Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Formula Problems and Solutions
If your formula doesn’t ignore blank cells the way that it should, check to make sure that the
blank cells are really blank cells. Here’s how to search for cells that contain only blank characters:
1. Press Ctrl+F to display the Find and Replace dialog box.
2. In the Find What box, enter * * . That’s an asterisk, followed by a space, and followed by
another asterisk.
3. Make sure the Match Entire Cell Contents check box is selected.
4. Click Find All.
If any cells that contain only space characters are found, you’ll be able to spot them in the list
displayed at the bottom of the Find and Replace dialog box.
Extra space characters
If you have formulas that rely on comparing text, be careful that your text doesn’t contain
additional space characters. Adding an extra space character is particularly common when data has
been imported from another source.
Excel automatically removes trailing spaces from values that you enter, but trailing spaces in text
entries are not deleted. It’s impossible to tell just by looking at a cell whether text contains one or
more trailing space characters.
The TRIM function removes leading spaces, trailing spaces, and multiple spaces within a text string.
Figure 21-1 shows some text in column A. The formula in B1, which was copied down the column, is
=TRIM(A1)=A1
This formula returns FALSE if the text in column A contains leading spaces, trailing spaces, or
multiple spaces. In this case, the word Dog in cell A3 contains a trailing space.
Figure 21-1: Using a formula to identify cells that contain extra space characters.
 
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