Excel OR Function - Microsoft Excel OR Function Tutorial

Excel OR Function - Microsoft Excel OR Function Tutorial

Excel OR Function - Microsoft Excel OR Function Tutorial

The OR Functions purpose is to calculate TRUE or FALSE based upon a set of criterion (conditions) that you provide it. This function is used heavily with the IF function as its first argument.

What is the Microsoft Excel OR Function?

The OR function is a computer program that you run from a worksheet cell formula. Its purpose is to calculate TRUE or FALSE based upon a set of criteria (conditions) that you provide it. If one criteria is TRUE then OR returns TRUE, if both criteria are FALSE then it returns FALSE. You run the OR function by typing its name in a formula then followed by the information it is suppose to use. The OR worksheet function is generally used to evaluate multiple TRUE/FALSE questions at once. It can be used by itself in a formula or nested inside another function that requires a TRUE/FALSE answer for one of its arguments. The OR worksheet function is used by itself quite often as a flag, usually evaluating worksheet data organized in a table indicating whether a row meets certain requirements. For example, say you have a row of data on the worksheet and you wanted to know if that row had either tow rep names in it. You could use the OR function to evaluate those conditions and return a TRUE/FALSE in a column. You could then use Excel's AutoFilter to filter on the TRUE/FALSE values in that column. The OR function is also commonly nested as the first argument to the IF function providing it the capability to evaluate multiple conditions at once. It is a key player in developing worksheets that can think for themselves.


How Do You Type the OR Worksheet Function in a Formula?

Whenever you type a formula in a worksheet cell, this is called syntax or grammar. The general OR function syntax has a format like this when you type it in a worksheet cell:

=OR(logical1, [logical2], ...)

Where logical1, [logical2], ...is called the function argument list. Remember, you are running a computer program at this point so the program needs information to operate and that is why there is an argument list. When you see an argument list and you see square brackets [ ] around the argument name, this means the argument is optional and you do not have to include it when typing unless you need it. So for the syntax above, you need to include 1 argument for the OR function when typing it in a worksheet cell formula in order for it to calculate correctly. What argument value can be used is discussed below. Remember functions expect certain things in their argument lists, if you do not put the correct information in the list they will generate an error when run.


OR Worksheet Function Argument Definitions


How Do You Run the OR Function?

Since the OR function is a computer program, it runs when you press Enter to enter the formula that contains it. If any of the arguments are wrong, the function will return an error.


What Do I Type for an OR Function Argument?

When typing the OR function in a worksheet cell formula, you need to replace the logical argument with something that generates TRUE/FALSE. Some typical arguments you can use are:

Argument Type Cell Formula Example Explanation
Cell Reference = OR(A1 <= 1, A1 >= 3 ) OR determines if one of the values calculated by the formulas A1<=1 or A1>=3 are TRUE returning TRUE if one is TRUE.
Nested Functions =OR( ISBLANK( A1 ) , ISBLANK( A2 ) ) OR determines if the values calculated by the formulas ISBLANK(A1) or ISBLANK(A2) are TRUE returning TRUE if one is TRUE. Use the IS functions to determine the values of a cell like, blank, number, text, error...etc. *
Formulas =OR( B6*B7 < 400, B6*B7 > 800 ) OR determines if the values calculated by the formulas B6*B7<400 or B6*B7>800 are TRUE returning TRUE if one is TRUE.
Cell and Range Names =OR( ISERROR( Sub ), ISERROR( Tx ) ) OR determines if the values calculated by the formulas ISERROR(Sub) or ISERROR(Tx) are TRUE returning TRUE if one is TRUE. Use the IS functions to determine the values of a cell like, blank, number, text, error...etc. *

* It is possible to name a cell or group of cells on a worksheet and use that name in place of a range reference or cell reference. Consult Excel help on how to name a cell.


Additional OR Function Examples

The worksheet seen below contains some typical worksheet formulas that run the OR worksheet function. Pay close attention to the argument list and the syntax used to write the formula.

A B C
1 Part# Manufacturer  
2 x =IF( OR( A2="x" , A2 ="y" ) , "ACME", "Unknown" ) Typical use of the OR function is to find multiple values that mean the same thing. The IF function takes this result and either outputs ACME if it is x or y and Unknown if it is neither
3 y    
4 x    
5 z    

Things to Know About the OR Function

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