Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Nesting IF Worksheet Functions.

Nesting IF Worksheet Functions

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 28, 2018)

8

If you have done any programming, you know that you can create conditional statements known as If...Then statements. Basically, these statements give you a way to say "If this is true, then do that." Excel provides an IF worksheet function to accomplish essentially the same thing in a formula.

You already know how to use the IF function because it was covered in other ExcelTips. What you may not know is that you can nest IF functions. For instance, consider the situation where you want to return a value if two other conditions are true. If cell B5 contains a temperature setting and cell B6 contains a pressure setting, you may want cell B7 to contain the words "TOO HIGH" if B5 is greater than 100 and cell B6 is greater than 50. To do something like this, you could use the following formula:

=IF(B5>100,IF(B6>50,"TOO HIGH",""),"")

Notice that there are two IF functions here. The first one checks to see if the value of B5 is greater than 100. If it is, then the next IF function is invoked. This one checks to see if B6 is greater than 50. If it is, then the words "TOO HIGH" are displayed in the cell. If either of the conditional statements fail, then nothing is displayed in the cell.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12611) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Nesting IF Worksheet Functions.

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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Comments

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What is four more than 2?

2018-05-04 03:41:13

Jens H. Bjørneboe

Michael Schenck: Just found out you don't need the spaces.

Using Win10 and Excel 2016


2018-05-01 03:03:50

Michael (Micky) Avidan

@Rkeev,
VLOOKUP. HLOOKUP, LOOKUP are al members of the same family.
I wouldn't dare using CHOOSE because the criteria is not always an Integer (CHOOSE needs an Integer as an index_num).
In addition the you cannot select a range for the results - such as: =CHOOSE(E7,F6:F10)
You need to put every result cell separately delimited by a comma.
----------------------------
Michael (Micky) Avidan
“Microsoft® Answers" - Wiki author & Forums Moderator
“Microsoft®” Excel MVP – Excel (2009-2018)
ISRAEL


2018-04-30 10:06:17

Rkeev

Alternatively, Choose or Lookup (with a result vector) can also be used for this if you don't want the DEATH by IF statements.


2018-04-30 05:04:50

Michael (Micky) Avidan

@James McMichael,
This tip relates to "Excel 2007" and above.
Excel 97/2000/2003 had a limit of 7 nestings vut there were ways to get around that - for example: using VLOOKUP with a small helper table etc..
Excel 2007-2016 has a limit of 64(!)
----------------------------
Michael (Micky) Avidan
“Microsoft® Answers" - Wiki author & Forums Moderator
“Microsoft®” Excel MVP – Excel (2009-2018)
ISRAEL


2018-04-29 08:53:33

James McMichael

Just don't try to nest them more than 7 deep, once this is done it will always evaluate to the false response.


2018-04-28 07:31:10

Michael Schenck

With apologies, the prior comment failed because the indents were stripped. Trying to paste the example here using underscores instead of spaces to show the indents, though that would not work in an actual Excel formula:

=IF(B5>100,
___IF(B6>50,
_____"TOO HIGH",
_____IF(B6>45,
_______"MARGINAL",
_______"")),
___IF(B5>90,
_____IF(B6>50,
_______"MARGINAL",
_______""),
_____""))


2018-04-28 07:24:24

Michael Schenck

It's an old programming trick, but when nesting IF statements, you can use carriage returns (Alt-Enter) and spaces to add structure to the nesting for readability. This allows you to change the nested IF statement above from =IF(B5>100,IF(B6>50,"TOO HIGH",""),"") to:

=IF(B5>100,
IF(B6>50,
"TOO HIGH",
""),
"")

The True and False results are more easily identified.

This is particularly valuable as IF statements become more complex since it makes them easier to debug (obviously the example below could be cleaned up using AND and OR statements):

=IF(B5>100,
IF(B6>50,
"TOO HIGH",
IF(B6>45,
"MARGINAL",
"")),
IF(B5>90,
IF(B6>50,
"MARGINAL",
""),
""))

NOTE: If cell contents are centered or right-justified it throws off thus formula structure. In that case, temporarily left-justify the cell when debugging.


2018-04-28 07:01:40

Ira Bernstein

Hi Allen
I'm a long time follower of Excel Tips. Shouldn't today's discussion of nesting IF statements have included the IFS function?


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