For Google Sheets, I've seen people use both =COUNTIF(range,"<>"&"") as well as =COUNTIF(range,"<>") to count the number of non-empty cells in a range.

Is there any difference, benefit, or concern, using one approach over the other?

  • 1
    please edit your question and provide a clear example of the formula you are using. Feb 28 at 15:48

1 Answer 1



No difference. &"" is redundant.

A.  They are equivalent

The formulas ="<>"&"" and ="<>" both return <>.

This is necessarily so because any text string, whether "<>" or "webAppsRocks", is equivalent to the result of joining nothing else to it.

B.  The reason to use "<>"&"" instead of "<>"

  1. I don't know a good reason to include &"" in any of the following:
  2. Including "" may reflect a lack of experience on the part of users possibly combined with a spillover effect from Microsoft Excel. Even though &"" is redundant in Excel as well, users habitually include empty strings "" in formulas to avoid returning zero values. For example:
    # Excel Formula Examples
    =IF(TRUE,) =IF(TRUE,"",) =0 =[ empty_string ]
    =IFERROR(1/0,) =IFERROR(1/0,"") =0 =[
    empty_string ]

C.  Why use COUNTIF?

If your goal is to count the number of values in a range or array, COUNTA is designed specifically to do that.

=COUNTA(range)   vs.  =COUNTIF(range,"<>")

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