Give us a proper NULL() worksheet function.
This would make calculations and charts treat a cell containing a formula as a blank cell, not as a cell with a text string ("") or as a zero.
Great suggestion – thanks again for taking the time to put it on this site and for the thoughtful followup comments. This is pretty related to some other work we’ve got going and already has a fair number of votes, so we’ll work on getting plans in place now and hope to get started on this soon.
John [MS XL]
I want a proper NULL() so that if I have a formula in cell B2, text from A2 will spill into B2 instead of being cut off. I need this for a technique where sheet A does calculations and Sheet B refers to Sheet A with formatting and conditional display of data, but blank cells don't behave properly, hence the need for NULL()
B B commented
An application I have for programmed "NULL" is plotting. When there is nothing to be plotted from a cell, I don't want the plot to show a zero value. I just want NOTHING plotted. I am hoping by use of a simple IF phrase I can enter the to-be-created "NULL" and that the plot routine will according not attempt to show ANYTHING for affected cells ( as if they'd not been selected ). Here's wishing.
The lack of this function is giving me a headache. I am pasting the output of an excel where formula fills cell as blank with "" in a new excel with the value only option, but now my formula in this new sheet doesnt see it as a true blank which causes my formula to give a false positive (i am checking if the cel is not empty to check if this cell contains a number higher the 999 which now returns true on this "empty" cell. No waty to work around this.
V C commented
Just want to add yet another comment to this to make sure this is still marked as a function that needs creating!
Please, Microsoft people, sort out this mess. Fancy functions are all very well but this is an important basic function and its absence makes life really problematic in the real word - the part outside of Microsoftworld where this sort of problem clearly does not arise. Please define clearly the terms Blank, Empty and Null and provide a "NULL()" function.
Amir Melamed commented
Its true, see attached file.
it contains cells with "" that are NOT EMPTY.
Please provide a way to CLEAR these cells.
see attached file
Hey guys, take heart. Even though they've had 3½ years to have a change of their own hearts, they still consider it PLANNED... no downgrade!
What's the gift type for four year anniversaries again?
There is an issue inherent in Excel, where the line is blurred between the definitions of the words EMPTY, BLANK, and NULL. So as to be clear in this matter, I will make the words BLANK and NULL synonymous, both meaning TRULY BLANK, and EMPTY will mean empty string, such as ""
We all know that an empty string, being "", is NOT equivalent to a TRUE BLANK OR NULL CELL as per the ISBLANK() function. When a formula in lets say cell E3 returns an empty string as a value, based on a condition, for example in an IF() function, then, when cell E3 is Copied and then Pasted_Special_Values_Only into lets say cell E7, then cell E7 will NOT be truly blank, and Excel will consider cell E7 as containing a value, which in this case is an empty string. However, there is still confusion within Excel programming, since the COUNTBLANK() function does count empty strings "" as a blank cell, it is therefore counting TRUE BLANK CELLS AND an empty strings as blank in its count.
In other words, Excel treats a cell containing an empty string as blank in the COUNTBLANK() function, but does not treat it as a TRUE blank cell for everything else. Like when browsing through scattered visible values in the column of a long list using CTRL-DOWN/UP ARROW KEYS. When doing that, it will ignore the cells in that column containing actual visible text, we will call them visibly valued cells, as it will simply go strait from top row to bottom row when toggling between CTRL-UP and DOWN. If the cells in that column found between visibly valued cells were actually TRULY blank, then toggling between CTRL-UP and DOWN would go to previous visibly valued cell and then to the next and back and forth so on, as per designed.
Now, by design, is it intended for Excel to treat empty strings as different than truly blank cells? I think it is, and it should treat empty strings as different than truly blank cells, but that also means that they should either change the name of the COUNTBLANK() function to either something like COUNTBLANKANDEMPTY(), or dichotomise the function into two separate functions, something like COUNTBLANK() for TRULY BLANK cells, and COUNTEMPTY() for cells containing empty string as value. Or even better, have all three functions available, so COUNTBLANK() for truly blank cells, COUNTEMPTY() for empty string cells, AND COUNTBLANKANDEMPTY() for counting both types of cells.
