Office
Sign in

Fix an inconsistent formula

This error means that the formula in the cell doesn't match the pattern of the formulas nearby.

Troubleshoot why it's inconsistent

  1. Click Formulas > Show Formulas.

  2. Doing that lets you see the formulas in all cells, instead of the calculated results.

  3. Compare the inconsistent formula with ones before and after it, and correct any unintentional inconsistencies.

  4. When you're done, click Formulas > Show Formulas. That will switch you back to showing the calculated results of all cells.

  5. If that doesn't work, select a cell nearby that doesn't have the problem.

  6. Click Formulas > Trace Precedents.

  7. Then select the cell that does have the problem.

  8. Click Formulas > Trace Precedents.

  9. Compare the blue arrows or ranges in blue. Then correct any problems with the inconsistent formula.

  10. Click Formulas > Remove Arrows.

More solutions

Select the cell with the inconsistent formula, and then hold down the SHIFT key while pressing one of your arrow keys. This will select the inconsistent cell along with others. Then do one of the following:

  • If you selected cells below, press CTRL+D to fill the formula down.

  • If you selected cells above, click Home > Fill > Up to fill the formula up.

  • If you selected cells to the right, press CTRL+R to fill the formula to the right.

  • If you selected cells to the left, click Home > Fill > Left to fill the formula to the left.

If you have more cells that need the formula, repeat the above process going in the other direction.

  1. Select the cell with the problem.

  2. Click this button:  Excel Error Alert button  and then select either Copy Formula from Above or Copy Formula from Left.

  3. If that doesn't work and you need the formula from the cell below, click Home > Fill > Up.

  4. If you need the formula from the cell to the right, click Home > Fill > Left.

If the formula is not an error you can choose to ignore it:

  1. Click Formulas > Error Checking

  2. Then click Ignore Error.

  3. Click OK or Next to jump to the next error.

Note: If don't want Excel to check for inconsistent formulas like this, close the Error Checking dialog box. Then click File > Options > Formulas. At the bottom, uncheck Formulas inconsistent with other formulas in the region.

If you're on a Mac, click Excel > Preferences > Error checking and then uncheck Formulas that don't match nearby formulas.

An error indicator appears when the formula does not match the pattern of other formulas near it. This does not always mean that the formula is wrong. If the formula is wrong, making the cell reference consistent often solves the problem.

For example, to multiply column A by column B, the formulas are A1*B1, A2*B2, A3*B3, and so on. If the next formula after A3*B3 is A4*B2, Excel identifies it as an inconsistent formula, because to continue the pattern, the formula should be A4*B4.

  1. Click the cell that contains the error indicator and look at the Formula Bar to verify that cell references are correct.

  2. Click the arrow next to the button that appears.

    Inconsistent formula in C4	mac_inconsistent_formula

    The shortcut menu shows the options that are available to resolve this warning.

  3. Do any of the following:

Select

To

Copy Formula from Above

Make the formula consistent by copying the pattern from the cell above. In our example, the formula becomes A4*B4 to match the pattern A3*B3 in the cell above.

Ignore Error

Remove the error indicator, for example, if the inconsistency in the formula is intentional or otherwise acceptable.

Edit in Formula Bar

Review the formula syntax and verify that cell references are what you intended.

Error Checking Options

Select the types of errors that you want Excel to flag. For example, if you don't want to see error indicators for inconsistent formulas, clear the Flag formulas that are inconsistent with formulas in adjoining cells check box.

Tips: 

    • To ignore error indicators for multiple cells at a time, select the range that contains the errors that you want to ignore. Next, click the arrow next to the button that appeared Inconsistent formula warning button , and on the shortcut menu, select Ignore Error.

    • To ignore error indicators for a whole sheet, first click a cell that has an error indicator. Then press COMMAND + A to select the sheet. Next, click the arrow next to the button that appeared Inconsistent formula warning button , and on the shortcut menu, select Ignore Error.

More resources

You can always ask an expert in the Excel Tech Community, get support in the Answers community, or suggest a new feature or improvement on Excel User Voice.

See Also

Detect errors in formulas

Hide error values and error indicators

Expand your Office skills
Explore training
Get new features first
Join Office Insiders

Was this information helpful?

Thank you for your feedback!

Thank you for your feedback! It sounds like it might be helpful to connect you to one of our Office support agents.

×