Upon saving my Excel sheet, I receive the following error message:

error message

We found a problem with one or more formula references in this worksheet.

Check that the cell references, range names, defined names and links to other workbooks in your formulas are all correct.

“Error Checking” (under “Formulas” → “Formula editing”) returns

The error check is completed for the entire sheet.

What is the fastest way to find what is causing this problem?

Excel in Office 365 ProPlus, Windows 7.

  • 1
    In this specific case, the problem seemed to be caused by a chart with empty data ranges.
    – Karlo
    Nov 20, 2015 at 11:04
  • OK. I hadn't answered it yet because it is not a general solution to this problem. And I have to wait for 2 days before I can accept my own answer.
    – Karlo
    Nov 20, 2015 at 12:21
  • 2
    In my copy of Excel 2013, “Error Checking” is under “Formulas” → “Formula Auditing”. Nov 11, 2016 at 19:18

5 Answers 5


The problem was caused by a chart with empty data ranges. This potential cause was mentioned in this forum.

  • 5
    Please add more detail on how you determined this, otherwise it's not a very useful answer Nov 20, 2015 at 12:23
  • 3
    (+1) Detail or not, after an hour debugging my formulas and searching Google this is the first answer I've found to this problem which actually solved my problem! I have a very fancy spreadsheet which builds my dynamic chart for me, but I'd never considered what would happen if a whole column of data was left as zero or empty. Nov 11, 2016 at 15:03

This is caused by empty values in named ranges/cells.

To debug, go to Formulas > Name Manager. Look for Named Ranges with an empty value. Either change the where the reference points (the "Refers to:" column) such that it pulls in a value, or delete the reference if it is not needed.

Be careful deleting named ranges, as you can cause some downstream #REF errors.


The issue may not be with the workbook that is generating the error.

In my case, I had another workbook open that a colleague sent me, which caused the error message to appear every time I added a row to any data table in any other workbook I had open. When I closed that other workbook, the error message stopped appearing in the other workbooks.

So, if you have multiple workbooks open, pinpoint the problematic workbook(s). If you know which workbook is the problem, you can follow the advice in some of the other answers.


This error occur from name manager (Dynamic range) mostly. if you have define any range and there is no data then it will come. please check you dynamic ranges and fill some data for test then it will resolve.


In my case, I had no named ranges but almost all of my sheets that had a chart on them would cause the error to appear once after first viewing the sheet. My workbook was in XLS format. Saving it in the more modern XLSX format made the problem go away (and quartered the file size in the process!).

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