How to Check if a Cell is Not Empty in Google Sheets

If you need to check whether one cell in Google Sheets is empty or not, you can do it manually. In fact, that’s probably the quickest way. However, if you’re dealing with multiple cells, it soon becomes a tedious and repetitive task. Don’t worry, though. There’s a way to let Google Sheets figure it out for you.

The option that checks whether the cell is empty is called ISBLANK, and we’ll show you how to use it.

What Is ISBLANK?

If you’ve used Excel a lot, you’re probably familiar with this function. There are some minor differences, but it’s used for the same thing.

ISBLANK is a function developed to tell you whether a value occupies a cell. We use the term “value” to avoid misunderstanding. Value can be anything from numbers, text, formulas, or even a formula error. If any of the above occupies the cell, ISBLANK will show you the FALSE sign.

Don’t let these terms confuse you. It’s as if you were asking Google Sheets: “Is this cell blank, empty?” If the answer is negative, it’ll say False. On the other hand, if the cell is empty, it’ll confirm by showing the TRUE sign.

google sheets check if cell is not empty

How to Use It?

Let’s get to the practical part and see what you can do with this function. In short, how to write your own functions in Google Sheets. Don’t worry, as you don’t have to be an IT professional to do so. We’ll guide you through the process:

  1. Open your spreadsheet.

  2. Click on any cell to activate it (make sure it’s not the cell that you’re checking whether it’s empty).

  3. Insert the equality sign “=” and then write “ISBLANK” in that cell.

  4. This should activate the dialog box with the functions. Open the list and select the ISBLANK function.

  5. Now, enter the number of the cell you want to check. We entered A2, for example.

  6. Press Enter.
  7. You should now see the output.

If A2 is empty, you’ll see the TRUE sign. If it’s not empty, you’ll see the FALSE sign. It’s that simple!

If you want to check whether this function is really working, you can either write something in A2 or delete its content. After that, try to do this again and see whether the output has changed. That said, there’s no real need to doubt this function. If you do everything correctly, it’ll be 100% accurate.

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Check Multiple Cells

The best thing about this function is that you can use it to check whether multiple cells are empty or not. There’s no limit to the number of cells you can check at the same time. Just imagine how much time this option will save you!

Repeat the process outlined above to activate the ISBLANK function. Then, instead of typing the name of a single cell, type the range of cells. If you want to check whether the cells from A1 to C10 are empty, you have to write this formula: A1:C10. That’s all!

Bear in mind that this option will give you a result for the whole range of cells. Even though all cells except one are empty, it still doesn’t mean that the entire range is blank. Therefore, the result would be FALSE, even though only one cell is occupied. For more accuracy, you’ll have to check cells one by one.

I Got the False Sign Even Though the Cell Seems Empty

This is one of the most common issues with the ISBLANK function. However, the main question you should ask yourself is: Is the cell really empty, or does it just appear empty? Let us explain.

The cell may be occupied by a simple white space you’ve accidentally entered. Obviously, you can’t see it as there’s nothing to see, but it’s still there. Another possibility may be that hidden characters or hidden formulas occupy the cell.

If this is bothering you, the quickest solution is to click on that cell and clear its content. After doing so, we’re pretty sure you’ll get the correct result.

Additional Options

To get the most out of this option, you can use it in combination with IF functions. You can make Google Sheets do a certain task only if the cell is empty. The most common situation is when you want to fill blank cells with text. Let’s say you want to write “Missing Information” in all empty cells.

You’re going to program Google Sheets the following way: if the ISBLANK function returns TRUE, output the text “Missing Information”. This option saves you tons of time, as it’d be almost impossible to do it manually if you have a lot of cells.

Can I Use ISBLANK on My Phone?

The best thing about Google Sheets is that you can do almost everything on your phone as well. However, you probably won’t be able to use ISBLANK on your mobile web browser. Therefore, you have to download the Google Sheets app, which is available both for iOS and Android devices. The process is similar to the one we already described.

The only downside of using this option on your phone is that you may not be able to see everything clearly. If you’re dealing with important data, we suggest you always opt for a desktop version as it gives you more clarity.

Experiment

We’ve shown you some of the essential functions that are suitable for beginners. However, Google Sheets allows you to do so much more, and we hope you won’t stop here. Experiment with other functions that can make your work easier. If you’re familiar with Excel functions, it should be easy for you.

If you aren’t that great at Excel, you may find Google Sheets more accessible and user-friendly. Do you use any other program for managing spreadsheets? Let us know in the comments section below.

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