# Generating and using Null values in formulas.

Tuesday 24 January 2023 @ 8:43 pm

I was recently reminded of how handy it can be to create a “NULL” value in a formula. I had to use this in two recent situations and thought a description of these two uses would make a great blog post. But, as happens so often, I looked at my past posts and found I had written about both of these before, one in 2016 and one in 2007. So rather than write them up again I am just going to link to those posts with some brief comments.

1) If you ever need to do a distinct count of values that meet a condition. This usually means an IF THEN ELSE formula and if you don’t use a NULL as your ‘ELSE’ your distinct count is likely to be inflated by one.

2) If you want to do a minimum or maximum of values that met a condition. Again you would need an IF THEN ELSE formula and the simplest approach I have found is to use a NULL as your ‘ELSE’ value.

Note 1: Don’t think that skipping the ELSE altogether will generate a NULL value.  It will generate a default value (empty string, zero, etc.).

Note 2:  These NULL formulas are strings, so if you need an else that is a NULL numeric you can use:

`Val({@Null})`

If your else value needs to be a date you can use:

`Date (Val({@Null}),1,1 )`

These will still be null values, but they will have the correct data type for your formula.

(For examples of my most popular formulas, please visit the FORMULAS page on my website.)