troubleshooting Question

Excel formula which leaves a cell truly blank (empty)

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Steve_BradyFlag for United States of America asked on
Microsoft Excel
7 Comments4 Solutions2556 ViewsLast Modified:

When writing a formula in Excel (2010), how do you specify to leave a cell truly blank?

I am familiar with the double-quotation marks ("") used in Excel formula notation but although nothing is displayed, it is apparently not truly the same as a blank cell.

For example, suppose you've got a list of values (positive or negative) in column B and a formula in column C which returns the value in column B whenever it is positive—but for negative values in column B, it returns "". And then, suppose in column D, you insert a formula which displays a running balance for the entries in column C:

        B2:  any positive or negative number
        C2:  =IF(B2>0,B2,"")
        D2:  =D1+C2

In this case, the column D formula works fine as long as the values in column B are positive. But as soon as it encounters a negative value in column B (which results in an entry of "" in column C), it returns #VALUE!

I realize there are other ways to get around this problem (eg change "" to 0) in this simple example but the point of the question is to ask if there is an alternative to "" which behaves truly as a blank cell.


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