Google Sheets is a fantastic online spreadsheet management software. However, while it’s elementary to use, at times, it can be confusing as well, especially when you’re working with advanced things such as formulas.
If you manually type a formula in Sheets and make a mistake, you’re going to run into a parse error. The error essentially tells you that there’ a mathematical or referential mistake in your formula that you need to fix.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at how to fix formula parse errors.
Fixing the Formula parse error
To avoid this error, you need to ensure that the formula you’re typing is written correctly without any incorrect references or syntax errors. Make sure you’re joining the correct syntax join values with working with strings and numbers together.
You may also run into a parse error when there’s one too many or too few brackets when closing off a formula. Functions like If, Sum, Query, Count, Sparkline and ImportRange can also trigger parse errors due to incorrect syntax.
It’s also best not to add symbols such as ‘%’ or ‘$’ manually as they can be confused for different syntax instead of formatting options.
Semi-colons and commas
Sometimes people can get confused between semi-colons and commas, making the formula unreadable to Google Sheets. The error most likely occurs due to incorrect keyboard layout or language settings as different layouts and languages place punctuation differently on the keyboard.
The same thing can happen with commas and backslashes as well. When separating a string of values, make sure to use the right one depending on your situation, as Google Sheets syntax isn’t the same globally. Some countries might even have their unique syntax.
One trick you can use to write and debug formulas easily is to begin them with an apostrophe, effectively turning the formula into a text string. Yes, Google Sheet won’t be able to read it, but you’ll have all the luxury in the world when writing and debugging the formula.
Doing so will also allow you to test individual parts of the formula and copy the whole thing so that you can use it in another context.
Also read: How to merge cells in Google Sheets?
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