Common spreadsheet errors

Overview

Right, so you’ve got the basics down, know the lingo, how to enter parameters into functions, and maybe you’ve even started creating your own formulas! But, more it’s more than likely that you’ve come across a few errors and just can’t figure out what’s going on. Well, that’s what this article is all about: going over some of the most common errors, and how to solve them :muscle: . These include:

  • syntax errors
  • incorrect number of arguments
  • circular reference
  • dividing by zero
  • invalid reference

Invalid Syntax

Probably the most common error you’re going to get is Invalid Syntax, so it’s best to know why you get them, and how to fix them quickly and painlessly.

Whenever you get one of these errors, it could mean one or more of the following:

  • One of the parameters you’ve entered is incorrect.
    – Check if your strings are in quotation marks
    – Make sure that you format your numbers and booleans correctly (they shouldn’t have quotation marks)
    – If you mathematical operators with your numbers (for example: > or <), make sure that those are in quotation marks (for example, ">50").

  • You’re missing some brackets (or maybe you have too many of them)
    – Make sure that each of your functions has an opening and closing bracket. Delete any extra brackets you might have.

Fail - Wrong number of arguments

The wrong number of arguments error occurs when you’ve either added too few or too many parameters. Thankfully, the error message will tell you which one it is: Why does it happen? Well, you’ve probably added too many parameters or too many commas.

When you get one of these errors, try checking that you:

  • Have met the number of mandatory parameters
  • Don’t have too many parameters (even optional ones)
  • Haven’t accidentally entered in too many commas that separate the parameters (and also that they come after the quotation marks). Commas within quotation marks aren’t counted.

Circular reference

A circular reference is when in the function you reference the cell where the action is - and yeah, you can’t really do that :wink: .

So if you get this error, make sure that in your function or formula you haven’t reference the cell where the formula is.

DIV/0

Another really common error - when you try to divide by zero, which we probably remember from high school math class that we’re not allowed to do.

In this case, you just need to make sure that you’re not dividing by zero anywhere, and everything will be fine.

Invalid reference

Invalid reference errors pop up whenever you try to refer to a cell or range that doesn’t exist. This happens when you try to refer to a cell or range in a table that doesn’t exist. This could be because you haven’t created that table yet or you have a typo in your table name.

To solve this error, just:

  • check that the table exists
  • check that you haven’t mistyped the table name

Summary

And that’s it really! Of course, there’s plenty of other errors that you might come across when you work with integrations or published spreadsheets, but we’ll cover those errors (as well as some error handling) when we get to those topics. If you have any questions or are coming across some other errors frequently and you don’t know why - just leave us a comment and we’ll see what we can do :slightly_smiling_face: .

Until next time - get to some error-less building :rocket:!

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