How do you use the IF function in a spreadsheet?

In this tutorial, we’re going to explore the IF function, one of the most powerful and versatile tools in spreadsheets like Excel or Google Sheets. The IF function is like a tiny decision-maker for your spreadsheet, helping you answer questions and make calculations based on certain conditions. Let’s dive right in! 

Imagine you’re a small business owner, and you’re tracking the sales performance of your team. You want to offer a bonus to anyone who sells more than $10,000 worth of products in a month. The IF function is perfect for this scenario. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to using the IF function: 

1.  First, set up your data

Let’s say you have a table like this: 

  Name  Sales  Bonus 
1  Alice  $9,000   
2  Bob  $12,000   
3  Carol  $11,000   


2.  Click on cell C2, where you want the bonus result for Alice to appear. 

3.  Type in the following formula and press “Enter”:

=IF(B2>10000, “Bonus”, “No Bonus”) 

This formula can be broken down into three parts:

  • B2>10000: This is the logical test. It checks if the value in cell B2 (Alice’s sales) is greater than $10,000. 
  • “Bonus”: This is the value returned if the logical test is TRUE. In this case, if Alice’s sales are more than $10,000, she will get a “Bonus.” 
  • “No Bonus”: This is the value returned if the logical test is FALSE. If Alice’s sales are not more than $10,000, she will get “No Bonus.” 

Once you’ve entered the formula, you’ll see the result for Alice. In this case, it’s “No Bonus.” 

To apply the formula to the other team members, simply click on cell C2, grab the small square at the bottom-right corner (called the “fill handle“), and drag it down to cell C4. This will copy the formula to the other rows and adjust it automatically for each team member. 

You should now have a complete table that looks like this: 

  Name  Sales  Bonus 
1  Alice  $9,000  No Bonus 
2  Bob  $12,000  Bonus 
3  Carol  $11,000  Bonus 

And that’s it! You’ve successfully used the IF function to determine who gets a bonus based on their sales performance. You can use the IF function for countless other scenarios, like grading students, comparing prices, or even combining it with other functions to create more complex formulas.