Tuesday Tip: “IF” only Excel could

By: Chase Petersen

Excel is widely used across just about every business sector so I find it useful to continue educating myself on how to best use the program.  The more formulas and shortcuts you can master the more useful, and better you will be at excel.

One formula I found to be very useful is the “If” statement formula.  It works by looking at a cell value in a true/false point of view and outputting the corresponding response.  For example you could write: =IF(B2<=50,”Fail”,”Pass”).  Which would calculate if B2 is Less than 50 it would respond with the text Fail and if it was greater than it would respond with the text Pass.

The beauty of this formula is that it is highly customizable – the first section is a logic test, the second is the positive response, and the third is the negative response.  You can use this formula in just about any way you see fit.  Once you start to understand how to use the formula, a very useful trick is to nest IF statements.  Nesting is where you create an if statement, logic test, and positive response but in the negative response you create another IF statement.

By nesting you can create If statements that deal with more than two options.  The nested IF statement can handle more than a “if this/if not this” and converts to a “if this/then this/then this” which can be used in a multitude of ways to make your excel sheets flow.


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