Don't Allow Empty Cells

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 21, 2014)

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

Changing Text Orientation

Word allows you to change the orientation of text contained within certain objects, such as shapes, text boxes, and table ...

Discover More

Changing Compression Print Resolution

The resolution at which Word compresses graphics in a document may be bothersome. If it is, your options are very limited, ...

Discover More

Spell Checking Your Document

One of the final touches that many people perform is to check the spelling of their document. This can help improve the ...

Discover More

Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!

MORE EXCELTIPS (MENU)

Specifying a Data Validation Error Message

Data validation is a great tool for limiting what can be input into a cell. Excel allows you to specify what should appear on ...

Discover More

Single-Use Drop-Down List

Want to create an easy drop-down list? You can do so by using the data validation features of Excel.

Discover More

Handling Validation for Proper Latitude

When setting up Excel for data entry, you often have to be concerned with what values are acceptable. For example, if users ...

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 for this tip:

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

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.

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.

Links and Sharing
Share