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A to Z of Excel Functions: the ISBLANK Function

26 April 2021

Welcome back to our regular A to Z of Excel Functions blog.  Today we look at the ISBLANK function.

 

The ISBLANK function

At the time of writing, there are 12 IS functions, i.e. functions that give rise to a TRUE or FALSE value depending upon whether a certain condition is met:

  1. ISBLANK(reference): checks whether the reference is to an empty cell
  2. ISERR(value): checks whether the value is an error (e.g. #REF!, #DIV/0!, #NULL!).  This check specifically excludes #N/A
  3. ISERROR(value): checks whether the value is an error (e.g. #REF!, #DIV/0!, #NULL!).  This is probably the most commonly used of these functions in financial modelling
  4. ISEVEN(number): checks to see if the number is even
  5. ISFORMULA(reference): checks to see whether the reference is to a cell containing a formula
  6. ISLOGICAL(value): checks to see whether the value is a logical (TRUE or FALSE) value
  7. ISNA(value): checks to see whether the value is #N/A.  This gives us the rather crude identity ISERR + ISNA = ISERROR
  8. ISNONTEXT(value):  checks whether the value is not text (N.B. blank cells are not text)
  9. ISNUMBER(value): checks whether the value is a number
  10. ISODD(number): checks to see if the number is odd.  Personally, I find the number 46 very odd, but Excel doesn’t
  11. ISREF(value): checks whether the value is a reference
  12. ISTEXT(value): checks whether the value is text.

As stated above, the ISBLANK function checks whether the reference is to an empty cell and returns either TRUE or FALSE accordingly.  It has the following syntax:

ISVALUE(reference)


The ISBLANK function has the following argument:

  • reference: this is required and represents the reference for which you wish to determine whether it is completely empty (blank).

It should be further noted that:

  • cells with formulas that return "" (empty text) are not counted.  This is different behaviour to the ISBLANK function which deem empty text to be blank, i.e. COUNTA(range) + COUNTBLANK(range) does not necessarily equal the number of cells in the range, which many modellers assume to be an identity
  • cells with spaces, zeroes or error values are not considered blank.

Please see my example below: 

We’ll continue our A to Z of Excel Functions soon.  Keep checking back – there’s a new blog post every business day.

A full page of the function articles can be found here

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