Software & Apps MS Office Guide to Excel's ISBLANK Function Find out if cells are blank with the ISBLANK function by Ted French Writer Former Lifewire writer Ted French is a Microsoft Certified Professional who teaches and writes about spreadsheets and spreadsheet programs. our editorial process Ted French Updated on March 20, 2019 MS Office Excel Word Powerpoint Outlook Tweet Share Email The ISBLANK function is one of Excel’s IS functions or “Information Functions” that can be used to find out information about a specific cell in a worksheet or workbook. As the name suggests, the ISBLANK function will check to see if a cell does or does not contain data. Like all of the information functions, ISBLANK will only ever return an answer of TRUE or FALSE: If the cell is empty, ISBLANK returns a value of TRUE — row two in the image aboveIf the cell is not empty, the function returns the value of FALSE — rows three to 10 above. Normally, if data is later added to an empty cell the function will automatically update and return a FALSE value. The ISBLANK Function Syntax and Arguments A function's syntax refers to the layout of the function and includes the function's name, brackets, and arguments. The syntax for the ISBLANK function is: = ISBLANK ( Value ) Value — (required) usually refers to the cell reference or named range (row five above) of the cell being tested. Data in a cell that will cause the function to return a value of TRUE includes: numbers — row threetext strings — rows four and fiveBoolean or logical values — row sixerror values — row sevennon-printing characters — row eightregular spaces — row ninenon-breaking spaces — row 10 Example Using Excel's ISBLANK Function: This example covers the steps used to enter the ISBLANK function into cell B2 in the image above. Options for entering the ISBLANK function include manually typing in the entire function =ISBLANK(A2), or using the function's dialog box — as outlined below. Entering the ISBLANK Function Click on cell B2 to make it the active cellClick on the Formulas tab of the ribbonChoose More Functions > Information to open the function drop-down listClick on ISBLANK in the list to bring up that function's dialog boxClick on cell A2 in the worksheet to enter the cell reference into the dialog boxClick OK to complete the function and close the dialog boxThe value TRUE should appear in cell B2 since cell A2 is emptyWhen you click on cell B2 the complete function = ISBLANK (A2) appears in the formula bar above the worksheet Invisible Characters and ISBLANK In the image above, the ISBLANK functions in cells B9 and B10 return a FALSE value even though cells A9 and A10 appear to be empty. FALSE is returned because cells A9 and A10 contain characters that are invisible: row nine contains regular space characters (entered using the spacebar on the keyboard)row 10 contains non-breaking spaces Non-breaking spaces are one of a number of control characters commonly used in web pages and these characters sometimes end up in a worksheet along with data copied from the web page. Removing Invisible Characters Removing both regular and non-breaking space characters can usually be accomplished using the Delete key on the keyboard. However, if a cell contains good data as well as non-breaking spaces, it is possible to strip the non-breaking spaces from the data.