Are there any workarounds for this? Answer is YES, and I shall provide examples.
E2=IF(C2=2, "Cell C2 equals 2", "NULL")
Now if you use that kind of formula dynamically in a column to downfill a long list, like nested within a VLOOKUP() formula for instance, then you will see that column filled with the actual word NULL as text value mixed in with some scattered true data values. This way, it will be easy to convert the cells containing the word NULL as text by applying a FILTER to that column, selecting to view only the cells containing the word NULL as text, and then easily selecting all the cells containing the word NULL as text, and then hitting the DELETE key, rendering them TRULY BLANK. I use the word NULL as a personal preference, but one can just use any word they want, like TOEMPTY or whatever.
Is a NULL() or TRUEBLANK() function truly necessary? I say it couldn’t hurt to have it, BUT, the REAL issue is within the PASTE_SPECIAL_VALUES_ONLY functionality. A checkbox option named like “Copy empty string values as blank cells” should be added. There is a Skip blank option, but that does not work.
Russell Richter commented
I have a formula that evaluates to TRUE/FALSE/null in Excel. That Excel file is linked to Power BI. Power BI reads that field as Boolean, and converts all the nulls to FALSE, which is not correct. Nulls in a Boolean field are neither TRUE nor FALSE. So, the more we feed other systems with Excel files, the more we need a NULL value.
Jaime Segura commented
Have you noticed that COUNTBLANK and ISBLANK react different with cells containing ="" ?
Ed Hansberry commented
PowerApps has a BLANK() function as well. It would seem to make sense to add this to Excel for consistency, and perhaps a NULL() in both, though in PowerApps, it treats null and blank as the same.
Yep, can an Admin merge this suggestion with https://excel.uservoice.com/forums/304921-excel-for-windows-desktop-application/suggestions/17265644-null-worksheet-function ? Please
Chibi Beru commented
Please merge this request with the "NULL worksheet function" one. This would raise its votes number
How can this NOT exist? Excel has been around for 82913487293847 years, and it is amazing that I am still having this problem! An XY Chart treats a "" cell as zero not NULL. Null is the functionality I am looking for and need (simply by deleting the contents of the cell). Ugh...
I just spent hours fighting with this exact problem. I just need a way to make a cell return NULL so when I copy a range of cells (some with values, some without), those pseudo-blank cells don't break my DATEDIF formula referencing those cells when I paste as values.
So something like creating some sort of null function like this: =IF(ISBLANK(D2),NULL(),"F")
I'm in the same boat as David Johnson - I want to be able to put a formula in a cell that, when it comes back with a NULL result, will not block text from an adjacent cell.
And for Excel for Mac OS, please!
It's been three years - where is our function?
@Roy, Hilarious :) I don't deny a general NULL() function would be useful. Adding linus minus' suggestion to the list i compiled on the other user voice on this topic, applications include:
- Functions (ISBLANK, COUNTA, ...)
- Objects ( Charts, Sparklines, PivotTables)
- Actions (Sorting, Filtering, ...)
- Connectivity (Access, SQL Server, ...)
- Formatting (Text overrunning cells)
- Selections (Ctrl+Arrow keys, Goto Special or Current Region)
But it seems MSFT have gone down a one way street that requires context specific workarounds as has been done for charts and sparklines.
If you really want to be able to produce a general null result from a formula use google sheets instead who by many accounts made the wiser design decision in this respect.
Especially to Lori, but in general:
The USE CASE is needing a cell without data to BE a cell without data to EVERYTHING.
Until that is the case, nothing has been solved.
And if you want to use the result of "nothing" as valuable data to what you've written, then don't add the NULL() wrap.
Or... with luck, the null would be a complete, true, default in all cases blank and you would set your flag to have it be non-blank... sigh... no, that last would break tens of millions of in use spreadsheets. But the rest of us deserve this and future spreadsheets could use it instead of old workarounds thereby spreading world peace and allowing all children to go to bed by 9:30pm so the beauty contestant queens could finally be happy and choose other answers. This would benefit the world!