How to use the Excel functions TRUE & FALSE (Boolean)

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.

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, let’s dive into how to actually get to TRUE/FALSE 🤿

Both with and without the TRUE function and the FALSE function.

If you want to tag along, download the sample workbook here.

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.

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.

excel true false concept in if formula example

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.

logical value expression table and their true and false results

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:


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:


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.

formula attempting to use the TRUE and FALSE function in Excel

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 functions to automatically generate true or false

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.

That’s it – Now what?

Now, you have a good understanding of what TRUE and FALSE really are, in Excel.

Additionally, you can now use the TRUE function and the FALSE function – both very helpful when used together with other logical functions.

But you need to pair this understanding with some of the really useful functions in Excel, such as: IF, SUMIF, and VLOOKUP.

Join my free 30-minute online Excel course here, and learn those 3 useful functions. We’ll send the course to your inbox right away 📧

Other resources

TRUE and FALSE are generally used in conjunction with other logical functions such as the IF function, nested IF functions, and conditional formatting.

Frequently asked questions

Got any specific questions about TRUE and FALSE?

Read below and you may find your answer😊

In Excel:

1 = TRUE


This is used in a variety of situations, but whenever there’s a boolean check, you can write either TRUE or 1, or FALSE or 0.