can run to make things happen in Excel. They are very handy, but can be quite difficult to write yourself.

In conclusion, you will find that ISERROR is a very helpful function that can be used in a great many scenarios. It’s  helpful for finding errors in your documents that you’d be mad if you didn’t try to learn when and how to use it and make it part of your Excel repertoire. Whilst tricks like these only take a few minutes to learn, they are invaluable in making it so you know when to use the right tool for the job and get the work done. ISERROR can be used in conjunction with macros and other types of function and is a great debug tool for any type of Excel project.

Page Last Updated: February 2014

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