Using IF function in Excel: formulas for numbers, text, dates, blank cells

IF is one of the most popular and useful functions in Excel. You use an IF statement to test a condition and to return one value if the condition is met, and another value if the condition is not met.

In this tutorial, we are going to learn the syntax and common usages of Excel IF function, and then will have a closer look at formula examples that will hopefully prove helpful both to beginners and experienced users.

Excel IF function - syntax and usage

The IF function is one of logical functions that evaluates a certain condition and returns the value you specify if the condition is TRUE, and another value if the condition is FALSE.

The syntax for IF is as follows:

IF(logical_test, [value_if_true], [value_if_false])

As you see, the IF function has 3 arguments, but only the first one is obligatory, the other two are optional.

  • logical_test (required) - a value or logical expression that can be either TRUE or FALSE. In this argument, you can specify a text value, date, number, or any comparison operator.

    For example, your logical test can be expressed as or B1="sold", B1<12/1/2014, B1=10 or B1>10.

  • value_if_true (optional) - the value to return when the logical test evaluates to TRUE, i.e. if the condition is met.

    For example, the following formula will return the text "Good" if a value in cell B1 is greater than 10: =IF(B1>10, "Good")

  • value_if_false (optional) - the value to be returned if the logical test evaluates to FALSE, i.e. if the condition is not met.

    For example, if you add "Bad" as the third parameter to the above formula, it will return the text "Good" if a value in cell B1 is greater than 10, otherwise, it will return "Bad":
    =IF(B1>10, "Good", "Bad")

Excel IF function - formula example

IF function - things to remember!

Though the last two parameters of the IF function are optional, your formula may produce unexpected results if you don't know the underlying logic beneath the hood.

  1. If value_if_true is omitted

    If the value_if_true argument is omitted (i.e. there is only a comma following logical_test), the IF function returns zero (0) when the condition is met. Here is an example of such a formula:

    =IF(B1>10,, "Bad")

    In case you don't want your Excel IF statement to display any value when the condition is met, enter double quotes ("") in the second parameter, like this: =IF(B1>10, "", "Bad"). Technically, in this case the formula returns an empty string, which is invisible to the user but perceivable to other functions.

    The following screenshot demonstrates the above approaches in action, and the second one seems to be more sensible:
    IF formulas with the value_if_true argument omitted

  2. If value_if_false is omitted

    If you don't care what happens when the specified condition is not met, you can omit the 3rd parameter in your formulas, which will result in the following.

    If the logical test evaluates to FALSE and the value_if_false parameter is omitted (there is just a closing bracket after the value_if_true argument), the IF function returns the logical value FALSE. It's a bit unexpected, isn't it? Here is an example of such a formula:

    =IF(B1>10, "Good")

    Putting a comma after the value_if_true argument forces your IF statement to return 0, which doesn't make much sense either:

    =IF(B1>10, "Good",)

    And again, the most reasonable approach is to put "" in the third argument, in this case you will have empty cells when the condition is not met:

    =IF(B1>10, "Good", "")

    IF formulas with the value_if_false argument omitted

  3. Get the IF function to display logical values TRUE or FALSE

    For your Excel IF formula to display the logical values TRUE and FALSE when the specified condition is met and not met, respectively, type TRUE in the value_if_true argument. The value_if_false parameter can be FALSE or omitted. Here's a formula example:

    =IF(B1>10, TRUE, FALSE)
    or
    =IF(B1>10, TRUE)
    an example of the IF function that displays logical values TRUE or FALSE

    Note. For your IF statement to return TRUE and FALSE as the logical values (Boolean values) that other formulas can recognize, make sure you don't enclose them in double quotes. A visual indication of a Boolean is middle align in a cell, as you see in the screenshot above.

    If you want "TRUE" and "FALSE" to be usual text values, enclose them in "double quotes". In this case, the returned values will be aligned left and formatted as General. No Excel formula will recognize such "TRUE" and "FALSE" text as logical values.

  4. IF statement to perform a math operation and return a result

    Instead of returning certain values, you can get your IF formula to test the specified condition, perform a corresponding math operation and return a value based on the result. You do this by using arithmetic operators or other functions in the value_if_true and /or value_if_false arguments. Here are just a couple of formula examples:

    Example 1: =IF(A1>B1, C3*10, C3*5)

    The formula compares the values in cells A1 and B1, and if A1 is greater than B1, it multiplies the value in cell C3 by 10, by 5 otherwise.

