Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Checking for a Value in a Cell.

Checking for a Value in a Cell

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 15, 2022)

1

If you need to base a calculation on whether a cell has a number in it or not, you can use the ISNUMBER worksheet function. This function returns True if the target cell contains a numeric value or False if it contains anything else. For instance, if you want to do a calculation based on whether cell A3 contains a number, you could use the following:

=IF(ISNUMBER(A3),(A3*12)/52,"Enter number in cell A3")

This example results in the cell containing the result of (A3 * 12) / 52, but only if A3 contains a number. If it does not (for instance, it is blank or contains text), then the result contains the text "Enter number in cell A3."

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2113) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Checking for a Value in a Cell.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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What is four less than 6?

2019-09-17 20:20:01

Jay Bingham

This is good advice as far as it goes, however, suppose that you have a formula that can produce either a number or a blank cell and you have a formula in a second cell that references the first cell but it will produce an error if the formula in the first cell does not produce a number. Neither the ISNUMBER nor the ISBLANK function are of any use in this case, because contents of the first cell is neither a number or a blank.
I have found that the MAX and the MIN functions can be used to determine if the referenced cell actually contains a number.
For example if cell C4 contains this formula =IF(SUM(D24:D34),SUM(D24:D34),"") and in another cell, lets say C22, you want to determine if cell C4 resolves to a number rather than a blank so that the formula in C22 will not produce an error if C4 resolves to a blank then the formula in C22 can use the MAX function to make that determination, e.g. =IF(AND(MAX(C4)>0,C13>0),C4/C13,"").
There may be other ways to determine this but I stopped looking when I found that MAX and MIN would do the trick.


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