Related topics
Formulas & functions
Formulas & functions

IF function

The IF function is one of the most popular functions in Excel, and it allows you to make logical comparisons between a value and what you expect.

So an IF statement can have two results. The first result is if your comparison is True, the second if your comparison is False.

For example, =IF(C2=”Yes”,1,2) says IF(C2 = Yes, then return a 1, otherwise return a 2).

Your browser does not support video. Install Microsoft Silverlight, Adobe Flash Player, or Internet Explorer 9.

Use the IF function, one of the logical functions, to return one value if a condition is true and another value if it's false.

IF(logical_test, value_if_true, [value_if_false])

For example:

  • =IF(A2>B2,"Over Budget","OK")

  • =IF(A2=B2,B4-A4,"")

Argument name


logical_test    (required)

The condition you want to test.

value_if_true    (required)

The value that you want returned if the result of logical_test is TRUE.

value_if_false    (optional)

The value that you want returned if the result of logical_test is FALSE.

Simple IF examples

Cell D2 contains a formula =IF(C2="Yes",1,2)
  • =IF(C2=”Yes”,1,2)

In the above example, cell D2 says: IF(C2 = Yes, then return a 1, otherwise return a 2)

Cell D2 contains the formula =IF(C2=1,"YES","NO")
  • =IF(C2=1,”Yes”,”No”)

In this example, the formula in cell D2 says: IF(C2 = 1, then return Yes, otherwise return No)As you see, the IF function can be used to evaluate both text and values. It can also be used to evaluate errors. You are not limited to only checking if one thing is equal to another and returning a single result, you can also use mathematical operators and perform additional calculations depending on your criteria. You can also nest multiple IF functions together in order to perform multiple comparisons.

Formula in cell D2 is =IF(C2>B2,”Over Budget”,”Within Budget”)
  • =IF(C2>B2,”Over Budget”,”Within Budget”)

In the above example, the IF function in D2 is saying IF(C2 Is Greater Than B2, then return “Over Budget”, otherwise return “Within Budget”)

Formula in cell E2 is =IF(C2>B2,C2-B2,"")
  • =IF(C2>B2,C2-B2,0)

In the above illustration, instead of returning a text result, we are going to return a mathematical calculation. So the formula in E2 is saying IF(Actual is Greater than Budgeted, then Subtract the Budgeted amount from the Actual amount, otherwise return nothing).

Formula in Cell F7 is IF(E7=”Yes”,F5*0.0825,0)
  • =IF(E7=”Yes”,F5*0.0825,0)

In this example, the formula in F7 is saying IF(E7 = “Yes”, then calculate the Total Amount in F5 * 8.25%, otherwise no Sales Tax is due so return 0)

Note: If you are going to use text in formulas, you need to wrap the text in quotes (e.g. “Text”). The only exception to that is using TRUE or FALSE, which Excel automatically understands.

Common problems


What went wrong

0 (zero) in cell

There was no argument for either value_if_true or value_if_False arguments. To see the right value returned, add argument text to the two arguments, or add TRUE or FALSE to the argument.

#NAME? in cell

This usually means that the formula is misspelled.

Need more help?

You can always ask an expert in the Excel Tech Community or get support in the Answers community.

Get live and free answers on Excel

See Also

Calculation operators and precedence in Excel

Use nested functions in a formula

Using IF to check if a cell is blank

Video: Advanced IF functions

IFS function (Microsoft 365, Excel 2016 and later)

Advanced IF functions - Working with nested formulas and avoiding pitfalls

Training videos: Advanced IF functions

The COUNTIF function will count values based on a single criteria

The COUNTIFS function will count values based on multiple criteria

The SUMIF function will sum values based on a single criteria

The SUMIFS function will sum values based on multiple criteria

AND function

OR function

VLOOKUP function

Overview of formulas in Excel

How to avoid broken formulas

Detect errors in formulas

Logical functions

Excel functions (alphabetical)

Excel functions (by category)

Need more help?

Expand your skills


Get new features first


Was this information helpful?

What affected your experience?

Thank you for your feedback!