[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 for Excel data table input cell reference that is not valid.

What Is a 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 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.

Excel Data Table Input Cell Reference Is Not Valid: 5 Reasons with Solutions

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 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.
  • Go to the Data tab from the ribbon.
  • 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.

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, the invalid cell reference error happens. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 the What-If-Analysis completes and the values are calculated.

Download Practice Workbook

You can download the workbook and practice with them.


The above methods will assist you in solving data table input cell reference is not valid in Excel. 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 on our website.

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Sabrina Ayon
Sabrina Ayon

Sabrina Ayon, a Computer Science and Engineering graduate from United International University, has been an integral part of the ExcelDemy project for two years. She authored 150+ articles, excelling in instructing through visually engaging Excel tutorials. With a passion for teaching, Sabrina conducted sessions on Excel VBA, sharing her knowledge and insights with others. Currently holding the position of Project Manager for the ExcelDemy Visual Development Project, she oversees various aspects of the project, ensuring its smooth operation... Read Full Bio

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