Excel IF Function
The IF function runs a logical test and returns one value for a TRUE result, and another for a FALSE result. For example, to "pass" scores above 70: =IF(A1>70,"Pass","Fail"). More than one condition can be tested by nesting IF functions. The IF function can be combined with logical functions like AND and OR to extend the logical test.
- logical_test - A value or logical expression that can be evaluated as TRUE or FALSE.
- value_if_true - [optional] The value to return when logical_test evaluates to TRUE.
- value_if_false - [optional] The value to return when logical_test evaluates to FALSE.
The IF function is used to run a logical test, and react differently depending on whether the result is TRUE or FALSE. The first argument, logical_test, is an expression that returns either TRUE or FALSE. Both value_if_true and value_if_false are optional, but at least one of them must be provided. The result from IF can be a value, a cell reference, or even another formula.
In the example shown above, we want to assign either "Pass" or "Fail" based on a test score. A passing score is 70 or higher. The formula in D6, copied down, is:
Translation: If the value in C6 is greater than or equal to 70, return "Pass". Otherwise, return "Fail".
The logical flow this formula can be reversed. The formula below returns the same result:
Translation: If the value in C6 is less than 70, return "Fail". Otherwise, return "Pass".
Both formulas above, when copied down, will return correct results.
Note: If you are new to the idea of formula criteria, this article explains many examples.
The IF function can return another formula as a result. For example, the formula below will return A1*5% when A1 is less than 100, and A1*7% when A1 is greater than or equal to 100:
Nested IF statements
The IF function can be "nested". A "nested IF" refers to a formula where at least one IF function is nested inside another in order to test for more conditions and return more possible results. Each IF statement needs to be carefully "nested" inside another so that the logic is correct.
For example, the following formula can be used to assign an grade rather than a pass / fail result:
Up to 64 IF functions can be nested. However, in general, you should consider other functions, like VLOOKUP or HLOOKUP for more complex scenarios, because they can handle more conditions in much more streamlined fashion.
When you are constructing a test with IF, you can use any of the following logical operators:
|>=||greater than or equal to||A1>=D1|
|<=||less than or equal to||A1<=D1|
|<>||not equal to||A1<>D1|
IF with AND, OR
Translation: if A1 is greater than 7 and less than 10, return "OK". Otherwise, return nothing ("").
To return B1+10 when A1 is "red" or "blue" you can use the OR function like this:
Translation: if A1 is red or blue, return B1+10, otherwise return B1.
- Read more about nested IFs
- Learn how to use VLOOKUP instead of nested IFs (video)
- 50 Examples of formula criteria
See below for more IF function examples.