Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Changing Error Checking Rules.

Changing Error Checking Rules

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated October 9, 2021)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


When Excel does background checking of your worksheet for errors, it follows a set number of rules. You can modify the rules that Excel follows through these steps:

  1. Display the Excel Options dialog box. (In Excel 2007 click the Office button and then click Excel Options. In Excel 2010 or later versions display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click Formulas at the left side of the dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Formulas options of the Excel Options dialog box.

  4. Make sure the Enable Background Error Checking check box is selected.
  5. Clear or set the checkboxes in the Error Checking Rules area of the dialog box, each of which specifies a different error-checking rule that Excel can follow.
  6. Click OK.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6221) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Changing Error Checking Rules.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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