# How to Use the Excel Formula for Not Equal to Blank?

If you want to filter your data in Microsoft Excel to only show cells that are not blank, you can use a simple formula. The Excel formula for “not equal to blank” is:

**<>””**

This formula will return TRUE for any cell that is not empty, allowing you to easily filter out blank cells. In this article, we’ll explain how to use this handy Excel function to work with your spreadsheet data more effectively.

## Understanding the “Not Equal to Blank” Formula

The **“not equal to blank” formula in Excel** is represented by **<>””**. Here’s what this formula means:

**<>**is the “not equal to” operator in Excel**“”**represents an empty string (blank cell)

So **<>”” literally means “not equal to blank”**. When you enter this formula in a cell, it will check if the referenced cell is not blank. The formula returns TRUE if the cell has any value in it, and FALSE if the cell is empty.

### Why Check for Blanks?

There are many reasons you may want to check if a cell is blank in Excel:

- To
**filter out empty rows**from a data set - To
**count the number of blank cells**in a range - To
**highlight or format cells that are not blank** - To
**validate data entry**and ensure required fields are filled in

By using the **<>””** formula, you can quickly identify and work with your non-empty cells.

### Difference Between Blanks and Empty Strings

It’s important to understand the difference between a blank cell and an empty string in Excel. A blank cell contains no data at all, while an empty string is a cell that contains a formula that returns an empty string value (“”).

For example, if cell A1 contains the formula **=””**, it is not considered blank, even though it displays no visible content. The **<>””** formula would return FALSE for this cell.

To check for both blank cells and empty strings, you can use the ISBLANK function instead:

**=ISBLANK(A1)**

This will return TRUE for any cell that is truly blank or contains an empty string.

## How to Use the “Not Equal to Blank” Formula

Using the **“not equal to blank” formula** in Excel is straightforward. Follow these steps:

- Click on the cell where you want to enter the formula
- Type
**=<>””** - After the last quotation mark, type a reference to the cell you want to check. For example:
**=<>”A1″** - Press Enter to complete the formula

The cell will now show TRUE if the referenced cell is not blank, or FALSE if it is blank.

### Checking Multiple Cells

You can also use the **<>””** formula to check multiple cells at once. For example:

**=AND(<>”A1″, <>”B1″, <>”C1″)**

This formula will return TRUE only if cells A1, B1, and C1 are all not blank. It uses the AND function to combine multiple “not equal to blank” conditions.

If you want to check if any one of a group of cells is not blank, use the OR function instead:

**=OR(<>”A1″, <>”B1″, <>”C1″)**

This will return TRUE if at least one of the referenced cells is not blank.

### Counting Non-Blank Cells

To count the number of cells in a range that are not blank, you can use the COUNTIF function with the **<>””** formula. For example:

**=COUNTIF(A1:A10,”<>”)**

This will count the number of non-blank cells in the range A1:A10.

You can also use COUNTIFS to count non-blank cells that meet additional criteria. For instance, to count cells in A1:A10 that are not blank and greater than 5:

**=COUNTIFS(A1:A10,”<>”, A1:A10,”>5″)**

## Example Uses of “Not Equal to Blank”

Here are a few practical examples of when you might use the **“not equal to blank” formula in Excel**:

### Data Validation

Imagine you have a spreadsheet where users need to enter data, but certain cells must not be left blank. You could use data validation with a formula like:

**=<>””**

Set this as a data validation rule for the required cells. Users will get an error message if they try to leave the cell blank.

To set up data validation:

- Select the cells you want to validate
- Go to Data > Data Validation
- In the Allow dropdown, choose Custom
- Enter your validation formula, e.g.,
**=<>””** - Customize the error message if needed
- Click OK

Now the selected cells will require a value to be entered.

### Filtering Data

If you have a large dataset with some blank rows scattered throughout, you can filter these out by:

- Select your data range
- Go to Data > Filter
- Click the filter arrow for the column you want to filter
- Uncheck the “Blanks” box
- Click OK

Excel will now hide any fully blank rows in your filtered data. This is an easy way to clean up your spreadsheet and focus on the populated data.

