Summary

The Excel NOT function returns the opposite of a given logical or Boolean value. When given TRUE, NOT returns FALSE. When given FALSE, NOT returns TRUE. Use the NOT function to reverse a logical value.

Purpose 

Reverse arguments or results

Return value 

A reversed logical value

Arguments 

  • logical - A value or logical expression that can be evaluated as TRUE or FALSE.

Syntax 

=NOT(logical)

Usage notes 

The NOT function returns the opposite of a given logical or Boolean value. Use the NOT function to reverse a Boolean value or the result of a logical expression.

  1. When given FALSE, NOT returns TRUE.
  2. When given TRUE, NOT returns FALSE.

Example #1 - not green or red

In the example shown, the formula in C5, copied down, is:

=NOT(OR(B5="green",B5="red"))

The literal translation of this formula is "NOT green or red". At each row, the formula returns TRUE if the color in column B is not green or red, and FALSE if the color is green or red.

Example #2 - Not blank

A common use case for the NOT function is to reverse the behavior of another function. For example, If cell A1 is blank (empty), the ISBLANK function will return TRUE:

=ISBLANK(A1)  // TRUE if A1 is empty

To reverse this behavior, wrap the NOT function around the ISBLANK function:

=NOT(ISBLANK(A1))  // TRUE if A1 is NOT empty

By adding NOT the output from ISBLANK is reversed. This formula will return TRUE when A1 is not empty and FALSE when A1 is empty. You might use this kind of test to only run a calculation if there is a value in A1:

=IF(NOT(ISBLANK(A1)),B1/A1,"")

Translation: if A1 is not blank, divide B1 by A1, otherwise return an empty string (""). This is an example of nesting one function inside another.

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Dave Bruns

Hi - I'm Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.