How to Circle Invalid Data in Excel

Learn how to use Data Validation to circle invalid data in Excel, making it easy to identify errors.

In Microsoft Excel, the Circle Invalid Data tool makes cells that don’t meet the rules for data validation stand out visually. Before you can use this tool, you have to set your own data validation criteria. In this article we will talk about how to Circle Invalid Data in Excel.

This could mean making ranges, listing values that are acceptable, or making your own formulas to check entries. The Circle Invalid Data option can be found on the Data tab of the menu bar once the validation rules are set. When you click on this option, Excel will find cells that don’t meet the criteria you set and mark them.

Users of spreadsheets, data analysts, and anyone else working with Excel can quickly find and fix data validation problems in their files with Circle Invalid Data. This makes their analyses and reports more reliable and high-quality.

How to Circle Invalid Data in Excel

  1. Pick the area of data over which you want to circle the wrong values.
  2. Go to Data > Data Validation > Data Validation (see picture).
  3. In the Data Validation dialog, set the conditions as you need. For example, I want to circle all the values that are greater than or equal to 400, so I will choose Whole number from the Allow drop-down menu, select Between under the Data section, and enter the minimum value of 100 and the maximum value of 400. You can set the conditions as you need (see screenshot).
  4. Once the data validation is set, please go to Data > Data Validation > Circle Invalid Data. A red oval will appear around all the numbers that are not between 100 and 400. Look at the pictures.

Understanding the Importance of Validating Data

  • Improves the accuracy of the data: If you set rules for entering data, users won’t enter wrong information by chance. Some examples of this are only allowing certain types of data (like numbers, dates, or text), values within certain ranges, or items that match a list that has already been set up. In this way, you can be sure that the info you use is reliable and true to life.
  • Second, it helps keep things consistent: validating data helps keep your file consistent. For instance, you can make a dropdown list of valid choices for a certain field to make sure that everyone enters data in the same way. This makes your files clearer and easier to use, so it’s easier for you and other people to understand and make sense of the data.
How to Circle Invalid Data in Excel
  • Cuts down on mistakes and saves time: If you don’t enter invalid data, you greatly lower the chance of making mistakes in your numbers and formulas. This saves you time and work that you would have spent fixing mistakes and making sure the data is correct.
  • Makes it easier to analyze data and make decisions: If your data is clean and correct, you can analyze it correctly and make decisions based on accurate information. This means that cash forecasting, project management, and running the business as a whole will be better.

Tips for Efficiently Handling Invalid Data

How to stop:

  • Data Validation: Use rules for data validation to limit the kinds of information that users can put into certain cells. This can help stop typos, wrong formats, and numbers that are too high or too low. You can define the values, ranges of values, and even your own methods that can be used for validation.
  • Input Forms: You can make your own forms for entering info. This lets you set up specific areas, data types, and validation checks right in the form, making sure that the data is correct from the start.

Name: Identification

  • Conditional formatting: Use rules for conditional formatting to make invalid data stand out clearly. You can style cells based on certain conditions, like text in a number field, empty cells, or values that are outside of a certain range. At a glance, this makes it easy to see where mistakes might be.
  • Sort and Filter: Sort and filter your data based on certain factors, such as error messages or values that aren’t valid that are shown by conditional formatting. This helps find the troublesome data points so they can be looked into and fixed further.

Fixing things and cleaning up:

  • Find and Replace: To change certain invalid entries to the values you want, use the “Find and Replace” feature. This could help you fix mistakes or problems with the formatting.
  • Text to Columns and Formulas: Sometimes you may need to use functions like “Text to Columns” or work with data using formulas to change or fix entries that aren’t acceptable into formats that can be used.

Best Practices for Data Validation in Excel

Decide on the right type of validation:

  • Included choices: For simple data types, use the “Whole number,” “Decimal,” “Date,” or “Time” options that come with the engine.
  • Lists with drop-downs: Users should be able to choose from lists of acceptable numbers. This will help with consistency and cut down on mistakes.
  • Custom formulas: If you need more complicated validation rules than what’s already set, you can use formulas like ISNUMBER and TEXTLENGTH, or you can even use other cells to do dynamic validation.

Give clear instructions:

  • Input messages: When a user selects a cell, add helpful messages that tell them what kind of data or numbers are expected.
  • Error alerts: When users enter invalid data, make sure they see helpful error messages that explain the problem clearly and tell them to fix it.

Use confirmation all the time:

  • Set uniform rules: To make sure that your worksheet is consistent and easy to use, make sure that the validation rules for similar types of data are always the same.
  • Think about using conditional formatting: When you combine data validation with conditional formatting, possible mistakes or invalid entries will stand out clearly, making them easier to find.

How to Download in Excel?


  1. Open App Store: Tap on the “App Store” icon on your iOS device’s home screen.
  2. Search for Excel: Tap on the search bar at the bottom of the screen and type in “Excel”.
  3. Select Excel: Once the search results appear, tap on the “Excel” app developed by Microsoft Corporation.
  4. Download: Tap on the “Get” button next to the Excel app icon.
  5. Authenticate and Install: If required, authenticate with your Apple ID using Face ID, Touch ID, or your Apple ID password. Once authenticated, the download will begin, and the Excel app will be installed on your device.


  1. Open Google Play Store: Tap on the “Play Store” icon on your Android device’s home screen.
  2. Search for Excel: Tap on the search bar at the top of the screen and type in “Excel”.
  3. Select Excel: Once the search results appear, tap on the “Microsoft Excel” app developed by Microsoft Corporation.
  4. Install: Tap on the “Install” button.
  5. Accept Permissions: Review the permissions required by the app, then tap “Accept” to grant them. The download and installation process will begin, and the Excel app will be installed on your device.


How do you invalidate Data in Excel?

To quickly remove data validation for a cell, select it, and then go to Data > Data Tools > Data Validation > Settings > Clear All.

How do you customize the error alert for invalid Data in Excel?

You can provide your own error message and also allow people to type their own values. Here’s how: Select the cells you want. Click Data Validation. Click the Error Alert tab and check the box.

What is an example of invalid data?

If you have invalid data like missing values, outliers, duplicates, errors, or inconsistencies, it can hurt the quality and validity of your research and give you wrong or misleading results.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!


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