The ERROR.TYPE Excel formula is your buddy when dealing with errors in your spreadsheets. Acting as a detective, it identifies the type of error in a cell, a critical function for data analysis.


Why should you care about ERROR.TYPE? It’s simple. In advanced Excel functions for data analysis, you will inevitably encounter various error messages. Understanding their nature helps streamline troubleshooting, enhancing your Excel formula help arsenal.


To understand ERROR.TYPE, let’s delve into its syntax. The syntax is straight-forward, looking like this:


This syntax might seem simple, but it’s the key to unravelling errors.


The ERROR.TYPE formula uses one parameter: ‘error_val.’ This parameter refers to the error value you want to identify. It could be a direct reference to a cell with an error or an expression resulting in an error.


What does ERROR.TYPE spit out? It returns an integer between 1 and 8, corresponding to a specific Excel error. For instance, it returns 1 for a #NULL! error and 8 for a #N/A error.

error_value Returned
#NULL! 1
#DIV/0! 2
#REF! 4
#NAME? 5
#NUM! 6
#N/A 7
All other values #N/A

Usage notes

When utilizing the ERROR.TYPE formula, remember that it specifically handles Excel’s primary error types. For any other type of error or a cell without an error, it will return a #N/A error.


In Excel, the ERROR.TYPE formula is readily accessible. Whether you’re creating formulas in Excel 2019 or using an earlier version, you can rely on ERROR.TYPE to be available.

Example #1

Let’s get hands-on and explore some examples.

Suppose cell A1 displays #DIV/0!. To identify this error type, we apply:


Consequently, Excel returns 2, indicating a #DIV/0! error.

Example #2

Next, let’s consider cell B2, showing a #VALUE! error. Use the formula:


Excel returns 3, which corresponds to the #VALUE! error.

Example #3

As another example, consider a #REF! error in cell C3. Implement:


This time, Excel returns 4, mapping to the #REF! error.

Example #4

Imagine cell D4 displays a #NAME? error. To classify this error, use:


Excel then provides 5, signifying a #NAME? error.

Example #5

Finally, suppose cell E5 shows #N/A. We employ:


Now, Excel returns 8, denoting an #N/A error.

Tips and tricks

For your Excel calculations to be automatic, couple ERROR.TYPE with the IFERROR formula. This pair offers a neat way of handling errors, making your spreadsheet calculator more robust.


While ERROR.TYPE is incredibly useful, it has its limitations. It doesn’t detect every error – if it encounters an unlisted error or a cell without an error, it returns #N/A.

Common errors and solutions

A common mistake when using ERROR.TYPE is incorrectly referencing the cell containing the error. Ensure the cell reference in your formula is correct to avoid unnecessary headaches.

Best Practices

When applying the ERROR.TYPE formula, follow the best practice of using absolute cell references. This strategy ensures the accuracy of your formulas, especially when copying across your spreadsheet.

List of Related functions

There are many Excel functions you can pair with ERROR.TYPE for more effective error handling and data analysis. These include IFERROR, ISERROR, ISERR, ISNA, among others.

Frequently Used with the formulas

ERROR.TYPE frequently collaborates with IFERROR for customizing error messages. This Excel custom formula combo is particularly handy in managing large datasets.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can I use ERROR.TYPE for all Excel formulas?

No, ERROR.TYPE only identifies seven specific Excel errors. For other errors, it returns #N/A.

Q. What is the best way to deal with errors that ERROR.TYPE doesn’t recognize?

Couple ERROR.TYPE with IFERROR. If ERROR.TYPE fails to recognize the error, IFERROR will catch it and allow you to customize the error message.

Q. How do I remember what each ERROR.TYPE number means?

Create a reference table for the numbers 1 to 8, with each corresponding to a specific Excel error. Over time, as you become more familiar with the formula, you’ll remember these naturally.

Q. Can ERROR.TYPE help me find errors in my spreadsheet?

Not directly, but you can combine it with other formulas like IF to highlight cells with specific errors.

In conclusion, the ERROR.TYPE formula is an indispensable tool in your Excel toolkit. By mastering it, you’ll streamline your error handling and data analysis, elevating your Excel game.

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