Count Blank or Empty Cells in Google Spreadsheets

How to Use Google Sheet's COUNTBLANK Function

Count Blank or Empty Cells with Google Spreadsheets COUNTBLANK Function
Ted French

Google Sheets, although not as fully powered as a desktop version of Microsoft Excel or LibreOffice Calc, nevertheless offers a significant array of functions intended to support data analysis. One of these functions— COUNTBLANK()—returns the number of cells in a selected range that have null values.

Google Spreadsheets supports several count functions that count the number of cells in a selected range that contain a specific type of data.

The job of the COUNTBLANK function is to calculate the number of cells in a selected range that are:

  • Empty: Cells containing no data
  • Blank: Cells containing a formula that returns a blank or null value

COUNTBLANK Function's Syntax and Arguments

A function's syntax refers to the layout of the function and includes the function's name, brackets, comma separators, and arguments.

The syntax for the COUNTBLANK function is:


Where range (a required argument) identifies one or more cells with or without data to be included in the count.

The range argument can contain:

The range argument must be a contiguous group of cells. Because COUNTBLANK does not permit multiple ranges to be entered for the range argument, several instances of the function can be entered in a single formula to find the number of blank or empty cells in two or more non-contiguous ranges.

Entering the COUNTBLANK Function

Google Spreadsheets does not use dialog boxes to enter a function's arguments as can be found in Excel. Instead, it has an auto-suggest box that pops up as the name of the function is typed into a cell.

  1. Click on cell C2 to make it the active cell.
  2. Type the equal sign ( = ) followed by the name of the function countblank—as you type, the auto-suggest box appears with the names and syntax of functions that begin with the letter C.
  3. When the name COUNTBLANK appears in the box, press the Enter key on the keyboard to enter the function name and open parenthesis (round bracket) into cell C5.
  4. Highlight cells A2 to A10 to include them as the function's range argument.
  5. Press the Enter key on the keyboard to add the closing parenthesis and to complete the function.
  6. The answer will appear in cell C2. 

COUNTBLANK Alternative Formulas

Instead of COUNTBLANK, you can also use COUNTIF or COUNTIFS.

The COUNTIF function finds the number of blank or empty cells in the range A2 to A10 and gives the same results as COUNTBLANK. The COUNTIFS function contains two arguments and only counts the number of instances where both conditions are met.

These formulas offer more flexibility in what blank or empty cells in a range gets counted.

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