How To Use ISNONTEXT Function in Google Sheets

The ISNONTEXT function in Google Sheets is used when you need to determine whether the value of a cell is a non-textual value.

With this function, the value returned is TRUE if the value is non-textual and FALSE if it is considered text. Non-textual values include numbers, dates, and errors.

The rules for using the ISNONTEXT function in Google Sheets are as follows:

  • The function requires a single argument, the value to be determined as non-textual.
  • The function then outputs a Boolean value that indicates whether the given input is non-textual.

Let’s take a quick look at an example of when we can apply this function.

When handling user-input, we may encounter cases where values are non-textual. For example, if I were to set up a list of books, it’s possible that input for George Orwell’s “1984” may be treated as a numeric value rather than as text. It might be useful to detect such instances in your worksheet.

With the ISNONTEXT function, it’s easy to flag values in your worksheets that are not considered text values.

This use-case is just one way to use the ISNONTEXT function in Google Sheets. The function can be used to validate any kind of data that must be text-only, such as names and locations.

Now that we’ve seen when to use the ISNONTEXT function, let’s look at how we can start using it and later work on an actual sample spreadsheet.


The Anatomy of the ISNONTEXT Function

The syntax of the ISNONTEXT function follows the form:


Let’s go through each element of the formula and understand what each term means:

  • = the equal sign is how we indicate the start of a Google Sheets function.
  • ISNONTEXT() is our ISNONTEXT function. It checks whether the value provided is non-textual. 
  • value refers to the value we’ll be verifying as non-textual.
  • The function is the equivalent of using =NOT(ISTEXT(value))
  • Empty strings are considered text as well.
  • Nonprinting characters and whitespace count as text.
  • The function is often used together with the IF function to make conditional statements.



A Real Example of Using ISNONTEXT Function

Let’s check out an example of the ISNONTEXT function being used in a Google Sheet spreadsheet.

In the example below, we have sample user input. Column C shows us which value is non-textual, and which is not. Numeric, Boolean, and date values will result in ISNONTEXT returning a value of TRUE.

Notice that cell A3 may look numeric, but it is written as a string. Similarly, cell A8 looks like a date value, but Google Sheets interprets it as a string since it is missing the year.

An example of using ISNONTEXT Function in Google Sheets


 The values in Column C can be obtained by using the following formula:


We can also use the ISNONTEXT function in Google Sheets to help with logical tests. For example, in the table below, we added an IF statement that relies on the output of our ISNONTEXT function. If data found in Column A is not text, Column C will return “Invalid Name provided”, otherwise it will return “OK!”

Using ISNONTEXT function in Google Sheets along with the IF function


To retrieve the values in Column C, we can use the following conditional statement:

=IF(ISNONTEXT(A2),"Invalid Name provide","OK!")

You can make your own copy of the spreadsheets above using the link I have attached below. 

If you’re ready to use the ISNONTEXT function in Google Sheets, we can start writing it ourselves!



How to Use ISNONTEXT Function in Google Sheets

  1. To start using the ISNONTEXT function, we must select a cell to output our result. In this example, we can start with cell C2 in the first row of our dataset.
    Selecting the cell to enter our ISNONTEXT function

  2. Next, we just need to type the equal sign ‘=‘ to mark the beginning of the function, followed by ‘ISNONTEXT(‘. 
  3. A tooltip box will appear with hints on how to use the ISNONTEXT function. We can minimize this box by clicking on the arrow found on the top-right-hand corner.
    Typing ISNONTEXT function into Google Sheets
  4. The next step is to type in our argument into the function. In this example, we’ll be verifying cell A2 first.
    Result of the ISNONTEXT function

    Afterward, simply hit Enter on your keyboard to let the function evaluate.
  5. Finally, we can see that the formula works. We can drag down the formula to apply it to the rest of our column!
    Filling the column with our results



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. Why does my formula return FALSE even if no text is present in the cell?
    It’s possible that the cell being referenced has whitespace on it. Nonprinting characters and whitespace count as text, even though the cell may appear empty. 
  2. What happens if the formula tries to check an empty cell?
    The ISNONTEXT function treats empty cells as non-textual. A reference to an empty cell will return TRUE. 

That’s all you need to know on how to use the ISNONTEXT function in Google Sheets. This step-by-step guide shows how simple it is to use the function to determine if a given cell has a non-textual value.

You can now use the ISNONTEXT functions in Google Sheets together with the various other Google Sheets formulas available to  set up powerful worksheets that can fit any use-case you can think of.

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