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# where #N/A return 0

Posted on 2014-11-28
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Collumns E & F have a number of cells that have returned N/A.

Can someone help me with a formula to return a "0" to replace all the N/A's

Rob
Copy-of-cost-prices.xlsx
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Question by:robmarr700
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LVL 18

Assisted Solution

The first thing I see is a circular reference warning!

But apart from that, it's your vlookup that are causing the error becuase that function returns an error if it doesn't find a match:
=VLOOKUP(A175,'P:\THS Direct Admin\Reports\[THS DIRECT (sales master).xlsm]Product Sales'!\$A:\$P,16,FALSE)
If you wrap the vlookup function with the iferror function you'll avoid them

e.g. =IFERROR(=VLOOKUP(A175,'P:\THS Direct Admin\Reports\[THS DIRECT (sales master).xlsm]Product Sales'!\$A:\$P,16,FALSE),0)
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LVL 68

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Qlemo earned 83 total points
=IFERROR(VLOOKUP(A175,'P:\THS Direct Admin\Reports\[THS DIRECT (sales master).xlsm]Product Sales'!\$A:\$P,16,FALSE),0)
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Expert Comment

Of course :) Well spotted. You deserve that halo!
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byundt earned 166 total points
Searching a closed workbook is going to take a fair amount of time. Searching entire columns for information that isn't there will take much more time. My tests on a closed file stored on a SSD in my laptop suggest about 2 seconds per cell if you search an entire column of a closed workbook for information that isn't there. Restricting the range makes it noticeably faster.

Opening the target workbook before opening the workbook with the formula would be best. If that is not possible, I suggest that you restrict the range being searched to the actual range of data, or to a range that doesn't extend much beyond it. For example:
=IFERROR(VLOOKUP(A175,'P:\THS Direct Admin\Reports\[THS DIRECT (sales master).xlsm]Product Sales'!\$A\$1:\$P\$10000,16,FALSE),0)
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DanCh99 earned 83 total points
I think you actually want to use the **result** of the vlookup in the other cells, so it's not enough to just return the zero if it fails.  If that's right, you might want to consider this - in Cell E2, to fill down...

=IF(ISNA(MATCH(A2,'P:\THS Direct Admin\Reports\[THS DIRECT (sales master).xlsm]Product Sales'!\$A:\$A,0)),0,VLOOKUP(A2,,'P:\THS Direct Admin\Reports\[THS DIRECT (sales master).xlsm]Product Sales'!\$A:\$P,16,FALSE))

I also used ISNA instead of ISERROR to be more specific about the error code trapping that you want.

Also, if you're just checking that a value exists, it makes more sense to use a MATCH first, and then do the VLOOKUP only if needed.
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byundt earned 166 total points
I think you actually want to use the **result** of the vlookup in the other cells, so it's not enough to just return the zero if it fails.
I'm not following the above assertion. While ISNA does allow you to be more specific in error trapping, the IFERROR statement returns either the result of the VLOOKUP or a 0. And the real benefit of the IFERROR is that you don't have to perform a time-consuming search on a closed workbook twice if no error occurs.

MATCH and VLOOKUP are about the same speed. The real benefit of using MATCH occurs when you want to return more than one column of information. You can then store the result of the MATCH in an auxiliary column and use an INDEX formula with the result of the MATCH to return the desired values. This will be much faster than using a VLOOKUP for each column of desired information because the INDEX formulas know exactly which row to go to.

If speed is a real concern, then you would also want to sort the closed workbook by its column A. You could then use the binary search form of MATCH (or VLOOKUP) to return values. The binary search will be an order of magnitude (or more) faster in returning information.
=IF(IFERROR(VLOOKUP(A2,'P:\THS Direct Admin\Reports\[THS DIRECT (sales master).xlsm]Product Sales'!\$A:\$A,1,TRUE),"")<>A2,"",MATCH(A2,'P:\THS Direct Admin\Reports\[THS DIRECT (sales master).xlsm]Product Sales'!\$A:\$A,1))
=IF(\$B2="",0,INDEX('P:\THS Direct Admin\Reports\[THS DIRECT (sales master).xlsm]Product Sales'!P:P,\$B2))

The first formula above requires closed workbook column A to be sorted in ascending order. It then uses the binary form of VLOOKUP to test if an exact match is found. If so, it uses the binary form of MATCH to return the index (row) number. If not, an empty string (looks like a blank) is returned.

The second formula above tests whether the index number in cell B2 is an empty string. If so, the formula returns 0 (or an empty string if you prefer). If an index number exists in cell B2, then the INDEX function returns the desired value. I put a \$ in front of B2 to fix the reference to the MATCH column while you copy the formula across to get data from column P, then Q, R, S, T, etc.
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Hakan Yılmaz earned 84 total points
You have a basic circular reference in cell F2, it seeks for its own value to calculate its own value.

You may change your F column formula to IFERROR(D2*E2,0). Even if the value you seek in another file doesnt exists, calculation with this formula will hide it as zero.
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

Having double-checked, the points that Qlemo and Byundt make are, of course, correct.  I thought it was pretty unlikely that they'd have made a mistake, but I ploughed on regardless... sorry, guys!

My solution works, it's just not as elegant.  I was also wrong about some of the subtleties of the IFERROR function.

Comparing the speed of VLOOKUP to INDEX/MATCH (and not just MATCH) showed a slight speed improvement for the latter here:
http://exceluser.com/blog/727/excels-fastest-lookup-methods-the-tested-results.html
but of course we're surmising here about a) the amount of data being checked (even though whole rows are mentioned, they could be largely blank), and b) whether that sheet is actually closed when it's being recalculated.

I think the circular ref problems are just due to this sheet being a Work In Progress.
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