Don't Allow Empty Cells

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 21, 2014)

2

Merle is trying to use the Data Validation feature of Excel to limit what a user can choose in a cell. When the user activates a cell he only wants an answer of Yes, No, or N/A; he does not want the user to be able to get out of the cell and leave it blank (empty). Merle has set up a list for the acceptable values (Yes, No, and N/A) and has unchecked the Ignore Blanks check box when setting up the Data Validation.

The problem is that when someone activates the cell, it is possible for them to still leave it empty. The only time that Excel won't allow the person to leave the cell blank is if they start to edit the cell and try to leave it blank after the edit. Merle wants, once the cell is selected, for the user to absolutely only be able to leave the cell if they choose Yes, No, or N/A.

Data Validation, by itself, can't take care of this. There are a couple of ways that you can work around the problem, however. The first idea is to modify the options that you give the user. For instance, let's say that you add a fourth choice of "Provide Answer." You could then change the value in the cell to the same value and save your workbook. When the user opens it, the cell contains "Provide Answer" and, once they select the cell, they won't be able to blank it out; they will need to provide an answer.

Another option is to use a macro in conjunction with the Data Validation you have set up. The easiest method is to set up an event handler for each time the selection changes in the worksheet. The following example kicks into play if the cell selection is C22 (which is where your Data Validation should be, as well).

Private Sub Worksheet_SelectionChange(ByVal Target As Range)
    Dim rng As Range
    Set rng = Range("C22")
    If Application.Intersect(Target, rng) Is Nothing Then
        MsgBox "You must select the answer from the list"
    End If
End Sub

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8767) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Referring to the Last Cell

It is not unusual to use worksheets to collect information over time. As you keep adding information to the worksheet, you ...

Discover More

Multi-Page Print Preview

Many users rely on Print Preview to show them what their printout will look like. When using Print Preview, you aren't ...

Discover More

Understanding the Notification Area

The Notification Area is located at the right side of the taskbar. It represents an active area of information for ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Using Data Validation

Want to control what users put into a cell? It's easy to do using a feature called data validation, as described in this tip.

Discover More

Setting Data Validation Input Messages

When using data validation, you might want to have Excel display a message when someone starts to enter information into a ...

Discover More

Ensuring Unique Values in a Column

If you want to make sure that only unique values are entered in a particular column, you can use the data validation ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 1 + 3?

2015-09-11 08:40:52

Gerald

Hello,

I'm trying to use this macro but I am having a problem I cannot solve. The message displayed appears all the time even though I picked a value from my drop down list.Can anyone please help me out?

Thank you.


2014-08-27 04:00:26

Naeemuddij

Thanks Merle for the informative write-up.

My objective is little bit different than the one you explained above.

I want the cells not to have null values without any data validation. in other words, i want to force the users to fill something in each cells they visit / row they are working on and don't leave anything blank.

If you can provide your guidance on this issue, that will be great.


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.