Excel Found A Problem with One Or More Formula References in This Worksheet

You receive the error Excel found a problem with one or more formula references in this worksheet while saving the Excel workbook. Read this post to know how to fix Excel found a problem with one or more formula references error. If you have excel file loss problems, download EaseUS Excel recovery and repair software to get back Excel files.

Table of Contents

Excel Found a Problem with One Or More Formula References, Please Tell Me Where!

"One of my least favorite messages that Excel provides is:

'Excel 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." But I can never find the bad references. It's usually buried somewhere very deep, in a chart series formula, or a name definition, or who knows where else".

a formula in this worksheet contains one or more invalid references

If you are experiencing the error - Excel found a problem with one or more formula references in this worksheet in the Excel workbook, it indicates that the Excel file is corrupt or partially damaged. Resolving the error is critical as it doesn't let you save the file and may cause Excel data loss.

Here are some methods that you can follow to fix the error "Excel found a problem with one or more formula references in this worksheet".

Solution 1. Isolate the Specific Spreadsheet Tab

The first thing you need to do is isolate the specific Excel sheet. If you have a file with lots of tabs, you may want to start by isolating the specific tab to solve the case. It's easy to isolate the tab.

Step 1. Copy your tabs from the old workbook to a new one.

Step 2. Keep checking which tab in the new workbook throws the error message.

Step 3. Click "Save" after copying each of the tabs. The error message usually appears at the time of saving the event. Then, you can find the problematic tab.

This will help you find the faulty sheet from the workbook that you can review. In case you can't fix the error, back up the specific sheet and remove it after the backup.

Solution 2. Check Formulas in Excel

Small and silly formula errors in excel can also lead to big consequences. To avoid such a case, it's advised to check your formula and make it error-free.

Step 1. Go to Formulas and click on the "Error Checking" button

Step 2. This runs a scan on the sheet and displays the issues. 

check formulas in excel

If no issue is found, it displays the following message:

"The error check is completed for the entire sheet."

Then, you can try to save the Excel file again. If the error message persists, proceed to the next method.

Solution 3. Check the External Links

The next option to solve this issue is to find the external links that have errors. Follow the steps below to check out the external links containing errors:

Step 1. Go to the "Data" Tab.

Step 2. In the Connections group, click on "Edit Links". It opens the Edit Links dialog box will list all the workbooks that are being referenced.

Step 3. Check the links. If you find any faulty link, remove it and then save the sheet.

check external links

Solution 4. Check Your Charts

If you are still experiencing the fault, you can try to review the charts to solve the problem. As you know, if the error is within a chart it will pop up after you have selected the chart or when you are entering the Select Data Source dialog box.

Here is a list of area locations where you need to check for errors.

  • In the source data of the chart.
  • In each of the chart series formulas present within the Select Data Source dialog box.
  • Check for the errors in the horizontal axis formula which is present inside the Select Data Source dialog box.
  • Also, check in the chart's Secondary Axis.
  • Also check in the linked Axis Labels, Data Labels, or the Chart Title.

Solution 5. Check Pivot Tables

There could be an error in your Pivot Table's Data Source formula. To check Pivot Tables, follow these steps:

Step 1. Go to "PivotTable Tools > Analyze > Change Data Source > Change Data Source…"

Step 2. Check out whether any of your formulas are having the error or not.

check pivot tables

Solution 6. Run Excel Repair Software

If none of the solutions can solve the error - Excel found a problem with one or more formula references in this worksheet, you can turn to advanced Excel repair software. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is a powerful tool that can recover and repair corrupt Word documents, Excel files, videos, and photos. Follow the steps below to recover and repair Excel files.

Step 1. Select a location to start finding corrupted Excel files

Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, and then scan the corrupted or damaged Excel files.

repair Excel file - 1

Step 2.  Scan for the corrupted Excel document

Find the damaged files through the filter, file path, search, etc.

repair damaged Excel files

Step 3.  Repair and save the Excel file to a secure location

Double-click the corrupt excel file, and this program will automatically repair corrupted and damaged Excel files. Click "Recover" to save the repaired Excel files to a safe location.

Save repaired Excel files


This article has provided you with almost all the fixes to troubleshoot this error "Excel found a problem with one or more formula references in this worksheet" error. But the solutions may lead to a partial loss of information. Therefore, you'd better make a backup to external devices in advance.

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Updated by Brithny

Brithny is a technology enthusiast, aiming to make readers' tech life easy and enjoyable. She loves exploring new technologies and writing technical how-to tips. On her spare time, she loves sharing things about her favorite singer - Taylor Swift on her Facebook or Twitter.

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