 # IF FALSE THEN BLANK

=IF(F2="x",INDEX(M12:M14,RANDBETWEEN(1,ROWS(M12:M14)),1))

If F2 is X, then this cell will select the contents of a random cell between M12 - M14.

If X is not there, it displays FALSE.

How do I get rid of FALSE and just leave it blank?

I have tried adding ,"" at the end and it does not work.

5 Replies

# Re: IF FALSE THEN BLANK

@jamesvinicombe  wrote:  ``I have tried adding ,"" at the end and it does not work.``

Perhaps if you showed us what you typed (copy-and-paste from the Formula Bar), we could explain what you did wrong.

The following should work (copy-and-paste):

=IF(F2="x",INDEX(M12:M14,RANDBETWEEN(1,ROWS(M12:M14)),1) , "" )

(Works for me.)

# Re: IF FALSE THEN BLANK

Youre a star! It worked, I was missing a space after the apostrophies at the end!

Now I have an issue whereby the formula below does not work...

=IF(M11="3","x","")

M11 is a cell with a SUM in it.

And the cell that I put the formula in is blank at the moment, any ideas what to do?

# Re: IF FALSE THEN BLANK

@jamesvinicombe  wrote:  ``It worked, I was missing a space after the apostrophies at the end!``

Those are double-quotes.  And the spaces should not matter.  I typed it that way just to improve readability.  Please try again, copy-and-pasting the following:

=IF(F2="x",INDEX(M12:M14,RANDBETWEEN(1,ROWS(M12:M14)),1),"")

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@jamesvinicombe  wrote:  ``=IF(M11="3","x","")``

PS....  On second thought, maybe I misunderstood your first comment above re ``I was missing a space``.  Obviously, you do not have (unnecessary) spaces in your M11=3 formula.  So you "must" understand that they are optional.

# Re: IF FALSE THEN BLANK

This does not strictly answer his question (though he seems happy enough). I was intrigued by the question because after years of programming Excel, I don't know the answer myself. Your "" does not satisfy ISBLANK. It just appears blank to the human reader.

# Re: IF FALSE THEN BLANK

@ecovonrein  wrote:  ``Your "" does not satisfy ISBLANK. It just appears blank``

Right, and nothing can.  (See below.)

But @jamesvinicombe  did not specifically ask for that. On the contrary, he wrote: ``I have tried adding ,"" [...] and it does not work``.  So I believe I correctly interpreted his question to be:  how can we return "" (the null string)?  And as you say, he seems satisfied with my interpretation.

As to your question....  The problem is:  ISBLANK is a misnomer. It should be ISEMPTY.  That is, in Excel, ISBLANK returns true only if there is no value (constant or formula result) in the cell -- which is the Excel definition of an empty cell.

And that is what the IS functions help page says about ISBLANK, to wit:  ``Value refers to an empty cell.``

(Sadly, MSFT misuses the word "value" to mean either parameter or cell reference.)

But your confusion is understandable.  Excel is imprecise and ambiguous in its use of the terms "empty" and "blank".  For example, in the COUNTBLANK help page, the one-line description is ``count the number of empty cells in a range``.  But a later remark in the help page states ``Cells with formulas that return "" [...] are also counted``.

(And once again, MSFT's choice of words is imprecise.  COUNTBLANK counts any value that is the null string, whether it is a formula result or a constant.  One way to create a constant null string is:  enter the formula ="", then copy-and-paste-value back into the same cell.)

The bottom line is:

1. Use ISBLANK when you want to determine if a cell appears blank because it has no value.

2. Use A1="" when you want to determine if a cell appears blank because it has no value or its value is the null string.

3. Use AND(A1="",ISBLANK(A1)=FALSE) if you want to determine if a cell appears blank only because its value is the null string.  (Very unusual, IMHO,)

And of course, use the null string "", not a string of spaces like " ", when you want a result that appears blank, because it is easier to use test #2 above, which is usually the intended condition,  IMHO.

And as noted above, beware that a cell that appears to be empty because it has no formula might actually contain a constant null string.  That can explain why A1+1 results in #VALUE, even though a (truly) empty cell is interpreted as zero in that context.

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Finally, IIRC, Google Sheets has a function that returns a truly "empty cell" result -- a contradiction of terms, IMHO.  Thus, ISBLANK returns TRUE for that cell.  If not Google Sheets, then perhaps Open Office.  I don't recall, and I'm not taking the time double-check.

Also, I am not familiar with Office 365 Excel and all of its oh-so-many iterations and "beta" features.  Perhaps a more-current version of Excel does or will have a similar function.  I don't know.