Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In Excel, the ISBLANK function seems to effectively behave the same as a comparator of ="". However, the former requires more than double the amount of characters that the latter does.

Is there any useful difference between ISBLANK and =""? Are there any situations where it would be particularly preferable to use one over the other?

share|improve this question

If a formula is in the cell, but there is no text there, then ="" will return true, and =ISBLANK will be false.

To see this, do =CONCATENATE(B1,B2) (where those cells are blank) and test both of those formulas one the cell where you put concatenate.

More simply put (thanks to @Malachi) ISBLANK will tell you if the cell is empty, and ="" will tell you if the display text is empty (note that white-space and invisible characters both count as displayed text).

share|improve this answer
so you are saying that ISBLANK says whether or not the Cell is Blank, and ="" says whether the Display Text is empty – Malachi Oct 19 '12 at 13:49
@Malachi that is a much cleaner way of saying it. Mind if I add that to my answer? – soandos Oct 19 '12 at 13:54
i don't mind at all, go ahead :) – Malachi Oct 19 '12 at 13:56
+1, Interestingly COUNTBLANK doesn't differentiate, it counts both true blanks and cells containing "" – barry houdini Oct 19 '12 at 20:37

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.