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GuidesHow to fix Google Sheets formula parse error

How to fix Google Sheets formula parse error

Just recently started working with Google Sheets and suddenly #ERROR appears? It’s okay, it happens from time to time and it doesn’t mean that the problem cannot be corrected.

Is there a way to fix Google Sheets formula parse error

If you have been working in Excel or Google Sheets for a long time, you have probably come face to face with errors when working in these apps. In fact, errors arise mainly due to incorrect formulas or inattention when working with tables. However, there are a number of other reasons that can provoke such errors. They are listed below.

However, if you have a problem with Google Sheets, the first thing you must do is to understand the reason for such a scenario. And here you will find both the reasons for the errors and their definition and hence methods of elimination.

What are the reasons for the issue

To begin with, the main causes of parse errors are either inattention or some other reason, which can be listed below:

  • You’re attempting to parse data from a file that doesn’t exist.
  • There’s an error within the data you’re trying to parse. This can occur while downloading a file containing the parse data. If this is the case and downloading the file is what caused the parse error, you can try downloading the file an additional time or search for one that has been updated. You can also try downloading the file from a different site, if possible.
  • The file’s parsing data may not be compatible with the operating system or program being used. Make sure to check prior to downloading the file.
  • Permissions may be insufficient or those that enable you to access the file’s data have not yet been granted. Request the necessary permissions and if granted, attempt to parse the data again.
  • You lack the sufficient amount of disk space needed for the parse resulting in a parse error being generated. When writing a file to a hard drive or USB, ensure that the drive consists of enough space for the parsed data results. You may also choose to move the file being parsed or run it to your hard drive if it’s a parse being run from removable media.

What kind of parse errors may occur and how to deal with it

So, you have already figured out what may be the causes of these errors, but it’s worth noting the most popular syntax errors. The latter are mostly caused by inattention and the insertion of unnecessary characters. Here are some of these errors:x

  • The #Error. The #ERROR! message is specifically unique to Google Sheets and what it means is that it cannot understand the formula that has been entered and therefore cannot execute the command to parse the data.
    • In order to avoid the parse #ERROR! the message, you’ll want to make sure that the formula is written correctly and fix any syntax errors that you find. Make sure to thoroughly review the formula for any inaccuracies or mistakes in the formula itself.
    • This is also the case if you’ve missed a “&” when stringing together text and numerical values. The formula should read as is: =“Total”&sum(A1:A6) which shows up as a Total21 (the numbers in A1-A6 added together).
    • The additional bracket also can cause the error.
  • The #DIV/0 Error. If you’re unintentionally attempting to divide by 0, you will receive the #DIV/0 Error. Double-check your formulas and make sure you aren’t trying to divide anything by zero.
  • The #N/A Error. Once the #N/A Error occurs, this usually means a referenced value doesn’t exist or was referenced incorrectly. Make sure that you’ve entered the correct cells and values.
  • The #NUM! Error. If you’re using a formula that contains invalid numbers, then you might see the #NUM! Error. Avoid the complication and go over your formulas prior to parsing the data and correct any and all irregularities that you may find.

What will help to write/disassemble/fix a complex formula

The onion principle is what onion expert Ben Collins called this approach. The idea is this: instead of writing a complex formula outright, we first write a part, see how it works and if it calculates the intermediate value correctly, then reference that formula from another formula in which it will be one of the arguments, and if everything works, we delete the column with the intermediate formula and move it to the final formula (to the place where we referenced it).

In other words, we form separate parts of the formula in separate cells, referring from the next one to the previous step, and then combine it into one.

Now you know more about how to prevent or fix a Google Sheet problem, how to edit or rewrite a formula by the onion principle, and how not to make a mistake next time. And even if you do make a mistake, it will strengthen your Google Sheets credentials. Experiment and don’t be afraid to make new mistakes!



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