    Example 2: =IF(A1<>B1, SUM(A1:D1), "")

    The formula compares the values in cells A1 and B1, and if A1 is not equal to B1, the formula returns the sum of values in cells A1:D1, an empty string otherwise.

Using the IF function in Excel - formula examples

Now that you are familiar with the IF function's syntax, let's look at some formula examples and learn how to use it in real-life scenarios.

Excel IF statement for numbers: greater than, less than, equal to

The use of the IF function with numeric values is based on using different comparison operators to express your conditions. You will find the full list of logical operators illustrated with formula examples in the table below.

Condition Operator Formula Example Description
Greater than > =IF(A2>5, "OK",) If the number in cell A2 is greater than 5, the formula returns "OK"; otherwise 0 is returned.
Less than < =IF(A2<5, "OK", "") If the number in cell A2 is less than 5, the formula returns "OK"; an empty string otherwise.
Equal to = =IF(A2=5, "OK", "Wrong number") If the number in cell A2 is equal to 5, the formula returns "OK"; otherwise the function displays "Wrong number".
Not equal to <> =IF(A2<>5, "Wrong number", "OK") If the number in cell A2 is not equal to 5, the formula returns "Wrong number "; otherwise - "OK".
Greater than or equal to >= =IF(A2>=5, "OK", "Poor") If the number in cell A2 is greater than or equal to 5, the formula returns "OK"; otherwise - "Poor".
Less than or equal to <= =IF(A2<=5, "OK", "") If the number in cell A2 is less than or equal to 5, the formula returns "OK"; an empty string otherwise.

The screenshot below demonstrates the IF formula with the "Greater than or equal to" logical operator in action:
the IF formula with the

Excel IF examples for text values

Generally, you write an IF statement with text using either "equal to" or "not equal to" operator, as demonstrated in a couple of IF examples that follow.

Example 1. Case-insensitive IF formula for text values

Like the overwhelming majority of functions, IF is case-insensitive by default. What it means for you is that logical tests for text values do not recognize case in usual IF formulas.

For example, the following IF formula returns either "Yes" or "No" based on the "Delivery Status" (column C):

=IF(C2="delivered", "No", "Yes")

Translated into plain English, the formula tells Excel to return "No" if a cell in column C contains the word "Delivered", otherwise return "Yes". At that, it does not really matter how you type the word "Delivered" in the logical_test argument - "delivered", "Delivered", or "DELIVERED". Nor does it matter whether the word "Delivered" is in lowercase or uppercase in the source table, as illustrated in the screenshot below.
Case-insensitive IF formula for text values

Another way to achieve exactly the same result is to use the "not equal to" operator and swap the value_if_true and value_if_false arguments:

=IF(C2<>"delivered", "Yes", "No")

Example 2. Case-sensitive IF formula for text values

If you want a case-sensitive logical test, use the IF function in combination with EXACT that compares two text strings and returns TRUE if the strings are exactly the same, otherwise it returns FALSE. The EXACT functions is case-sensitive, though it ignores formatting differences.

You use IF with EXACT in this way:

=IF(EXACT(C2,"DELIVERED"), "No", "Yes")

Where C is the column to which your logical test applies and "DELIVERED" is the case-sensitive text value that needs to be matched exactly.
Case-sensitive IF formula for text values

Naturally, you can also use a cell reference rather than a text value in the 2nd argument of the EXACT function, if you want to.

Note. When using text values as parameters for your IF formulas, remember to always enclose them in "double quotes".

Example 3. Excel IF statement with wildcard (partial match)

If you want to base your condition on a partial match rather than exact match, an immediate solution that comes to mind is using wildcard characters (* or ?) in the logical_test argument. However, this simple and obvious approach won't work. Many functions accept wildcards, but regrettably IF is not one of them.

A solution is to use IF in combination with ISNUMBER and SEARCH (case-insensitive) or FIND (case-sensitive) functions.

