Published On: September 29th, 2023|8.6 min read|

How to use ISERROR in Excel | with Formula Examples

iserror function in excel

What is the IsError Excel function?

The ISERROR function in Excel checks if a formula has resulted in an error and returns either true or false. This helps users quickly identify and locate errors in their spreadsheets and ensure that their data is accurate and reliable, lending credibility to your business decisions, which is especially important in professional settings.

Benefits of using the IsError function 

Harnessing the power of the ISERROR function doesn’t just prevent unexpected results; it ensures your data analysis is accurate and efficient, transforming your spreadsheet into a reliable foundation for strategic decisions.

Here are some benefits of using the ISERROR function:

1. It can help to avoid unexpected and incorrect results caused by errors in the data or formulas used in the spreadsheet.

2. It can improve data analysis and reporting accuracy and efficiency by quickly identifying errors in a large dataset.

3. It can be used with other functions, such as the IF function, to return specific results based on whether an error value exists in a cell or not.

4. It can provide a logical value (TRUE or FALSE) for other formulas or calculations.

5. It helps to identify errors in the formulas that return error values such as:

Excel #N/A Error: 

This error appears when the value being looked for is not found in the formula or in the entire worksheet.

Excel  #DIV/0! Error: 

This error appears when a formula attempts to divide a number by zero

Excel #VALUE! Error: 

This error appears when a formula has an incorrect argument or refers to a cell that has text instead of a number.

Excel  #REF! Error : 

This error appears when a formula refers to a cell that has been deleted or moved.

Excel #NUM! Error: 

This error appears when a formula contains an invalid numerical value. 

Excel #NAME? Error: 

This error appears when a formula contains an unrecognized text string or refers to a nonexistent range name.

Excel #NULL! Error: 

This error appears when a formula contains a blank space between two ranges that should instead be separated by an operator.

Check the What Are Excel Formula Errors blog to learn more about each of these errors.

How does the IsError function work?

The ISERROR function is more than just a formula – it’s your quality control mechanism, helping ensure your calculations are precise and reliable by systematically checking for errors. The syntax for the ISERROR function is as follows: =ISERROR(value)

The ‘value’ parameter can be the cell reference or formula you want to check for an error. 

In Excel, the ISERROR function is often combined with other parts, such as IF, SUM, AVERAGE, etc., to check if a cell or formula contains an error. Based on this check, appropriate actions are then taken.

For example, if you have a formula to calculate the average of some values, you can use the ISERROR function to check if any of the values in the range are causing an error. If the formula returns an error value, you can use the IF function to display a user-friendly message like “Please enter valid numbers” instead of the error message. 

Importance of ensuring data accuracy and reliability with the IsError function

Relying on the ISERROR function is not just about error detection – it’s about instilling trust in your data, enhancing your decision-making processes, and safeguarding the integrity of your data analysis.

Data accuracy and reliability are crucial in any data-driven analysis or decision-making process. The ISERROR function is a valuable tool in Excel and other spreadsheet applications that helps identify and handle errors in data.

Here are a few reasons why ensuring data accuracy and reliability with the ISERROR function is essential:

  1. Error detection: The ISERROR function not only detects errors but also enhances the credibility of your large data sets, allowing you to conduct efficient, trustworthy analyses.
  2. Decision-making: Utilizing the ISERROR function fortifies your data’s reliability, giving you the confidence to base your critical decisions on accurate data.
  3. Data integrity: The ISERROR function is not just a tool; it’s your ally in maintaining data integrity, swiftly resolving inconsistencies, and ensuring precise data for your strategic insights.
  4. Efficiency and productivity: With the ISERROR function, it’s not just about saving time – it’s about optimizing productivity shifting your focus from error-fixing to gaining valuable insights.

What is IFERROR, and how is it different from ISERROR

In spreadsheet programs like Microsoft Excel, both IFERROR and ISERROR handle errors within formulas.

IFERROR is a function that allows you to specify a value or action to be taken if a formula generates an error. It checks if an error occurs and returns a user-defined value or expression when there is an error. For example, the formula `=IFERROR(A1/B1, “Error”)` will return “Error” if there is an error, such as dividing by zero; otherwise, it will perform the division as intended.

On the other hand, ISERROR is a function that checks whether a formula generates any error and returns `TRUE` or `FALSE.` It helps identify whether a formula contains an error. For instance, the formula `=ISERROR(A1/B1)` will return `TRUE` if there is an error (e.g., dividing by zero) or `FALSE` if no error occurs.

