7

Almost all functions I try to use in Numbers give me a syntax error with no explanation what is wrong (red triangle with exclamation mark, only says "The formula contains a syntax error." when clicked). I'm on MacOS, NOT in the iPad version and have version 10.3.5 on Big Sur.

I tried UPPER("foo") and it displays FOO. So this gives me confidence that I know how to invoke functions.

enter image description here

results in

enter image description here

However then I actually wanted to use the find function. I try FIND("e", "where on earth") which is literally copied and pasted from the function help. All it does is give me an error.

enter image description here

results in

enter image description here

As said, all it gives me for details is this:

enter image description here

For reference the function help says in the example section

Examples

=FIND("e", "where on earth") returns 3 (“e” is the third character in the string “where on earth”).

Surely it must be something very basic I'm missing. When I copy and paste the same function in, say, Google Sheets, it's working perfectly.

  • Could you edit in either the version of number native app you are using or which version / web browser you use if you are in the web app version of Numbers? – bmike Dec 2 '20 at 7:43
8

Try using ; as a separator between parameters instead of ,.

If you start typing the function name in a cell and let it autocomplete you should also be able to see which separator will work and how the function should look.

It seems that in locales with a comma as a decimal point the separator for functions is different. The same thing happens in Microsoft Excel which is why I knew to look for it.

  • 1
    I even thought I tried that but you are totally right. So the "almost all" in my title basically mean "all with more than one parameter". Thanks! And actually it makes perfect sense if the system is configured to use the comma as a decimal separator. – musiKk Dec 2 '20 at 7:51
  • By the way, you are also right about the autocomplete. However this function does not work reliably for me. Most of the time I actually don't get the parameters auto filled. I guess it has to do with what button you push when... – musiKk Dec 2 '20 at 8:26
  • 1
    @musiKk Oh, good thinking about the reason, that makes perfect sense! Glad I could help! – Lizzan Dec 2 '20 at 8:44
  • It seems to me like a bug in the new Numbers. For me a perfectly good functioning spreadsheet started misbehaving after I opened it on iOS 14 yesterday. Now I also get 'syntax errors' on innocent functions like: STOCK('GOOG',1) macOS version 10.3.5 (7029.5.5) – axello Dec 9 '20 at 10:53
  • Ah, I figured it out. For me it had to do with a new iPhone which was set to a different locale, so that indeed the '.' and ',' were swapped on on of the fields. The suggestion by @Lizzan worked for me, thanks! – axello Dec 9 '20 at 11:10

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .