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In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the ISNA formula in Excel, which is used to determine if a cell contains the #N/A error. This error typically occurs when a value is not available or cannot be found. By using the ISNA formula, you can identify these errors and handle them appropriately in your spreadsheet. We will cover the syntax, examples, tips and tricks, common mistakes, troubleshooting, and related formulae for the ISNA function.

ISNA Syntax

The syntax for the ISNA formula in Excel is quite simple:


Where value is the cell or expression you want to test for the #N/A error. The function will return TRUE if the value is #N/A, and FALSE if it is not.

ISNA Examples

Let’s look at some examples of how to use the ISNA formula in Excel:

Example 1: Basic usage

Suppose you have a VLOOKUP formula in cell A1 that returns #N/A when a value is not found. You can use the ISNA formula to check if the VLOOKUP result is an error:


This formula will return TRUE if cell A1 contains #N/A, and FALSE otherwise.

Example 2: Combining with IF

You can combine the ISNA formula with an IF statement to display a custom message when a value is not found. For example, if you have a VLOOKUP formula in cell A1, you can use the following formula to display “Not Found” when the VLOOKUP result is #N/A:

=IF(ISNA(A1), “Not Found”, A1)

Example 3: Using with other functions

The ISNA formula can also be used with other functions that may return #N/A, such as MATCH or INDEX. For example, if you have a MATCH formula in cell A1, you can use the following formula to check if the result is an error:


ISNA Tips & Tricks

Here are some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of the ISNA formula:

Tip 1: Use with conditional formatting

You can use the ISNA formula with conditional formatting to highlight cells that contain #N/A errors. To do this, select the range of cells you want to format, and then create a new conditional formatting rule using the “Use a formula to determine which cells to format” option. Enter the ISNA formula for the first cell in the range, and apply the desired formatting.

Tip 2: Combine with other error-checking functions

In some cases, you may want to check for multiple types of errors, not just #N/A. You can combine the ISNA formula with other error-checking functions like ISERR or ISERROR to create more comprehensive error checks. For example, to check if a cell contains any error, you can use the following formula:


Common Mistakes When Using ISNA

Here are some common mistakes to avoid when using the ISNA formula:

Mistake 1: Using the wrong cell reference

Make sure you are using the correct cell reference when using the ISNA formula. If you accidentally reference the wrong cell, the formula may not return the expected result.

Mistake 2: Not using parentheses

Don’t forget to use parentheses when entering the ISNA formula. If you omit the parentheses, Excel may not recognize the formula and will return an error.

Why Isn’t My ISNA Working?

If your ISNA formula isn’t working as expected, here are some possible reasons and solutions:

Reason 1: Incorrect formula syntax

Make sure you have entered the ISNA formula correctly, with the correct syntax and parentheses. Double-check your formula and correct any errors.

Reason 2: Other errors in the formula

If your ISNA formula is part of a larger formula, there may be other errors in the formula that are causing the ISNA function to return an incorrect result. Check the other parts of your formula for errors and correct them as needed.

ISNA: Related Formulae

Here are some related formulae that you may find useful when working with the ISNA function:


The IFNA function is similar to the ISNA function, but it allows you to specify a value to return if the tested value is #N/A. The syntax is:

=IFNA(value, value_if_na)


The ISERROR function checks if a value is any type of error, not just #N/A. The syntax is:



The ISERR function checks if a value is any type of error except #N/A. The syntax is:



The IFERROR function is similar to the IFNA function, but it works with any type of error, not just #N/A. The syntax is:

=IFERROR(value, value_if_error)


The ERROR.TYPE function returns a number corresponding to the type of error in a given cell. This can be useful for identifying specific error types. The syntax is:


By understanding and applying the ISNA formula in Excel, you can effectively identify and handle #N/A errors in your spreadsheets. Use this comprehensive guide to help you master the ISNA function and improve your Excel skills.


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