For example, if No action is required both for "Delivered" and "Out for delivery" items, the following formula will work a treat:

=IF(ISNUMBER(SEARCH("deliv",C2)), "No", "Yes")
IF formula for text values with partial match

We've used the SEARCH function in the above formula since a case-insensitive match suits better for our data. If you want a case-sensitive match, simply replace SEARCH with FIND in this way:

=IF(ISNUMBER(FIND("text", where to search)), value_if_true, value_if_false)

Excel IF formula examples for dates

At first sight, it may seem that IF formulas for dates are identical to IF statements for numeric and text values that we've just discussed. Regrettably, it is not so.

Unlike many other Excel functions, IF cannot recognize dates and interprets them as mere text strings, which is why you cannot express your logical test simply as >"11/19/2014" or >11/19/2014. Neither of the above arguments is correct, alas.

Example 1. IF formulas for dates with DATEVALUE function

To make the IF function recognize a date in your logical test as a date, you have to wrap it in the DATEVALUE function, like this DATEVALUE("11/19/2014"). The complete IF formula may take the following shape:

=IF(C2<DATEVALUE("11/19/2014"), "Completed", "Coming soon")

As illustrated in the screenshot below, this IF formula evaluates the dates in column C and returns "Completed" if a game was played before Nov-11. Otherwise, the formula returns "Coming soon".
An example of the IF formula with the DATEVALUE function

Example 2. IF formulas with TODAY() function

In case you base your condition on the current date, you can use the TODAY() function in the logical_test argument of your IF formula. For example:

=IF(C2<DATEVALUE("11/19/2014"), "Completed", "Coming soon")

Naturally, the Excel IF function can understand more complex logical tests, as demonstrated in the next example.

Example 3. Advanced IF formulas for future and past dates

Suppose, you want to mark only the dates that occur in more than 30 days from now. In this case, you can express the logical_test argument as A2-TODAY()>30. The complete IF formula may be as follows:

=IF(A2-TODAY()>30, "Future date", "")

To point out past dates that occurred more than 30 days ago, you can use the following IF formula:

=IF(TODAY()-A2>30, "Past date", "")
Advanced IF formulas for future and past dates

If you want to have both indications in one column, you will need to use a nested IF function like this:

=IF(A2-TODAY()>30, "Future date", IF(TODAY()-A2>30, "Past date", ""))
A nested IF formula for dates

Excel IF examples for blank, non-blank cells

If you want to somehow mark your data based on a certain cell(s) being empty or not empty, you can either:

  • Use the Excel IF function in conjunction with ISBLANK, or
  • Use the logical expressions ="" (equal to blank) or <>"" (not equal to blank).

The table below explains the difference between these two approaches and provides formula example.

Logical test Description Formula Example
Blank cells ="" Evaluates to TRUE if a specified cell is visually empty, including cells with zero length strings.

Otherwise, evaluates to FALSE.

=IF(A1="", 0, 1)

Returns 0 if A1 is visually blank. Otherwise returns 1.

If A1 contains an empty string, the formula returns 0.

ISBLANK() Evaluates to TRUE is a specified cell contains absolutely nothing - no formula, no empty string returned by some other formula.

Otherwise, evaluates to FALSE.

=IF(ISBLANK(A1), 0, 1)

Returns the results identical to the above formula but treats cells with zero length strings as non-blank cells.

That is, if A1 contains an empty string, the formula returns 1.

Non-blank cells <>"" Evaluates to TRUE if a specified cell contains some data. Otherwise, evaluates to FALSE.

Cells with zero length strings are considered blank.

=IF(A1<>"", 1, 0)

Returns 1 if A1 is non-blank; otherwise returns 0.

If A1 contains an empty string, the formula returns 0.

ISBLANK()=FALSE Evaluates to TRUE if a specified cell is not empty. Otherwise, evaluates to FALSE.

Cells with zero length strings are considered non-blank.

=IF(ISBLANK(A1)=FALSE, 0, 1)

Works the same as the above formula, but returns 1 if A1 contains an empty string.

The following example demonstrates blank / non-blank logical test in action.

