Out, Out, Green Triangles

BY STANLEY ZAROWIN

Q. Some cells in my spreadsheets contain little green triangles in the upper left-hand corner (see screenshot at right), and I can’t get rid of them, though sometimes—through no apparent effort on my part—they just disappear. Is my software infected with the dreaded green triangle virus?

A. No, it’s not a virus. Those green triangles are Excel’s way of telling you it believes the cells contain an error. Of course, sometimes Excel is wrong, but such error-flagging is a handy fail-safe function.

Why it happens: Excel 2002 and 2003 constantly work in the background scanning for possible errors. You can turn off the feature by clicking on Tools , Options and the Error Checking tab and unchecking the Enable background error checking . Then click on OK .

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