When Things Don’t Work

Newsletter sent 2016-10-18.

When Things Don’t Work

There’s nothing more frustrating than clicking refresh on an automated process and having it fail. What was supposed to be a brief delay has suddenly turned into a situation that could ruin your whole day. I track product usage, and try to build Analytics Edge with some fault tolerance, but there are situations that simply need user attention to resolve.

Of the past 500,000 operations, too many resulted in errors. Here are the top 5 errors and how to avoid them:

1 – Error: 400 invalidParameter ids: the Google Analytics view ID you referenced does not exist. To find the correct view ID, check the Views tab and get the number from the end of the entry. Enter the number (not the name). If you used a cell reference, make sure it hasn’t moved since the query was built.



2 – ERROR: Invalid/missing dates: this could be bad dates or missing dates. A good date is either stored as a date in Excel, or the text string in the cell is formatted like 2016-10-31. Missing dates are usually caused by making cell references for the start and end dates, then making a change to the worksheet, causing the cells with the dates to move. Check your references in the query on the Dates tab.



3 – Error 400: Selected dimensions and metrics cannot be queried together. Google Analytics has a number of combinations of metrics and dimensions that will not work together. The Analytics Edge interface does not prevent you from selecting any combination you want because the rules can change over time, but if a field is shown in light gray, chances are it won’t work with the other fields you have already picked.



4 – Error 403: User does not have sufficient permissions for this profile. The account being used for this query does not have permission to query the selected view (profile). Either you have selected the wrong account for the query, or someone has removed your access to the property. Note: if you use a cell reference for the view ID, you should also make a cell reference for the Account to be used; that way they stay in sync. Do NOT leave them as Default if you have multiple accounts and websites.



5 – ERROR: Writing to Worksheet. This is usually caused by trying to write a query into a cell range that includes a merged cell range, or contains part of a table. Note that Analytics Edge determines the currently used range by looking for an empty column to the right and empty row below, and these must also not contain merged cells or parts of a table. Avoiding merged cells avoids problems.



Bonus: ERROR: Object reference not set to an instance of an object: this one is partly my doing…you did something I wasn’t expecting, and the product failed. I try to fix these situations as quickly as they appear. Review your settings and selections; if you can determine what it was that you did that caused the error, let me know and I’ll fix it. These errors should continue to drop off with future updates.



More error messages and their causes are available online here. I hope that any problems you do encounter are resolved quickly so you can get on with your day.