What does IF Error Mean in Excel – How to Use the IFERROR Function?

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When there is a formula, there is an error. Although Excel is an outstanding tool used for analytical functions, however, when formulas are used, chances are that you will encounter errors. Whenever you face an error while working on Excel, you can handle it easily by using some built-in functions in Excel. IFERROR function is one of those built-in functions.

What does IF Error Mean in Excel?

Excel IFERROR function is used for Excel formulas. Mainly, this function was designed to handle errors of all kinds. Moreover, this function is capable enough to deal with formulas to find if there is an issue before returning the formula.



Arguments Used in IFERROR Function

Value: This Compulsory argument is an expression that needs to be tested. Usually, it is used as a cell address.

Value_if_error: This Compulsory argument is a value that returns when the formula analyzes an error.

Further Useful Notes:

When there is an error, using “” as the value_if_error argument, the cell shows nothing.

When the value_if_error argument refers to a blank cell, it is considered a blank string value that appears with the Excel IFERROR function.

IFERROR returns an array for all items given in the specific range when the value argument is an array formula.

Things to Consider About Excel IFERROR Function:

IFERROR is able to replace errors with custom-made text, number, date, or logical value, depending on the contents of the value_if_error argument.

When you find a value argument as a blank cell, it is considered as a blank string instead of (“”) an error.

With an IFERROR function, you can deal with all errors such as #N/A, #VALUE!, #NAME?, #NULL!, #NUM!, #DIV/0!, and #REF!.


The most common use of the IFERROR function is to let users know the value is not available in the dataset that is being searched. For this, the VLOOKUP formula in the IFERROR function is used:

IFERROR(VLOOKUP (…), “Not found”)

With a VLOOKUP formula, you will return the #N/A error when the value is not in the table.

iferror vlookup

You may need to wrap VLOOKUP in IFERROR to display an informative notification:

=IFERROR(VLOOKUP(A2, ‘lookup table’!$A$2:$B$4, 2, FALSE), “Not found”)

Below you can find the IFERROR formula in Excel:

iferror vlookup2

How to Use Nested IFERROR with VLOOKUP

VLOOKUP in Excel lets you use parts of the table of arrays. Suppose, there are 2 separate sheets containing the sales transaction records and you need to find an item number.

You need to use nested IFERROR with VLOOKUP.

Below is the dataset:

nested iferror

Following is the nested IFERROR formula:

=IFERROR(VLOOKUP(G3,$A$2:$B$5,2,0), IFERROR(VLOOKUP(G3,$D$2:$E$5,2,0),”Not Found”))

When you used this nested formula, it lets you find the value from a table, or any error returned is done.

To Wrap Up:

In this post, you have learned what does IFERROR mean in Excel, and how the VLOOKUP formula can be used with IFERROR. You need to consider some important points mentioned above while using the IFERROR function for any dataset. As Excel allows you to use all types of data for any function you need to execute, that’s why Excel provides solutions to all errors.

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