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Excel/if not is error formula


Hello Aidan,

I am a huge database file, i am trying to categorise the items based on descriptions.

I am using the following formula:
=IF(NOT(ISERROR(SEARCH("Water Set",A2))),"W/S",IF(NOT(ISERROR(SEARCH("Decanter",A2)),"Oth Dkw",IF(NOT(ISERROR(SEARCH("Dinner Pl",A2))),"Dinn")))

I am trying to search the word eg: water set and return W/S in the cell and so on so it automatically categorises, but somehow the formula is not working.

Please highlight where i am going wrong so i can rectify it.

Thank you in advance :)

the number of brackets in your typed formula is wrong, but that may just be typing

=IF(NOT(ISERROR(SEARCH("Water Set",A2))),"W/S",IF(NOT(ISERROR(SEARCH("Decanter",A2))),"Oth Dkw",IF(NOT(ISERROR(SEARCH("Dinner Pl",A2))),"Dinn")))

would be the corrected version - however, this may not be the issue - extra spaces in the phrases would cause the formula to fail to match.  I'm assuming that having FALSE returned if the three options fail is by design so you can change those values to other options?

Happy to look at sample files if that helps - my email is
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Aidan Heritage


I have provided first hand support since `95 for Microsoft Office majoring in Word and Excel - support for all versions from 2 onwards. I'm based in the UK, so please allow for time differences when asking me questions from other parts of the world!


My background is in the insurance industry and call centre areas, but have been called upon to provide many varied solutions.

I'm educated to UK A level standard, but as I left school some 30 years ago that is rather irrelevent - university of life has provided more of a background!

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