To return a blank result using the IF function, you can use an empty string (""). In the example shown, the formula in D5 (copied down) is:


Generic formula



This formula is based on the IF function, configured with a simple logical test, a value to return when the test is TRUE, and a value to return when the test is FALSE. In plain English: if Value 1 equals 1, return Value 2. If Value 1 is not 1, return an empty string ("").

Note if you type "" directly into a cell in Excel, you'll see the double quote characters. However, when you enter as a formula like this:


You won't see anything, the cell will look blank.

Also, if you are new to Excel, note numeric values are not entered in quotes. In other words:

=IF(A1=1,B1,"") // right
=IF(A1="1",B1,"") // wrong

Wrapping a number in quotes ("1") causes Excel to interpret the value as text, which will cause logical tests to fail.

Checking for blank cells

If you need check the result of a formula like this, be aware that the ISBLANK function will return FALSE when checking a formula that returns "" as a final result. There are other options however. If A1 contains "" returned by a formula, then:

=ISBLANK(A1) // returns FALSE
=COUNTBLANK(A1) // returns 1
=COUNTBLANK(A1)>0 // returns TRUE
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Dave Bruns

Hi - I'm Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.