Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Using the IF Worksheet Function.

# Using the IF Worksheet Function

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 8, 2020)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003

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 (2347) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) 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. ...

##### MORE FROM ALLEN

Moving Drawing Objects

When you need to move a drawing object around your document, you use the mouse after you select the object. This tip ...

Discover More

Accurate Font Sizes

Want to get your typeface exactly the right size? Here's how you can specify just the size you want Word to use.

Discover More

Want to add lots of tools to your Quick Access Toolbar? Word allows you to do so, seemingly without limit. This tip ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

Nesting IF Worksheet Functions

The IF worksheet function is very handy to make conditional evaluations. You are not limited to a single IF comparison, ...

Discover More

Leaving a Cell Value Unchanged If a Condition Is False

Ever want the IF function to only return a value if the condition it is testing is true, and not if the condition is ...

Discover More

Colors in an IF Function

You can use the IF worksheet function to test for a number of different conditions or values. You can't use it to check ...

Discover More
##### Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. Youâ€™ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is two less than 3?

2015-12-26 08:45:56

James McMichael

Note that the IF statement can also be nested up to seven times to test multiple conditions. For example IF(A<B, C, IF(A<C, A, C)) and so on. If nested more than seven deep the last FALSE condition will always be returned. When necessary to go deeper than seven nested IF statement one can use cell referencing to add additional levels of embedding. Note that in many cases there will be more efficient ways to test conditions once beyond a certain point.

##### This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.