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MS Excel: Customizing Error Checking

I’m sure you’ve noticed by now the Error button that pops up whenever Excel’s Error Checking feature thinks that there may be something wrong with a cell’s contents.

When I say “wrong” I mean lots of different types of “wrong” – not just a formula issue.

For certain users it’s possible that the way they use Excel tends to trigger the Error button to present itself (not to mention all those cells with the little colored triangle in the upper left corner).

If that’s you… way too many “errors” are marked that are not really errors… and you’d like to put an end to as much of it as possible, then it’s good to know that you can tailor some of the setting the Error Checker uses or even turn it off completely.

The first way to control the behavior of the Error Checker is to utilize the Ignore Error choice in the Error button list.

This option only removes the error marking for the selected cell(s). If the same error is made elsewhere it will be marked as a problem.

To investigate longer lasting changes you’ll need to navigate to the Excel Options dialog box. (Office Button / File tab, Options choice)

In the Options dialog box you’ll need to choose the Formulas category on the left.

On the right you’ll find two sections of interest – Error Checking and Error Checking Rules.

In the Error Checking section you can choose to turn the feature on or off, change the color of the triangular marker put into the cell and reset previously ignored errors so that the Error Checker will catch them again.

Below that section is a list in the Error Checking Rules section.

Here you’ll find what Excel is looking for when marking errors and you can select and deselect specific error types to be included in the Error Checker.

Make any changes you find useful then click OK.

That’s it.

Excel will stop marking things as errors that don’t apply as such for your use of the worksheet.

~ April