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Excel’s IF function is a key resource for any business looking to make their spreadsheets and workbooks more efficient.


The main purpose of this function allows the user to set up conditions within their data, so that one outcome is achieved if the condition is true, and a different outcome if the condition is false. The IF function can be isolated as a singular condition, or where numerous criteria are ‘nested’ together to resolve more complex scenarios.

The standard formula for an IF statement is: =IF(logic_test, value_if true, value_if_false)

Analysing the above Excel IF formula, we can see that IF statements have three main parameters: logical_test, value_if true and value_if false. Logical_test states a condition. Value_if true sets an affirmative answer. Value_if false sets an alternative answer.

Using the Excel IF formula

We can apply this formula using a few example situations:

Isolated IF function:

Let’s say a business wants to assign bonuses to their staff based on their salary. They can set a rule that says if the value of a cell A1 is greater than or equal to 50,000 (salary), then the value of a cell in the second column displays 5,000 (bonus) – otherwise, display nothing.

The Excel IF formula would look like this:

=IF(A1>=50000, 5000, “”)

Once the function is applied properly to an entire column, Excel also automatically displays the total value of all staff bonuses. This makes is far easier to calculate the scale of cost involved.


Nested IF function:

 When multiple IF functions are applied within a spreadsheet, this is known as nesting functions together. Staying with the same example, let’s say that a business wants to set several bonus conditions at once based on staff salary – low bonus, medium bonus and high bonus.

If the value in cell A1 is greater than 50000 then the displayed value will be “high bonus”. If the A1 value is greater than 30000 then display “medium bonus”. Otherwise, display “low bonus”.

The Nested IF formula:

=IF(A1>=30000;“medium bonus”&IF(A1>50000;“high bonus”;“low bonus”)

As you can see, it’s easy for nested IF functions to become more of a challenge as part of more complex scenarios; however, investing in the functionality of a spreadsheet in this way ultimately leads to greater workbook efficiency in the long-run.

If you’re looking to gain more knowledge about IF functions and the variety of ways in which they can optimise data management, get in touch with our team of expert Excel consultants today on 0161 883 2655.


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