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OpenOffice Calc 3.x Guide
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Examples: Common errors

Err:503 Division by zero

This error is the result of dividing a number by either the number zero (0) or a blank cell. There is a easy way to avoid this type of problem. When it is possible to either have a zero or blank cell displayed, use a conditional function. The figure below depicts division of column B by column C yielding 2 errors arising from a zero and a blank cell showing in column C.

Examples of Err:503, Division by zero.

It is very common to find an error such as this arising from a situation where data was not reported or reported incorrectly. When such an occurrence is possible, an IF function can be used to display the data correctly. The formula =IF(C3>0, B3/C3, "No Report") can be entered. The formula is then copied over the remainder of Column D. The meaning of this formula roughly would be: “If C3 is greater than 0, then compute B3 divided by C3, otherwise enter ‘No Report’”.

Division by zero solution

It is also possible for the last parameter to use double quotes for a blank to be entered, or a different formula with a standardized number being substituted for the lower number. An example of this might be to use the nursing staff in the unit.

#VALUE Non-existent value and #REF! Incorrect references

The non-existent value error is also very common. The most common appearance of this error arises when a user copies a formula over a selected area. When copying, it is typical for the program to increment the represented cells. If you were copying downward from cell B3 the program would automatically substitute the cell B4 into the next lower cell and so on until the end of the copying process. If that next cell contains text or a value that is inappropriate for the formula, then this error may result. The difficulty usually occurs when one or more of the parameters in the formula need to be fixed.

Image:documentation_note.png To avoid the #VALUE and #REF! errors, give the cell B3 a name such as TotalExpenses. In that way, the program will carry that name to each succeeding formula being copied and remove the need to use the $ to anchor the reference to the TotalExpenses cell.

OpenOffice Calc 3.x Guide
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