Handling of Empty Cells

In older versions of the software, empty cells were forced to numeric 0 in some contexts and to empty string in others, except in direct comparison where =A1=0 and =A1="" both resulted in TRUE if A1 was empty. Emptiness now is inherited until used, so both =VLOOKUP(...)=0 and =VLOOKUP(...)="" give TRUE if the lookup resulted in an empty cell being returned.

A simple reference to an empty cell is still displayed as numeric 0 but is not necessarily of type numeric anymore, so also comparisons with the referencing cell work as expected.

For the following examples, A1 contains a number, B1 is empty, C1 contains the reference to B1:

Case

Formula

Results and comments

A1: 1
B1:

C1: =B1

Displays 0

=B1=0

TRUE

=B1=""

TRUE

=C1=0

TRUE

=C1=""

TRUE (previously was FALSE)

=ISNUMBER(B1)

FALSE

=ISNUMBER(C1)

FALSE (previously was TRUE)

=ISNUMBER(VLOOKUP(1;A1:C1;2))

FALSE (B1)

=ISNUMBER(VLOOKUP(1;A1:C1;3))

FALSE (C1, previously was TRUE)

=ISTEXT(B1)

FALSE

=ISTEXT(C1)

TRUE

=ISTEXT(VLOOKUP(1;A1:C1;2))

FALSE (B1, previously was TRUE)

=ISTEXT(VLOOKUP(1;A1:C1;3))

FALSE (C1)

=ISBLANK(B1)

TRUE

=ISBLANK(C1)

TRUE

=ISBLANK(VLOOKUP(1;A1:C1;2))

TRUE (B1, previously was FALSE)

=ISBLANK(VLOOKUP(1;A1:C1;3))

FALSE (C1)


Note Icon

Note that Microsoft Excel behaves different and always returns a number as the result of a reference to an empty cell or a formula cell with the result of an empty cell. For example:


Case

Formula

Results and comments

A1:

B1: =A1

Displays 0, but is just a reference to an empty cell.

=ISNUMBER(A1)

FALSE

=ISTEXT(A1)

FALSE

=A1=0

TRUE

=A1=""

TRUE

=ISNUMBER(B1)

FALSE (Microsoft Excel: TRUE)

=ISTEXT(B1)

FALSE

=B1=0

TRUE

=B1=""

TRUE (Microsoft Excel: FALSE)

C1: =VLOOKUP(...) with empty cell result

displays empty (Microsoft Excel: displays 0)

=ISNUMBER(VLOOKUP(...))

FALSE

=ISTEXT(VLOOKUP(...))

FALSE

=ISNUMBER(C1)

FALSE (Microsoft Excel: TRUE)

=ISTEXT(C1)

FALSE


Please support us!