Over the years, Excel has been a powerful tool used for data management, analysis, and reporting. When working with formulas and functions in Excel, one may encounter errors that prevent correct calculation of results.
The “#NUM” error is one of such errors; Excel shows this error when a formula or function contains invalid numeric values. This error can be frustrating and confusing for many users. In this article, “What does #num mean in excel?” will be discussed, and tips on how it can be fixed will also be discussed.
What does #NUM mean in Excel?
The “#NUM!” error in Excel occurs if a function or formula shows a value that is not a valid numeric value. This will happen if you have entered a numeric value using a data type or a number format that’s not supported in the argument section of the formula.
This error is usually caused by one of the following reasons:
- The formula or function in Excel contains an invalid argument.
- The formula or function in Excel is trying to perform an impossible calculation.
- The data used in the formula or function is not the correct format.
- The result of calculation in Excel exceeds the limit of the data type used in the formula or function.
- If a formula uses a function that iterates, such as IRR or RATE no result is found.
Take for example, one tries to calculate the square root of a negative number using the SQRT function, Excel will return a “#NUM!” error because the square root of negative numbers is an invalid numeric value.
How to fix #NUM error in Excel
To fix the “#NUM!” error in Excel, try the following solutions:
- Check the formula or function for any errors in the arguments or syntax. Use the correct format of data for this.
- Make sure the calculation being performed by the formula or function is a possible calculation. Don’t use zero to divide or calculate the square root of a negative number.
- Increase the data type used in the formula or function, so you can calculate larger values.
- Use an alternative formula or function that is better suited for the data being used.
Additionally to fix this error, one can change the number of times Excel iterates formulas:
- Select File > then click on Options.
- Check the Enable iterative calculation box located under Calculation option on the Formulas tab
- Type the number of times you want Excel to recalculate into the Maximum Iterations box. Note that the higher the number of iterations, the more time Excel uses to calculate a worksheet.
Tips: If you turned on error checking in Excel; you have to click the Button Image next to the cell that shows the error. Then click Show Calculation Steps if it’s available for you, then pick the resolution that works for your data.
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I am an experienced tech and innovation writer. It’s been 2 years+ I started writing at Terecle, covering mostly Consumer electronics and Productivity. In my spare time, I enjoy reading and learning the latest happenings around the tech ecosystem.