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Is there any way I can check whether a cell is empty?

There is a function ISBLANK() but it returns false when there's a formula in a cell even thought the formula doesn't return anything (or an empty string). I would like it to return true when the formula doesn't return anything as well. So the cell seems to be empty without any value.

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migrated from superuser.com Jul 1 '11 at 16:51

This question came from our site for computer enthusiasts and power users.

up vote 37 down vote accepted

You can check whether a cell is empty or not by using the following formula:

=if(C2="";"The cell is empty";"The cell is not empty")
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Thanks. This one is simpler than mine. It was obviously too trivial for me to think of it. :) – Robert Koritnik Dec 1 '09 at 13:35
=C2="" is simpler. – pnuts Jan 12 '15 at 22:23

I can use function

=IF(COUNTBLANK(cell:cell)=1;"Blank cell";"Not blank")

that will be one only of the cell is empty.

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I've searched the internet (Google, search tools, custom range) for references of the ISBLANK function pre-dating the OP's question. The ISBLANK function already existed during the time of asking: ISBLANK reference before 01/12/2009

Therefore this function will suffice:

=IF(ISBLANK(A2)=TRUE;"Blank cell";"Not blank")

There is however one thing to take in consideration:

  • Deleted text, formatted as plain text, isn't empty
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Adding some more explanation as to why this answers the question would help. – ChrisF Feb 10 '13 at 23:47
I've already described the problem with isblank() function in my question. It only returns true when cell is actually empty (not having a formula in it either). What I was looking for no content cells if that makes it more clear to you. – Robert Koritnik Feb 12 '13 at 7:42
If you add IFERROR(1/0) it will return TRUE. – Jacob Jan Tuinstra Feb 12 '13 at 7:49
@RobertKoritnik Forgot to mention you. – Jacob Jan Tuinstra Feb 12 '13 at 8:49
@JacobJanTuinstra: Include it where? Division by 0 is always error. – Robert Koritnik Feb 13 '13 at 8:01

You can wrap the ISBLANK() with a NOT() it basically switches what ever is in it to the opposite of its original result.


Its checking if A2 is not empty. If it has something in A2 it will give a True result.

NOT - Docs editors Help

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How does that help anything? The OP was asking how to determine if a cell is blank which was defined as empty or containing an empty string. – Adrian Jun 20 '15 at 16:40
This is the best answer. It's simple and to the point. The OP asked how to CHECK and this does exactly that! – BBking Dec 3 '15 at 22:23

I found the function LEN(A1) to be very useful and robust. It also works for cells that contained text that has been deleted. It returns the length of a cell's content and if it returns 0, the cell is empty.

  • IF(NOT(LEN(A1))) or IF(LEN(A1)=0) to check for empty cells
  • IF(LEN(A1)) or IF(LEN(A1)<>0) to check for non-empty cells

I prefer the fist variant because it's easier to read. The number 0 evaluates to FALSE in a boolean check, any positive number evaluates to TRUE.

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