Turn Off or Customize Error Checking Options (and Markers) in Excel

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated May 26, 2022

Applies to: Microsoft® Excel® 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, 2021 and 365 (Windows)

In Microsoft Excel, errors are flagged by default with a small green marker or triangle in the upper left corner of the cell. However, these indicators display when there may be an error but is, in fact, not an error. Excel checks the cells against the error checking settings or rules in the Excel Options dialog box. You can turn error checking off completely or set the rules you prefer in the Options dialog box. The default settings can cause some irritating behaviour (like flagging cells with formulas referring to empty cells).

Recommended article: 8 Tips for Entering Excel Formulas

Do you want to learn more about Excel? Check out our virtual classroom or in-person classroom Excel courses >

Changing error checking options or rules

To turn off or change error checking options or rules:

  1. Click the File tab in the Ribbon.
  2. Select Options. A dialog box appears.
  3. Click Formulas in the left pane.
  4. In the right pane, select the desired options under Error Checking or Error checking rules and click OK.

Below is the Excel Options dialog box:

Microsoft Excel Options dialog displaying error checking options.

Changing the error marker color

To change the error marker color, in the Excel Options dialog box (Formulas category):

  1. Beside Indicate errors using this color, select an alternate color from the color menu.
  2. Click OK.

Turning off error checking

To turn off error checking completely in the the Excel Options dialog box (Formulas category):

  1. Deselect (uncheck) the Enable background error checking.
  2. Click OK.

Selecting error checking rules

You can select or deselect (check or uncheck) the following rules in the Error checking rules area in the Excel Options dialog (Formulas category):

  • Cells containing formulas that result in an error – when checked, Excel displays an error indicator and adds the alert options Smart Tag to all cells that return error values.
  • Inconsistent calculated column formula in tables – when checked, Excel displays an error indicator and adds the alert options Smart Tag to all cells in columns in tables that are different from other formulas in the column.
  • Cells containing years represented as 2 digits – when checked, Excel displays an error indicator and adds the alert options Smart Tag to all cells that contain dates entered as text with only the last two digits of the year.
  • Numbers formatted as text or preceded by an apostrophe – when checked, Excel displays an error indicator and adds the alert options Smart Tag to all cells that contain numbers entered as text (or preceded by an apostrophe).
  • Formulas inconsistent with other formulas in region – when checked, Excel displays an error indicator and adds the alert options Smart Tag to all cells in which the formula is inconsistent from the others in the same area of the worksheet.
  • Formulas which omit cells in a region – when checked, Excel displays an error indicator and adds the alert options Smart Tag to all cells in which a formula omits cells from the range referenced in the formula.
  • Unlocked cells containing formulas – when checked, Excel displays an error indicator and adds the alert options Smart Tag to all cells containing a formula which is unlocked when the worksheet is protected.
  • Formulas referring to empty cells – when checked, Excel displays an error indicator and adds the alert options Smart Tag to all cells with formulas referring to blank cells.
  • Data entered in a table is invalid – when checked, Excel displays an error indicator and adds the alert options Smart Tag to all cells with formulas in which data validation has been applied and that contain values considered to be invalid.

Resetting ignored errors

If a user has clicked the Smart Tag in a cell and selected Ignore Error for specific cells, this can be reset:

  1. In the Excel Options dialog box (Formulas category), click Reset Ignored Errors. This does not reset rules you have unchecked.
  2. Click OK.

Error checking markers can be very irritating and it's simple to control Excel's error checking behavior.

This article was first published on August 3, 2016 and has been updated for clarity and content.

Subscribe to get more articles like this one

Did you find this article helpful? If you would like to receive new articles, JOIN our email list.

More resources

How to Use Flash Fill in Excel (4 Ways)

How to Convert Text to Numbers in Excel (5 Ways)

How to Lock and Protect Excel Worksheets and Workbooks

10 Great Excel Navigation Shortcuts to Move Around in Workbooks

How to Replace Blank Cells in Excel with a Value from a Cell Above

Related courses

Microsoft Excel: Intermediate / Advanced

Microsoft Excel: Data Analysis with Functions, Dashboards and What-If Analysis Tools

Microsoft Excel: Introduction to Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) Macros

VIEW MORE COURSES >

Our instructor-led courses are delivered in virtual classroom format or at our downtown Toronto location at 18 King Street East, Suite 1400, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (some in-person classroom courses may also be delivered at an alternate downtown Toronto location). Contact us at info@avantixlearning.ca if you'd like to arrange custom instructor-led virtual classroom or onsite training on a date that's convenient for you.

Copyright 2022 Avantix® Learning

You may also like

How to Password Protect Your Excel Worksheets and Workbooks

How to Password Protect Your Excel Worksheets and Workbooks

You can password protect worksheets and workbooks in Excel. If you want to prevent other users from opening or modifying an Excel workbook, you can encrypt the file with a password. You can also protect workbook structure where you can prevent users from deleting, renaming, moving or unhiding worksheets. Password protection can be added to your Excel file in several ways.

Microsoft, the Microsoft logo, Microsoft Office and related Microsoft applications and logos are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in Canada, US and other countries. All other trademarks are the property of the registered owners.

Avantix Learning |18 King Street East, Suite 1400, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5C 1C4 | Contact us at info@avantixlearning.ca

Summary
How to Stop or Control Green Error Checking Markers in Excel
Article Name
How to Stop or Control Green Error Checking Markers in Excel
Description
In Microsoft Excel, errors are flagged with small green marker or triangle in the upper left corner of the cell. However, these indicators display when there may be an error but is, in fact, not an error. Excel checks the cells against the error checking settings or rules in the Excel Options dialog box.
Author
Publisher Name
Avantix Learning

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This