[Fixed] Excel Data Table Input Cell Reference Is Not Valid

A data table is a component of the What-If Analysis tools in Microsoft Excel that enables users to experiment with various formula input values and observe how such changes impact the formulae’ output. But there are some instructions while using the data table, if you don’t follow those properly you may face an error. In this article, we will demonstrate different solutions of Excel data table input cell reference is not valid.

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What Is Data Table?

A data table is a collection of cells where you may modify the values in a few of the fields to get several solutions to a particular issue. We use this for how a variety of results from a variety of different sources. Data tables examine how the final result varies when different variables are added or subtracted from the function or formula. When a calculation relies on resultants and you want to try various input variables and evaluate the outcomes, data tables are extremely helpful.

5 Reasons with Solutions to Fix "Input Cell Reference Is Not Valid" Error for Excel Data Table

A data table is an effective tool, but it adds a new layer of difficulty that can lead to more ways for it to go wrong or produce incorrect findings. This may result in incorrect computation output values or a table that is completely unusable.

excel data table input cell reference is not valid

Let’s see the lists below of the explanations of the data table’s malfunction and solutions.

Reason 1: Input Cell Is in Different Sheet

An input cell reference is not valid; this issue could appear when using a data table in Microsoft Excel and the row or column input cell makes a reference to an outside source. This may occur if a formula is copied or transferred to another cell. Or, if columns or rows holding the data required in the formula are mistakenly destroyed or deleted.

Solution: Insert Input Cells on the Same Sheet as Data Table

While using the data table in excel, make sure the input cells for a data table have to be on the identical sheet as that of the data table itself, however, the equation that fills the table may be in a different sheet by way of reference. Let’s have a glance at how we input cells correctly.

  • Firstly, select the table range, where you want to put your data table.
  • Secondly, go to the Data tab from the ribbon.
  • Thirdly, click on the What-If Analysis drop-down menu under the Forecast category.
  • Then, select the Data Table.

excel data table input cell reference is not valid

  • Make a selection of the input cells correctly, and you can see our input cells are in the same sheet where our data table is located.
  • Further, click OK.

  • That’s all! If you follow the instructions you won’t face the error anymore.

Read More: How to Add Data Table in an Excel Chart (4 Quick Methods)

Reason 2: Referencing Wrong Cell

The error can also happen if the cell reference is incorrect or relates to another cell. When we use incorrect cell references in a worksheet calculation, invalid cell reference errors happen. It can also happen if the active worksheet cell for the row and column input cell refers to a cell beyond the table range. This creates data tables with this feature in mind.

Solution: Use Correct Cell Reference in Input Cells

When you reference the data table input cell be careful while doing this. Using the correct cell reference will solve the problem.

Read More: How to Make a Data Table in Excel (Easiest 5 Methods)

Reason 3: Duplicate Row & Column Input Cells

If your Row input cell and Column input cell reference the same cell, you will get the error message from Microsoft Excel which is Input cell reference is not valid.

Read More: Example of Excel Data Table (6 Criteria)

Solution: Contrast Row & Column Input Cells

Data tables input cell references can not be the same. Make sure that your Row input cell and Column input cell reference are different from each other.

Reason 4: Inaccurate Table Selection

If you select the table range inaccurately where you want to put your data table, the error message will appear.

Solution: Select Table Range Accurately

Ensure that while using What-If Analysis to generate a data table, the range of the table that you select for the data table is accurate. Also, ensure that the data table has important information in it.

Read More: How to Change Chart Data Range in Excel (5 Quick Methods)

Reason 5: Uncategorized Problem

If you try all the above solutions but still get the error. Maybe the data table can not categorize the range or the input cells.

Solution: Reference Sheet Name While Inputting Row & Column Cell

To solve this, use the sheet reference before inputting the Row input cell and Column input cell. In our case, we use ‘=Solution1!$C$4’ as our Row input cell & ‘=Solution1!$C$5 as our Column input cell.

excel data table input cell reference is not valid

NOTE: A data table is different from an Excel table, which is used to manage a collection of connected data. But sometimes the data table is also not working properly. Check out this article Data Table Not Working in Excel.

Read More: How to Create a Data Table in Excel (7 Ways)

Things to Remember

  • In a two-variable data table, both the “Row input cell” and the “Column input cell” are filled in contrast to a one-variable data table where the “Row input cell” is left empty.
  • You cannot reverse the action after applying the Data Table.
  • It is not possible to alter or edit any of the values in the set of cells once What-If-Analysis completes and the values calculate.


The above methods will assist you to solve Excel Data Table Input Cell Reference Is Not Valid. Hope this will help you! Please let us know in the comment section if you have any questions, suggestions, or feedback. Or you can glance at our other articles in the ExcelDemy.com blog!

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Sabrina Ayon

Sabrina Ayon

Hi there! This is Sabrina Ayon. I'm really excited to welcome you to my profile. Currently, I'm working in SOFTEKO as a Excel and VBA Content Developer. I'm a student of United International University and my program is Computer Science and Engineering. I love working with computers and solving problems. I’ve always been interested in research and development. So, here I will be posting articles related to Microsoft Excel. Hoped this may help you. Thank you.

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