## Explanation

The goal is to return the first non-blank value in each row from columns B:E, moving left to right. One way to solve this problem is with a series of nested IF statements. Since all cells are contiguous (connected) another way to get the first value is with the XLOOKUP function. Both approaches are explained below.

### Nested IF solution

In the worksheet shown, the formula in cell G5 is:

`=IF(B5<>"",B5,IF(C5<>"",C5,IF(D5<>"",D5,IF(E5<>"",E5,"no value"))))`

In Excel, empty double quotes ("") mean an empty string. The <> symbol is a logical operator that means "not equal to", so the following expression means "A1 is not empty":

```
=B5<>"" // B5 is not empty
```

The overall structure of this formula is what is called a "nested IF formula". Each IF statement checks a cell to see if a particular cell is not empty. If a cell is *not empty*, the IF returns the value from that cell. If the cell *is empty*, the IF statement hands off processing to the following IF function. The flow of a nested IF is somewhat easier to understand if we add line breaks to the formula to separate each IF function like this:

```
=
IF(B5<>"",B5,
IF(C5<>"",C5,
IF(D5<>"",D5,
IF(E5<>"",E5,
"no value"))))
```

### With ISBLANK

It is also possible to use the ISBLANK function, which returns TRUE when a cell is blank:

```
=ISBLANK(A1) // A1 is blank
```

The behavior can be "reversed" by nesting the ISBLANK function inside the NOT function:

```
=NOT(ISBLANK(A1)) // A1 is not blank
```

The original formula above can be re-written to use ISBLANK as follows:

```
=IF(NOT(ISBLANK(B5)),B5,IF(NOT(ISBLANK(C5)),C5,IF(NOT(ISBLANK(D5)),D5,IF(NOT(ISBLANK(E5)),E5,"no value"))))
```

### XLOOKUP solution

Another way to solve this problem is with the XLOOKUP formula like this:

`=XLOOKUP(TRUE,ISNUMBER(B5:E5),B5:E5)`

We can use XLOOKUP in this case because the four cells in B5:E5 are together, so they can be provided as a single range. The ISNUMBER function checks the range and returns an array of TRUE and FALSE values like this:

`{TRUE,TRUE,TRUE,TRUE}`

XLOOKUP matches the first TRUE in the array and returns the corresponding value in B5:E5. Note that this approach only works because all the cells being checked are in a contiguous range. You can read more about XLOOKUP here.