Q: I keep seeing green triangles in my Excel spreadsheet (pictured below); can you please tell me how to get rid of them? Thank you.
A: The small green triangles displayed in the top-left corner of a cell are indicators of a possible error. By default, Excel 2010, 2007, and 2003 display this indicator whenever the program detects one of the following nine common spreadsheet errors:
1. The cell contains a formula error.
2. The cell’s column total calculation is inconsistent with adjacent column total calculations (this rule is not included in Excel 2003).
3. The cell contains a date where the year is represented with only two digits.
4. The cell contains numbers formatted as text or numbers preceded by an apostrophe.
5. The cell contains a formula inconsistent with other formulas in the region.
6. The cell contains a formula that omits certain data—for example, a formula that refers to only a portion of a solid range of data.
7. The cell contains a formula but is unlocked in a protected worksheet.
8. The cell contains a formula that refers to an empty cell.
9. A restricted cell (restricted via data validation) contains invalid data.
If you are one of those amazing CPAs who never makes an error, you can disable Excel’s error-checking indicators as follows. In Excel 2010 or 2007, select File, Options (or Excel Options), Formulas, and under the Error Checking section, uncheck the box labeled Enable background error checking. Or, if you prefer, uncheck any of the boxes in the next section (labeled Error checking rules) to individually disable any of the nine rules listed there (see box below).
Excel 2003’s error-checking settings are accessible by selecting Tools, Options, and then clicking the Error Checking tab.