Suppose, you have a date in column C only if a corresponding game (column B) was played. Then, you can use either of the following IF formulas to mark completed games:

=IF($C2<>"", "Completed", "")

=IF(ISBLANK($C2)=FALSE, "Completed", "")

Since there are no zero-length strings in our table, both formulas will return identical results:
The IF formula for blank / non-blank cells

Hopefully, the above examples have helped you understand the general logic of the IF function. In practice, however, you would often want a single IF formula to check multiple conditions, and our next article will show you how to tackle this task. In addition, we will also explore nested IF functions, array IF formulas, IFEFFOR and IFNA functions and more. Please stay tuned and thank you for reading!

You may also be interested in:

4,010 responses to "Using IF function in Excel: formulas for numbers, text, dates, blank cells"

  1. Surinder Sharma says:

    Hi,

    I need help in Excel cell. I want to fill the time only if if is not filled. To fill the time I am already using IF statement =IF(E2 "", NOW(), ""), so trying to solve with nested IF statements. But unfortunately it is not working.

    With statement =IF(E2 "", NOW(), "") - it is filled the value in Coloumn B2 with now time, but it if I enter in new row, the time in previous row get updated. Can you please help.

    Regards, Surinder

  2. Surinder Sharma says:

    Hi,

    I need help in Excel cell. I want to fill the time only if if is not filled. To fill the time I am already using IF statement =IF(E2 "", NOW(), ""), so trying to solve with nested IF statements. But unfortunately it is not working.

    With statement =IF(E2 "", NOW(), "") - it is filled the value in Coloumn B2 with now time, but it if I enter in new row, the time in previous row get updated. Can you please help.
    Regards

  3. Dave Bishop says:

    how to write this function properly.

    =IF(J3 greater than 10,"1",IF(J3 is greater than 10 or less than 15,"2",IF(J3 greater than 15 or less than 20,"3",IF(J3 greater than 20 or less than 25,"4",IF(J3 greater than 25,"5")))))

  4. Raj says:

    Hi Can any one tell me how can i fill the Colour in Excel file. For text like Green , Yellow, Red. Etc.

  5. Adam says:

    Hi, I'm trying to use an if function to check if a string value matches it, it adds the corresponding numeric value to a cell but it doesn't work.

    =If(C10:C43="Income",J10:J43+H7, H7+0)

    So basically, I want the sheet to check that if Income is selected on the C range, the value from J is then added to the cell H7. This is for an expense tracker that I'm currently working on.

    I'm new to this and I really appreciate any help.

  6. Jefferson Morales says:

    Good Morning!

    Hello Ma'am/Sir,

    I have some problems regarding date formula.

    =IF(EXACT($K9,"NOT DONE"),EXACT($K9,"DONE"),TODAY())

    That is the formula that i created if the value in the cell is "DONE" & "WIP" today Date will be shown in the cell. And if the value is different the cell value would be "NA" but the issue if i am putting next argument the excel showing an error "You've entered too many arguments for this function" this is the formula i created where error is showing =IF(EXACT($K9,"NOT DONE"),EXACT($K9,"DONE"),TODAY(),"NA") If you can help me with this it will be a big help.

    Another thing Ma'am & Sir,

    =IF(EXACT($K9,"NOT DONE"),EXACT($K9,"DONE"),TODAY()) for this formula once if i put the text "DONE" & "WIP" the today date will shown but the issue is once it is in the next day the next day date will be updated in the cell i want it like when i put Done and WIP today date will be there but if it is possible it will not change on the next day or the other date. Like when they put DONE or WIP in today date it will not change the date by tomorrow it self because it is updated once the date change by the next day.

    It will be a big help for me if you will answer it thanks and regards.

  7. Heather Pardun says:

    I have an employee training log that goes back about three years. I need to know if and how I can write a formula in a different sheet to look at a list of required training, compare it to the training log and tell me on the new sheet what employee has not taken what training. Is this possible or are my hopes too high for excel?

  8. Steven James says:

    Hi
    I have a problem to use IF statement to give me text value when a numeric value condition is met.
    Example:
    If cell "A" is more than "15" should give text "H" (High) in cell B, if value equals "5" but less than "15" should give "M" (Medium), and less than "5" should give "L" (Low).

