*By David H. Ringstrom, CPA*

**Figure 1:**Excel returns a #DIV/0! error when you attempt to divide by zero.

**Figure 2:**A combination of IF and ISERROR can display alternative results when a calculation results in an error.

- logical_test – In this case, the ISERROR function carries out the test and either returns TRUE or FALSE.
- value_if_true – If ISERROR returns TRUE, we want Excel to return a dash, which we must enclose in double quotes. The quotes are only required when we want the IF statement to return text, so there's no need to enclose numeric values, such as zero, in quotes.
- value_if_false – If ISERROR returns FALSE, we want Excel to perform our original calculation.

**Figure 3:**The IFERROR function streamlines complex error-trapping formulas.

- value – This is the calculation we wish to test for errors.
- value_if_error – This is the result we wish to display should our calculation return an error.

**Figure 4:**The IFERROR function is incompatible with Excel 2003 and earlier, but can be used in Excel 2007 and later.

**Figure 5:**ISNA tests specifically for #N/A errors but will allow other errors to be displayed.

- lookup_value – This represents the item that you're looking for within a list. For instance, in the formula above, A8 signifies that we want to look for the word “Apples.”
- table_array –This represents the cell coordinates for the list you wish to search. In the formula above, our list is comprised of cells A1 through D5. VLOOKUP searches for the lookup_value in the first column of the table_array.
- col_index_num – This argument tells VLOOKUP which column you want to return a value from when a match is found in the first column. In this case we want to return the % change from the fourth column of our table_array.
- range_lookup – Use this cryptic setting to signify if you want an exact match or an approximate match. In this case, we want an exact match on the word “Apples,” so enter the word FALSE or a zero in this final argument. Omit this argument, or use the word TRUE or a one in that position to signify an approximate match, such as if you were looking up a tax bracket based on a gross income number.

*A previous version of this article first appeared on *www.accountingweb.com* .*

**About the author:**

*David H. Ringstrom, CPA heads up Accounting Advisors, Inc., an Atlanta-based software and database consulting firm providing training and consulting services nationwide. Contact David at* *david@nullacctadv.com* * or follow him on **Twitter**. David speaks at conferences about Microsoft Excel, and presents webcasts for several CPE providers, including AccountingWEB partner **CPE Link*