Wednesday, September 5, 2012

IS Functions!

As has been discussed in philosophy (and used by certain politicians), “It all depends on what your definition of “Is” is”. In this blog, however, we are going to look at some useful IS Functions, and how they are used.

Simply put, IS Functions check the type of value in each cell in a range, and returns TRUE or FALSE depending on the outcome. For example, the ISNUMBER function returns the logical value TRUE if value in a cell is number; otherwise it returns FALSE (if it is text or blank for instance).

IS functions have many uses in Excel, including Handling Errors in formulas and working in conjunction with Conditional Formatting to highlight various data. The following are 5 of My Favorites:

1. ISERR  -  Any error value except #N/A
2. ISERROR  -  Any error value, including #N/A, #VALUE!, #REF!, NAME?, etc
3. ISNUMBER  -  Refers to a number
4. ISTEXT  -  Refers to text
5. ISBLANK  -  Refers to an empty cell

Although they can all be used in several ways, I find ISERR and ISERROR to be particularly useful in Handling Errors in formulas. For instance, ISERROR can be used in an IF function allowing you to return the value “0”, rather than a awkward “#N/A”.

The other IS Functions mentioned are highly utile when using Conditional Formatting to identify/highlight certain types of data.

As with so many things in Excel, the Key is to keep IS Functions in mind when working with your data, as you never know when they will just the right fit! (ISn’t that always the case?...).

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