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IF(ISBLANK(A1),...) vs IF(A1="",...)

I'm getting different results for these

say E1 contains a formula: =IF(D1="","","Leave blank")
If the user enters a value in D1, E1 should display "Leave blank", otherwise E1 should be empty/blank, as well

Farther out, R1 contains a formula: =IF(ISBLANK(E1),"b","v")  
(I'm using this scheme with COUNTIF() on about 10 cells on the same row, to see how many cells are blank, or have valid entries)

So, when I enter nothing in D1, and E1 is blank:
If R1 contains the formula: =IF(ISBLANK(E1),"b","v") , R1 displays "v", even though E1 looks to be blank
If R1 contains the formula: =IF(E1="","b","v")  R1 displays a "b", like it should

What am I doing wrong? Is blank not the same as empty? Does the formula itself count as "not blank"?

1 Solution
Not sure this will help, but ISBLANK() is not the same as ="". ISBLANK() will only be TRUE if the field is truly blank, i.e. no formulas either. "" means there are no characters in the field, but if there were a formula there, it wouldn't matter.

Does that make sense?
mlagrangeAuthor Commented:
Unfortunately, yes. I'm an Access guy, and I still can't explain the difference between blank, zero-length string, and null...


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