How To Use The Excel Functions
TRUE And FALSE (Boolean Logic)

Written by co-founder Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist.

There are many functions in Microsoft Excel that are conditional by nature. They are based upon logical tests that result in either a TRUE or FALSE outcome.

These types of formulas are very powerful in their simplicity.

For example, you might manage a sales team. You may need to calculate whether each salesperson qualifies for a bonus.

You could do this by using a formula that returns TRUE or FALSE based on some sales threshold.

With that idea in mind, we are going to look at TRUE and FALSE on a deeper level.

We will perform all our examples in Microsoft Excel 2016 for Windows.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Boolean logic

Boolean logic is the formal description for the idea of TRUE and FALSE in this context.

Boolean logic is rooted in the idea of binary logic of 1s and 0s. In that sense, TRUE is synonymous to 1 while FALSE equates to 0.

Get your FREE exercise file

Before you start:

Throughout this guide, you need a data set to practice.

I’ve included one for you (for free).

Download it right below!

Download the FREE Exercise File

Download exercise file
Download free exercise file

Basic concept

The most basic example of Boolean logic in action is the IF function in Excel.

Recall that we could set up a formula where we test each salesperson’s sales figures.

That can output the correct commission based on a TRUE or FALSE outcome.

if-formulas

In the previous figure, note that we have an IF formula that tests the sales total values. It tests that against the value in cell B4 ($2,000).

If the sales total figure is greater than $2,000, the IF formula results in TRUE.

This is the second argument of the formula where we have placed the cell reference $C$4.

If the logical test comparing the sales total to the benchmark is TRUE, we want 15% to be the result of the formula.

If the formula evaluates to FALSE (meaning the sales total is less than $2,000), the formula will result in 10%.

This is a quick example of how common Boolean logic factors into formulas in Excel.

So, it is a good idea to understand as much about the nature of TRUE and FALSE in a wide context.

Other examples involving operations

Boolean logic allows us to understand if a statement is true or false.

While our first example of TRUE and FALSE in action was high level, let’s look at a simpler example.

For instance, we can type a logical expression into a cell as a formula and Excel will return either true or false.

cell-resolution

There are several expressions in the previous figure. They all result in either TRUE or FALSE.

As long as you enter the expression as a formula, Excel will test them based on the operator. For example:

=(2=2)

Since we know that 2 does equal 2, it follows that Excel returns TRUE as the result. The expression 1 > 0 is also true and Excel confirms this as well.

Note also that we can evaluate expressions involving text as well as calculations. For example:

=(”a”=”b”)

This is a powerful concept to understand.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

The TRUE and FALSE functions

There are TRUE and FALSE functions in Excel as well.

For instance, if you type “=TRUE()” into a cell, it will return the value TRUE.

If you type “=FALSE()” it will return FALSE. There is no need to use these functions in standard situations.

They exist for the sake of compatibility with other spreadsheet applications.

That said, it is worth looking at what these functions actually do. All we have done up to this point is explain the concept behind the TRUE and FALSE functions themselves.

true-false-functions

As we mentioned before, Boolean logic is a binary system of 1s and 0s at its core.

This means that TRUE is equal to a value of 1 while FALSE is 0.

We can use this fact to make calculations in formulas. For example, we could perform the following calculations.

true-false-calcs

In the previous figure, we have a formula that multiplies the result of our TRUE and FALSE formulas by 25.

In the case of TRUE, it multiplies 25 by 1. In the case of FALSE, it multiplies 25 by 0.

This can be useful when integrated into larger formulas.

Some of these ideas may seem odd and even pointless. But, conditional and logical functions are common in Excel.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Thus, a thorough understanding of Boolean logic is imperative.

Conclusion

We hope that the depth to which we have covered TRUE and FALSE has given you a better sense of their impact.

We believe it can broaden your understanding of Boolean logic and that is integral to building stronger formula skills in Excel.

2019-03-28T15:26:47+00:00