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A Formula which references a formula on a related object still returns a value when the relationship field is blank.

Knowledge Article Number 000239980
Description A cross-object formula which refers to a formula field on another object may still return a value when the relationship field which connects those objects is blank.


- There are 2 Objects ("object A" and "object B")

- Object A has a text field (text_field__c), and a formula field (formula_field__c). The Formula Field concatenates text_field__c with a text string (syntax like: text_field__c & "")

- Object B has a Lookup relationship to Object A, and a formula field to pull the value of formula_field__c on Object A (syntax like: Object_A__r.formula_field__c)

Result: On an "Object B" record  where the lookup to "Object A" is blank, the formula on Object B displays ""
Resolution This is an expected result. 

To explain, when a formula refers to a formula field it pulls in the syntax (not the value) of that field.

Continuing the above example, this means although the formula field on "Object B" has the syntax "Object_A__r.formula_field__c", the underlying logic of that formula field on "Object B" is actually 'Object_A__r.text_field__c & ""'

When the lookup to Object A is blank, this formula cannot fetch "Object_A__r.text_field__c", so that part of the formula is null. The formula logic evaluates as 'null & ""', and outputs ""

To prevent this sort of behavior, update the formula logic on "Object B" with an IF function to return null when the lookup to Object A is null.

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