Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Empty Cells Triggers Error.

Empty Cells Triggers Error

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 9, 2015)

Wayne uses an Excel workbook to track his bank balance and bill due dates and amounts due by month. In one of the columns he is suddenly getting an error flagged: "The formula in this cell refers to cells that are currently empty." This occurs through the entire worksheet and every other worksheet he opens. Wayne has been using this workbook for over seven years and this is the first time he has encountered this.

Excel automatically checks for several different types of potential errors in your worksheets; this is one of them. There are two ways you can handle this situation.

First, if you only want to turn off the flagging in the cells that note the error, select all the cells that have the error. Then click the small "error icon" that appears in the upper-right of the cells. Excel displays a drop-down list from which you should select Ignore Error. The error should go away.

If you want a more global solution, follow these steps instead:

  1. Select Options from the Tools menu. Excel displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Error Checking tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Error Checking tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Clear the Formulas Referring to Empty Cells check box.
  5. Click on OK.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9573) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Empty Cells Triggers Error.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Finding Formatted Bulleted Paragraphs

Want to find the bulleted paragraphs within a large document? Word doesn't have a built-in way to search for this formatting. ...

Discover More

Removing Line Numbering

If you've added line numbers to your document, at some point you may want them turned off. Here's how to disable line ...

Discover More

Printing to a PDF File in Windows 10

Want to easily create a PDF file from your favorite program? Windows 10 makes it easy with a built-in PDF printer driver. ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

MORE EXCELTIPS (MENU)

Tracing Errors

Sometimes it can be confusing to figure out the source of an error that is displayed in your worksheet. Excel provides a ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments for this tip:

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.

Links and Sharing
Share