Highlight Excel errors in the worksheet using Conditional Formatting [Quick Tip]

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In my last Excel article I discussed different types of errors we can run into while working in Excel with reasons and solutions to correct them. I strongly recommend reading Understanding, Detecting and Correcting Excel errors – #DIV/0!, #N/A, #NAME?, #NULL!, #NUM!, #REF!, #VALUE!

In real world situations where we have thousands of records to handle at a time, it is almost impossible to manually locate each and every error in the worksheet or workbook. In this tutorial we will learn a way to easily detect errors by highlighting them so that we can easily find them in thousands of rows.

Though for some errors Excel does notify by highlight top left corner but it is usually not enough for error to stand out.

Highlight errors using conditional formatting

This method will change the color of the cell that contains error and thus making easier for the user to find them.

Step 1: Select the data you expect contains errors. Either use mouse of simply use Ctrl+A shortcut to select a range.

Step 2: Go to Home tab > Styles group > Conditional formatting > New rules. This will open up conditional formatting dialogue box.

Step 3: In the dialogue box select the last option that says “Use a formula to determine which cells to format”.

Step 4: In the range input bar put the following formula:

=ISERROR(A1)

It is advised that you use a cell address that is the first cell in your range. In our case it is A1.

Step 5: Click format button to choose the color you want to highlight cells containing error. Click OK

Excel will highlight all such cells in the selected range containing errors. The following animation illustrates the above steps:

highlight error

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