IFERROR vs ISERROR

Formula Friday #20

Formula Fridays are short reads, spotlighting a single formula that you can start using straight away.

I’m sure a fair few of you will be familiar with IFERROR. But perhaps not so many will be familiar with ISERROR. I was introduced to ISERROR before IFERROR but as soon as I started using it I never looked back.

What’s the difference between IFERROR and ISERROR

One allows you to tell Excel what to do if your formula results in an error – IFERROR. And the other will tell you if the formula will result in an error – ISERROR.

IFERROR will typically have a formula to test nested inside of it. Such as

=IFERROR(VLOOKUP($X11,‘DAILY CHANNEL’!$A:$J,Y$2,0)/1000,0)

ISERROR, on the other hand, will typically make up part of the formula to test. It’s frequently nested inside of an IF statement like this

=IF(ISERROR(SUM(Y6:Y11)),0,SUM(Y6:Y11))

It’s up to you which one to use

I use IFERROR most often. It’s easier to understand and looks neater, in my opinion. The most important thing to remember is what you are asking Excel.

With IFERROR you’re assumption is that the formula will work. So in instances when it does not work you want there to be a standardised result. When using ISERROR, the assumption is that the formula will not work – will cause an error. And in the instances when it does not result in an error, input a standardised result.

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