You can also use the “not equal to blank” formula directly in your filter criteria. For example:

- With your data range selected, go to Data > Advanced
- Choose “Copy to another location”
- Click in the “Criteria range” field and enter your criteria in the form:

- Column header:
**<>””**

- Specify your output range
- Click OK

This will copy only the rows where the specified column is not blank to your output range.

### Conditional Formatting

You can use the **<>””** formula with conditional formatting to highlight cells that are not blank. For example:

- Select your data range
- Go to Home > Conditional Formatting > New Rule
- Choose “Use a formula to determine which cells to format”
- Enter the formula
**=<>””** - Click the “Format” button and choose your formatting style
- Click OK

Now any non-blank cells in your range will be highlighted with your chosen formatting. This is a great way to visually distinguish populated cells from blanks.

You can get even more specific by combining the **<>””** formula with other conditions in your formatting rule. For instance:

**=AND(<>””,A1>10)**

This would format cells that are not blank and greater than 10.

## Tips for Working with Blanks in Excel

When using the **“not equal to blank”** formula or working with blank cells in general, keep these tips in mind:

**ISBLANK function**: As an alternative to <>””, you can use the ISBLANK function to check if a cell is empty. However, ISBLANK considers empty strings as non-blank.**COUNTBLANK function**: To specifically count blank cells, use COUNTBLANK instead of COUNTIF. For example:**=COUNTBLANK(A1:A10)****Remove extra spaces**: Excel considers a cell with only spaces as non-blank. Before checking for blanks, remove extra spaces using TRIM. For example:**=<>TRIM(A1)****Blanks vs. zeros**: Blank cells are not the same as cells containing a zero value. If you want to check for both, use OR. For example:**=OR(<>”A1″,A1=0)****Wildcard characters**: If you need to check for cells that are not blank and also contain specific text, you can use wildcard characters with COUNTIF. For example:**=COUNTIF(A1:A10, “***text*“)

This counts cells in A1:A10 that contain the word “text”.**Handling errors**: If a formula references a blank cell and returns an error, you can handle this with the IFERROR function. For example:**=IFERROR(A1/B1, “”)**

This will return the result of A1 divided by B1, or a blank if B1 is zero (which would cause a divide by zero error).

## Final Thoughts

The **Excel formula for “not equal to blank”**, <>””, is a quick and easy way to check if a cell has a value. Whether you need to filter data, validate entries, or format cells conditionally, this simple formula can help you work more efficiently in Excel.

By combining the **<>””** operator with other Excel functions like AND, OR, COUNTIF, and COUNTIFS, you can build powerful formulas to analyze and format your data based on the presence or absence of values.

Remember to also consider using functions like ISBLANK and COUNTBLANK for more specific blank-checking needs, and to watch out for common issues like extra spaces and the difference between blanks and zeros. To master this and other Excel formulas, the best approach is hands-on practice. Try incorporating **<>””** into your own spreadsheets and experiment with different scenarios.

## FAQs

### What is the Excel formula for “not equal to blank”?

**<>“”**. This formula will return TRUE for any cell that is not empty, and FALSE for any cell that is blank.

### How do I use the “not equal to blank” formula in Excel?

- Click on the cell where you want to enter the formula
- Type
**=<>“”** - After the last quotation mark, type a reference to the cell you want to check. For example:
**=<>“A1”** - Press Enter to complete the formula

### Can I use the “not equal to blank” formula to check multiple cells at once?

**=AND(<>“A1”, <>“B1”, <>“C1”)**will return TRUE only if cells A1, B1, and C1 are all not blank.

### How can I count the number of non-blank cells in a range?

**=COUNTIF(A1:A10,”<>“)**will count the number of non-blank cells in the range A1:A10.

### What’s the difference between a blank cell and an empty string in Excel?

**=ISBLANK(A1)**.

Vaishvi Desai is the founder of Excelsamurai and a passionate Excel enthusiast with years of experience in data analysis and spreadsheet management. With a mission to help others harness the power of Excel, Vaishvi shares her expertise through concise, easy-to-follow tutorials on shortcuts, formulas, Pivot Tables, and VBA.