Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Using the IF Worksheet Function.

Using the IF Worksheet Function

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 28, 2015)

Excel provides a wide range of worksheet functions you can use. One of the most versatile worksheet functions is IF. This function allows you to test some condition, and then use a value if the condition is true or a different value if the condition is false. For instance, consider the following example:

=IF(A2<C2,"Too low","")

Notice that IF requires three arguments, each separated by commas. The first argument (in this example, A2<C2) is the conditional test. If the test proves true, then the second argument (in this case, the test string "Too low") is used. If the test proves false, then the third argument (in this case, an empty string) is used. In other words, if the value in cell A2 is lower than the value in cell C2, then this formula returns the string "Too low." Otherwise, it returns an empty string.

You are not limited, of course, to returning strings in an IF function. You can return any value you want, including the values stored in other cells. For example:

=IF(A2<C2,B6-B7,43)

In this case, if A2 is less than C2, then the value derived by subtracting B7 from B6 is returned. If A2 is not less than C2, then the value 43 is returned.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10423) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Using the IF Worksheet Function.

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. ...

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