ISNA Formula


Diving straight in, the ISNA formula in Excel is a crucial component in data analysis. It checks whether a cell contains the #N/A (value not available) error.


The primary purpose of ISNA is to identify whether an operation or a function results in a #N/A error. Detecting this error can be essential in diagnosing problems or incorrect data within your spreadsheet.


The syntax for the ISNA function is very simple:



The ISNA formula has only one parameter: ‘value’. This parameter can be the result of other formulas, a cell reference, or an operation you wish to test.


ISNA will return TRUE if the ‘value’ results in a #N/A error; otherwise, it returns FALSE.

Usage notes

It’s important to remember that the ISNA function will only return TRUE for #N/A errors. Other error types like #DIV/0!, #VALUE!, #REF!, and so on will result in FALSE.


The ISNA formula is readily available in all versions of Excel, providing universal functionality for all users.

Example #1

For our first example, suppose cell A1 contains a VLOOKUP formula that returns a #N/A error. The ISNA function to check A1 would look like this:


This will return TRUE because the VLOOKUP function in cell A1 results in a #N/A error.

Example #2

In our second example, let’s say cell B2 contains a number, for instance, 10. If we use the ISNA function:


It will return FALSE because B2 does not contain a #N/A error.

Example #3

In our third example, suppose cell C3 contains a DIV/0 error. The ISNA function:


Would return FALSE, because ISNA only recognizes #N/A errors, not other types of errors.

Example #4

For the fourth example, let’s use the IF function in combination with ISNA to provide custom messages. If D4 contains a #N/A error, we want Excel to display “Error detected,” and if not, “No error.” The formula would look like:

=IF(ISNA(D4), "Error detected", "No error")

Example #5

Lastly, if we want to count the number of cells with #N/A errors in a range (E1:E10), we can use the following formula:


Tips and tricks

Maximize the use of ISNA by combining it with other functions like IF, VLOOKUP, and SUMPRODUCT to create more sophisticated formulas.


Remember that ISNA only returns TRUE for #N/A errors. For other types of errors, consider using the ISERROR function.

Common errors and solutions

One common mistake with the ISNA function is misunderstanding the types of errors it considers. It only considers #N/A as errors, not others.

Best Practices

Combine the ISNA function with other Excel functions like IF, VLOOKUP, and SUMPRODUCT to create more advanced formulas. Also, remember to handle errors appropriately for cleaner data analysis.

List of Related functions


Frequently Used with the formulas

ISNA is frequently used in combination with functions like IF, VLOOKUP, and SUMPRODUCT to create more advanced formulas.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How to ignore #N/A errors with the ISNA function in Excel?

Use the IF and ISNA functions together to ignore #N/A errors and return a different result or message.

Q. What is the difference between ISNA and ISERROR?

ISNA only identifies #N/A errors, whereas ISERROR identifies all types of errors in Excel.

Q. Can the ISNA function be used on an array?

Yes, you can use the ISNA function on an array.

By understanding and implementing the ISNA function, you can create more robust and error-free data analysis in Excel.

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