    I will appreciate your help.
    Thanks

  9. RAMESH says:

    I WANT A HELP
    IF i= 5
    in cell A1 it shall write A1
    in cell A2 it shall write A2
    in cell A3 it shall write A3
    in cell A4 it shall write A4
    in cell A5 it shall write A5

  10. Pao GRC says:

    I have a question I am using IF function to a cell, if the cell is FALSE, it will appear as blank. But when a date is inputted i want it to add 2 more days. Is that possible? or how can i do that?

  11. ShaRey1 says:

    Hello, I'm working with a large amount of text in excel and trying to create a formula where text in one column (name of country) and text in another column (name of a political party) produces a specific pre-set code to identify a specific party. Dataset includes dozens of countries and hundreds of parties.

  12. elemes says:

    Hi.

    I am trying to do a product costing spreadsheet. working with 3 different rates of VAT. i'm hoping to indicate which one of the rates applies to the product with a check box? and then using the IF function to give me 'cost per item' based on what rate is selected because the others don't apply.

    Hope this makes sense :)

  13. Justin Don Grimmer says:

    Hello.
    I'm trying to us an IF function to a cell that has a small formula F7 has this formula(=F1-F2) but it wont work. It will work if I type the correct number in there but if it is coming from the small formula it is coming up up as "False" Can you help?
    F7 has this formula (=F1-F2)
    Example: If F7...
    is greater than or equal to 0.5 then 2
    is less than or equal to -0.5 then -2
    is in the range of 0.4 to -0.4 then 1
    All in one formula?
    I hope that makes sense.

  14. kamalesh jesz says:

    =IF(L444<3,"PASS","FAIL")=IF 0 =N/A

    HELP Please

  15. Ryan says:

    Hello I'm looking to have the formula work: =ISTEXT(IF('Investment Center'!$B$6:B26=E46,'Investment Center'!$C$6:C26))

    All fields are text and I want to have the following logic. If anywhere within Investment Center'!$B$6:B26 equals to E46 then return value of 'Investment Center'!$C$6:C26. All entires are text.

  16. Melissa says:

    Hi.

    I'm trying to lookup if text matches to return a text string and if it doesn't match, to lookup in another sheet, but it only is seeming to check the first lookup, not the second.

    =IF(VLOOKUP(C2687,'Master Data'!A:A,1,FALSE)=C2687, "regular listed", IF(VLOOKUP(C2687,'Community Service - Master Data'!A:A,1,FALSE)=C2687, "community service", "No Master Data!"))

  17. Peter George Dangcalan says:

    How to formulate this into the function

    if cell A1 is multiplied by a number then put value of 1 in cell A2

  18. Gan Osborne says:

    I am working on a daily deployment graph where the hours someone begins a shift is in column A and the time they leave is in column B. If cell A1 shown 1100 and Cell B1 shows 1300, I want cell P1, Q1, AND R1 to turn white filled. =if(a1=1100, P1:Q1*WHITE) or something like this if that makes sense?

  19. Help Me says:

    I saw that you really active in replying comments ^^.
    I want some answers too for my problem.

    Is it possible to put/show results to another cell? (i dont know what this method called/its name; or this cant be implemented in Excel)

    Lets say:
    A1 value is 0
    A2 value is 0
    A3 value is 0
    A4 value is 0

    When A1 value turn to 1
    A2 = 200
    A3 = 400
    A4 = 600

    Its something like this,
    if A1 =1, A2 = 200*A1 | A3 = 400*A1 | A4 = 600*A1

    A single cell that using fuction, and write the results into other cell

    Is it possible?
    THanks

  20. Joe Casillas says:

    Struggling with an If statement.

    =(IF(D4="S", ((H4-F4)/(F4-I4), (IF(D4="L",((F4-H4)/(I4-F4))))

    what I tried entering. keeps rejecting the formula.
    It's my trade journal and looking to determine risk rewad. So when I go Long it needs the L formula and Short the S.

    Appreciate any help

  21. Clay Youngkin says:

    Hi Alexander. I am blown away by the amount of answers you have addressed in this thread! Thank you for offering so much value out there...hoping that mine will be included ;-)

    I am trying to use an IF(ISNUMBER(SEARCH formula to perform a calculation based on whether a partial text match exists. I am wanting to pull the text from a cell and use that cell address in the formula to test for a partial match in another field. Otherwise I will be required to manually input the text multiple times throughout the formula. I'm having issues getting the formula to pull my text from a cell....for example:

    =IF(ISNUMBER(SEARCH("*b3*",B$15)), C$15, C$21) where the text I'm looking for is located in cell b3. Is there syntax that will accomplish this?

