**Question description:**

*This user has given permission to use the problem statement for this blog.*

using excel as a checkbook -- formula =IF(ISBLANK(E283),"",N282-J283+L283) after 280 lines it is now just saying VALUE in the balance column (N)
What have I done wrong?

Solved by T. Y. in 44 mins

This is the chat thread from the real Excelchat help session. It contains no private user information.

User
04/10/2018 - 05:02

did I make my question clear?

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:02

Hello, I understand that you need help in checking where the problem is with the formula you are using, right?

User
04/10/2018 - 05:02

yes

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:03

Alright, I can help you with this. Before we proceed, this is a reminder that our policy is 1 question per session so for this session we'll be resolving this particular question. We also currently do not support VBA/Macro solutions.

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:03

At first glance, it doesn't look like there is a problem with the formula itself so are you able to share your file so I can inspect other elements?

User
04/10/2018 - 05:04

not sure how to do that

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:04

There is a clip icon next to this chat. CLick that then select your file.

User
04/10/2018 - 05:06

I just sent it

[Uploaded an Excel file]

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:06

Thank you.

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:06

Give me a few minutes to analyze it.

User
04/10/2018 - 05:06

thank you

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:08

Thank you for waiting. I have found the reason for the error.

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:08

It's because you L283 isn't really empty

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:09

Instead, it has a space on it.

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:09

So if you go to L283 then press delete, the formula in N will work.

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:09

Let me know once you've tried that.

User
04/10/2018 - 05:11

Not sure how that happened. When I want to continue the formula I just hook the corner of the last one with the crosshair symbol and drag down a few more spaces

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:11

The space bar may have been accidentally pressed while your cursor was in L283. It happens to the best of us.

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:12

You may also have to delete the value of N302

User
04/10/2018 - 05:14

How do you think I put that space in there. And how did you know it wasn't actually empty?

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:15

There are a lot of possible scenarios and I can't really confidently say that it was you who placed the space in there. It's just that it can happen. I, myself, have made this same mistake in the past so I know that it is one possible reason so it's one of those things that I check.

User
04/10/2018 - 05:16

And I will check that first from now on -- I REALLY like using excel as a checkbook -- much happier than using Quicken or QuickBooks

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:17

I really have not tried both Quicken and Quickbooks but yes, I know a few people who prefers Excel for checkbooks as well.

User
04/10/2018 - 05:18

Btw it fixed it instantly. THANK YOU!!!!

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:18

By the way, you may want to consider using this formula instead:

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:18

=IF(ISBLANK(E3),0,N2-J3+L3)

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:19

"" and 0 can be considered as having the same value but in reality, there's a big difference.

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:19

You may encounter issues if you use "" instead of 0.

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:19

By using the above formula, you will just need to delete the space in L283 and the rest will work.

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:20

Here's your file. I updated the formula to use 0 instead of "".

[Uploaded an Excel file]

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:20

I'll let you decide which one you'd like to use.

User
04/10/2018 - 05:23

Thank you --- very quickly do you know what kind of issues ,"", could cause? And I'm guessing with the formula you recommend using 0 (which is zero, right) I wouldn't face any issues -- or I'll say shouldn't face...

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:24

The most common issue you will face when using "" instead of 0 is when performing some calculations "" may cause an error.

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:25

Try this:

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:25

Write =A1+B1 in cell C1

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:25

Then type ="" in A1

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:25

Your formula in C1 will return an error.

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:27

Here's an example:

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:27

[Uploaded an Excel file]

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:28

Look at row 1, it has an error because the formula in A1 is using "" instead of 0 like row 2.

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:31

Still with me?

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:37

Hi, I have not received a reply from you for quite some time. I'm afraid the session will end automatically soon. I sincerely hope we were able to address your concern.

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:41

I can see that you've extended the session. Do you have any other questions regarding the original concern?

Excelchat Expert
04/10/2018 - 05:45

Are you still there?

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