How to use the ISERROR Excel function?

Using the ISERROR function is more than just a step-by-step process – it’s a method of error-proofing your formulas, ensuring you get accurate results every time. Let’s learn from scratch: 

  1. Begin by selecting the cell where you want the result of the ISERROR function to appear.  
  2. Type “=ISERROR(” to start the function in the selected cell.
  3. Enter the expression or reference to the cell you want to evaluate for an error. For example, if you want to check if cell A1 contains an error, you would type “=ISERROR(A1)”.
  4. Close the parentheses by typing “)” and press Enter.
  5. The result in the cell will be either TRUE or FALSE, indicating if the evaluated cell contains an error. If the cell does contain an error, ISERROR will return TRUE. On the other hand, if the cell does not contain an error, ISERROR will return FALSE.

Here is an example: Suppose you have a formula in cell A1 that divides the value in cell B1 by the value in cell C1. If you want to check if an error exists in the result of this calculation, you can use the ISERROR function in another cell. In cell D1, you would enter the formula “=ISERROR(A1)”. If cell A1 contains an error (such as division by zero or invalid data type), D1 will display TRUE. If there is no error in cell A1, D1 will show FALSE.  

For instance, if a formula attempts to divide a number by zero in Excel, it will show the #div/0! Error message.

 The ISERROR function is typically used with other formulas or functions like IF and VLOOKUP to handle errors more effectively.


To handle errors that may occur while using VLOOKUP, you can wrap it with the ISERROR function. Here’s an example of how it can be done in Excel:

=IF(ISERROR(VLOOKUP(search_value, range, column_index, exact_match)), “Not Found”, VLOOKUP(search_value, range, column_index, exact_match))

In this formula, 

“search_value” represents the value you are looking for, 

“range” is the range of cells you want to search in, 

“column_index” is the column number from which you want to retrieve a value, and “exact_match” is either TRUE or FALSE to specify whether you want an exact match or not.

The ISERROR function checks if the VLOOKUP returns an error; if it does, it displays “Not Found.” Otherwise, it performs the VLOOKUP as usual.

Using the vlookup and iserror functions together can be advantageous when working with extensive data sets or conducting lookups that might only sometimes find a match. This combination enables you to handle errors more seamlessly and tailor the output based on your requirements.


In conclusion, the ISERROR function in Excel is a valuable tool that allows users to identify and handle error values in their spreadsheets. Using this function, users can efficiently detect errors and implement appropriate actions by using this function, such as displaying alternative values or triggering specific formulas. The ISERROR function ensures data accuracy and reliability in Excel, ultimately enhancing productivity and decision-making processes.

What is the opposite of ISERROR in Excel?

The opposite of the ISERROR function in Excel is the ISNUMBER function. While ISERROR checks whether a value is an error, ISNUMBER checks whether a value is a number. Harness the power of ISNUMBER for cleaner data and smoother calculations.

What does ISERROR in Excel do? 

The ISERROR function in Excel is a logical function that checks whether a given value is an error. It returns TRUE if the value is an error and FALSE if not. Using our ISERROR function, you can ensure your data is always accurate and reliable, leading to more precise results and more informed decisions.

What is the difference between ISERROR and ISERR in Excel?

In Excel, the functions ISERROR  and ISERR  are utilized to examine formula results for errors. The key distinction between them is the specific types of errors they detect. Whether you use ISERROR or ISERR, both functions will enhance your ability to detect errors and maintain the accuracy of your data.
The ISERROR function checks whether a value or expression is an error, including #N/A (value not available) and #VALUE! (wrong type of operand or function), #REF!    (invalid cell reference), #DIV/0! (division by zero), #NUM! (invalid numeric value), #NAME?(invalid formula name), or #NULL! (intersection of two ranges is empty).

On the other hand, the ISERR function only checks for all types of errors except for #N/A. This means ISERR will return TRUE if the error type is any of those mentioned earlier, excluding #N/A.

How do you check for error functions in Excel?

You can use Excel’s robust suite of functions, ISERROR, IFERROR, ISERR, ISNA, and IFNA, to diagnose and rectify errors, ensuring the highest data accuracy. These tools empower you to make confident, data-driven decisions, maximizing productivity and success.


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