  22. Rama Narale says:

    THANKS
    USING YOUR IDEA I DONE MY FULL DAY WORK WITHIN 1 HOUR
    THANKYOU VERY MUCH

  23. M.Tucker says:

    Hello Alexander,
    If you are able to assist me with my request, it would be greatly appreciated. I am trying to have a cell be copied from sheet 1 to sheet 2 when an "if" value is met. For example:

    if a cell in the d column on sheet 1 reads "T", then I want the matching cell in e column to be copied to sheet 2.

    The context is, that when a task is Tabled (T), in my list of things done in that day (Sheet 1), then on the following sheet (Sheet 2), a list of future tasks will be created. As the task is completed, I would change the status on the original page, and the task would no longer be carried over to the corresponding cell on sheet 2 . This would assist me in organizing my weekly to-do list.

    Thank you for considering my request.
    M.Tucker

  24. Kaz says:

    Hi there
    I have what I believe a very simple comparison to make between two date columns:
    I want to compare column A2 and column B2 and have the formula tell me if A2 is less than B2.
    So far, what I'm using is giving me false results.
    I have tried:
    =A2<B2
    and also
    =IF (A2<B2,"Yes","No") but this also gave incorrect results.

    Example data:
    A2: 08/09/2020
    B2: 14/07/2020
    In this example the query about whether or not A2 is smaller than B2 should yield a "No" result but it is throwing out a "Yes" when it is clear that the A2 date is a greater date.

    My date format is DD/MM/YYYY.

    Can anybody help?

    • Kaz says:

      Hi all... please ignore my query! I've worked it out.

      Simply had to run Date - Text to Columns on my Date columns (already formatted as Date Format) in order to get the formula to compare the dates properly.

      Hope this helps someone else!

      cheers
      Kaz

    • Hi,
      Check your dates. I think that cell B2 is written as text, not as a date. Maybe the date format of 14/07/2020 does not match your Windows date format. Maybe the correct format is 07/14/2020. Check the date and time settings in the Control Panel.

  25. L'Oreal Eckwood says:

    Hi,

    I need help trying to create a formula that determines if the cell contains a numeric value or an alphanumeric value. If it is an alphanumeric value, leave it as is, but if it is a numeric value and letters. For example if 123456, then change to INV123456, and if INV123456 leave it alone.

  26. jjanardanan c m says:

    here is a digit X in B1. IFB1 80 it must be 80, otherwise x
    what is the formula? pls help

  27. inpa says:

    how do i write a formula for
    if a value on a cell is less than or equal 3.99sf on a particular column it should always show and calculate as 4sf on my h column

  28. Inpa says:

    how do i write a formula for
    if a value on a cell is less than or equal 3.99sf on a particular column it should always show and calculate as 4sf on my h column
    Reply

    Alexander Trifuntov (Ablebits.com Team) says:
    February 19, 2021 at 8:21 am

    Hello!
    If I got you right, the formula below will help you with your task:

    =IF(A1<4,4,A1)

    I hope this will help, otherwise please do not hesitate to contact me anytime.

    Hi
    Thank you for your response, it does work but i have assigned different formula already on cell, how can i apply your formula on an entire column, i tried this method and it doesnt work, by the way im doing all this on google sheet.

  29. Inpa says:

    would it be possible to have two formulas in one cell

  30. Jess says:

    Hi,

    I'm stuck with the following problem.

    I'm trying to work out loss and gain on a starting number so my formula is -

    =IF(C2<D2, "GAIN", "LOSS") and so on...

    However, It will always show "LOSS" in the cell when cell D2 is blank. I only want it to show LOSS if a number has been inputted in both cells. Would anyone know what I need to change for this?

  31. Levis says:

    How do I change a colum with (NO) to read (0) while Colum with (YES) to read (1),Column with (NOT RANGED) to read (-)

Post a comment



Thank you for your comment! When posting a question, please be very clear and concise. This will help us provide a quick and relevant solution to your query. We cannot guarantee that we will answer every question, but we'll do our best :)