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Possible Duplicate:
custom format for cells with nothing in them without using conditional formatting

I'd like Excel 2007 to display a certain text like "" as long as a cell is empty.

So if the user writes text in the cell, this written text shall be displayed, and if the user removes this text, so that the cell is empty, the above mentioned text should be displayed again automatically.

Is there a way to do that (without VBA)?

I tried with custom number formatting 0;0;"<please insert your comment here>";@, but I can only specify a text for value "0" (which is not the same as empty), but I did not see a way to define if text has been entered or not.

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marked as duplicate by CharlieRB, Indrek, Dave, BBlake, bwDraco Oct 2 '12 at 13:06

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

This looks very similar to…. – benshepherd Oct 2 '12 at 10:51
Thank you very much! The workaround with the column with width 1pt described here does the trick for me: – MostlyHarmless Oct 2 '12 at 12:10
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Excel won't do what you're asking, without VBA. Without VBA, Excel won't modify the contents of a cell (except for formula's that calculate), that's your job as the user. So, no automatic updating when you change a cell value.

But, a workaround is to use a helper column that shows the result you want, based upon a data column that you actually use to hold your values. Then simply use a formula to evaluate your data column and return your "" when blank, or the value when not blank.


The Display column formula is =IF(ISBLANK(A2),"""",A2).

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thanks for your reply. Your solution is not that practical in my case, but the workaround shown here with another kind of helper column (and without formula) works very well: – MostlyHarmless Oct 2 '12 at 13:04

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