Deleting Blank Rows

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated February 10, 2024)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


2

Kris has a worksheet where there are a large number of blank rows in the data. He's looking for a simple macro that will delete all the rows that are totally blank.

There are a number of ways to accomplish this task. The following sections examine all the various ideas for getting rid of those troublesome rows.

Selecting Blanks

One quick way you can check where blanks are is to just select blanks in your data. Follow these steps:

  1. Select all the data you are working with.
  2. Press F5. Excel displays the Go To dialog box.
  3. Click Special. Excel displays the Go To Special dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Go To Special dialog box.

  5. Choose the Blanks radio button.
  6. Click OK. Excel selects on those cells in your starting range (step 1) that are blank.
  7. Display the Home tab of the ribbon.
  8. Click the Delete tool. Excel deletes the rows.

There is a huge caveat in taking this approach: It will delete any rows in which any cell is blank. In other words, this approach is best if the only blanks in your data are in rows that you actually want to delete. If there are some empty cells interspersed among data you really want to keep, don't use this method, as it will delete those rows, as well.

Sorting

If your data doesn't consist of very many rows (say, only ten columns or fewer), you might consider just sorting the data. If you include each column in your sort specification, then you'll end up with the blank rows all right next to each other and you can easily delete them.

If there are lots of columns in your data and you don't mind adding a helper column, you can get rid of blank rows in a variation on the sorting method. Let's say that your data is in column A through P. In column Q, enter either one of these formulas:

=COUNTA(A1:P1)
=IF(COUNTBLANK(A1:P1)=16,"DELETE","")

It doesn't matter which one you use; they will both give you information you can work with. In the case of the COUNTA formula, you simply need to sort on the basis of column Q and delete anything with a 0 in that column.

In the case of the COUNTBLANK formula, you'll want to change the equated value (16) to however many columns you are having the COUNTBLANK function consider. (In this case, 16 is the number of columns in the range A:P, inclusive.) After the formula is in place you can sort by column Q, then simply delete all the rows that have the word "DELETE" in that column.

Another variation on the sorting approach is to simply use the filtering capabilities of Excel to filter your list to contain only blanks in one of the data columns. (For instance, you might filter for blanks in column A.) You can then sort the remaining columns so you have entire blank rows in one place and then delete those rows.

Macros

If you need to delete blank rows quite often, then you'll want to seriously consider using a macro to do the hard work. Your macro could easily be added to the ribbon or assigned to a shortcut key so you can invoke it very easily.

Earlier in this tip I mentioned that you could, if desired, use the Go To Special dialog box to select blank cells in the range of your data and then delete the rows on which those blank cells occur. You can do the same thing in a ver simple macro:

Sub DeleteBlanks()
    Dim R As Range

    Set R = Range("A1:" & ActiveCell.SpecialCells(xlLastCell).Address)
    R.SpecialCells(xlCellTypeBlanks).EntireRow.Delete
End Sub

Remember, though, that this macro will delete any rows on which there are any blanks, even if you want to keep other data that may be on that row.

A better approach would be to do a more comprehensive check on each row in the worksheet:

Sub DeleteBlankRows()
    Dim lRows As Long
    Dim J As Long

    lRows = ActiveCell.SpecialCells(xlLastCell).Row
    Application.ScreenUpdating = False
    For J = lRows To 1 Step -1
        If WorksheetFunction.CountA(Rows(J)) = 0 Then Rows(J).Delete
    Next J
    Application.ScreenUpdating = True
End Sub

Note that the macro determines the last cell used in the workbook and sets the lRows value equal to the row on which that cell occurs. A For...Next loop then steps through each row (from the last to the first) and uses the COUNTA function to determine if there is anything on that row. If not, the row is deleted.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (254) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Upside-Down Printing

Putting words on the printed page is easy in Word. Rotating those words in different manners can be a bit trickier. This ...

Discover More

Calculating Fractions of Years

When working with dates and the relationship between dates, Excel provides a variety of worksheet functions that may ...

Discover More

Jumping to Text in Worksheet from an Index

In putting together a workbook, you may develop a worksheet that acts as an index, to contain links that lead to other ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Creating an Animated Count Up

You might want to display a value in a cell as an upward-counting value. This might seem difficult but can be done rather ...

Discover More

Disabled Macros

Do your macros seem to be disabled on your new machine? It could be because of the security settings in Excel. Here's ...

Discover More

Getting a File Name

Does your macro need to allow the user to specify a particular file name that should be used by the macro? Here's a quick ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is three less than 9?

2024-02-11 12:00:23

J. Woolley

The Tip's 2nd formula under Sorting is
    =IF(COUNTBLANK(A1:P1)=16,"DELETE","")
Either of the following versions might be better:
    =IF(COUNTBLANK(A1:P1)=COLUMN(P1),"DELETE","")
    =IF(COUNTBLANK(A1:P1)=COLUMNS(A1:P1),"DELETE","")
Notice COUNTBLANK counts cells that are either empty or contain blank text (""); therefore, a row containing formulas that return blank text could be marked DELETE, which might be undesirable. In this case, the following version might be preferred:
    =IF(COUNTA(A1:P1)=0,"DELETE","")
See Alex Blakenburg's comment below.


2024-02-10 07:08:32

Alex Blakenburg

A watch out is that most users consider a formula that returns an empty string ie "" to be blank. However, Goto Blank and Special Cells blanks do not consider "" to be blank nor does CountA which will count it as a non-empty cell.


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.