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Formula to Correctly Evaluate Blank Cells

This article was previously published under Q149577
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This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
SUMMARY
In Microsoft Excel, when you use a formula that tests for a zero value,you may see unexpected results if the cell is blank. Microsoft Excelinterprets a blank cell as zero, and not as empty or blank. Therefore,any cells that are blank are evaluated as zero in the function.
MORE INFORMATION
If you are checking a cell for a zero value and the cell is blank, thetest evaluates to true. For example, if you have the following formula incell A1:
   =IF(B1=0,"zero","blank")				
and B1 is blank, the formula returns "zero" and not "blank" as expected.

If the range might contain a blank cell, you should use the ISBLANKfunction to test for a zero value, as in the following example:
   =IF(ISBLANK(B2),"blank",IF(B2=0,"zero","other"))				
Note that the above formula returns "zero" if there is a zero value in thecell, "blank" if the cell is blank, and "other" if anything else in thecell.

You must always use the ISBLANK formula first before you test for a zerovalue, otherwise you will always return a "true" for the zero value, andnever get to the test for the ISBLANK formula.
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Article ID: 149577 - Last Review: 08/15/2003 18:06:33 - Revision: 1.1

  • Microsoft Excel 5.0c
  • Microsoft Excel 5.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Excel 4.0c
  • Microsoft Excel 4.0a
  • Microsoft Excel 4.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Excel 5.0a for Macintosh
  • Microsoft Excel 5.0 for Macintosh
  • Microsoft Excel 4.0 for Macintosh
  • kbinfo KB149577
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