Published On: July 19th, 2021|5.4 min read|

Excel OR Function | One of the most useful Excel functions

When working with Excel, sometimes you need to decide whether to perform an action or not. In these cases, Excel logical functions come in handy.

OR is one of these functions, and we are going to discuss it in this tutorial.

Excel Logical Functions

First things first, let’s see what logical functions are in Excel and what they do.

We use the logical functions in Excel to test whether a condition is true or false. They allow us to check a cell’s content or perform an action such as a calculation or further tests.

Excel provides eleven logical functions. Some of these functions check if a condition is true or false and return either TRUE or FALSE; some can take a command such as a formula to run based on the conditions. They can also combine multiple conditions.

Excel OR Function

Excel OR function is a basic logical function that is used to compare two or more conditions. Like the other logical functions, it returns either TRUE or FALSE. Now, let’s see how it works.

The syntax of the function is as below:

=OR(logical1, [logical2], …)

As you can see in the function’s syntax, it takes logical values as input arguments. In fact, the arguments are conditions in a test which we want to compare.

If at least one of the conditions is TRUE, the OR function returns TRUE as the result. Otherwise, it returns FALSE.

Helpful Notes about the OR Function

  1. Like the other logical functions in Excel, the OR function can take numbers as input arguments. It evaluates zero as FALSE and other numbers as TRUE.
  2. The function ignores empty cells if used as input arguments.
  3. If the function cannot evaluate an argument as a logical value, it returns the VALUE error.

Example: look at the image below to see how the function works:

How to use the OR function in Excel

OR as an Array Formula

Sometimes, you need to compare a large number of cells. In this case, you have to use OR in an array formula.

Imagine you have a dataset of growth percentage in your products’ prices, and you want to know if any of them has grown at least 90%.To find this out, type “=OR(D2:D15>=90)” and press Alt+Ctrl+Enter.

How to use the OR function as an array formula in Excel

Note: If you do not enter the formula as an array formula, the function will return FALSE unless you type it in the same row as the cell that has a value more than or equal to 90.

How to use the OR function as an array formula in Excel

Combination of OR Function with Other Logical Functions

As we mentioned earlier, the logical functions get the logical values as arguments and return logical values (except for the IF function). So, we can always combine them to make decisions about more complex conditions.

A few examples of combining the OR function with other logical functions are brought below.

Combination of OR and AND Functions

Like the OR function, the AND function returns a logical value. If all of the arguments are true, it returns TRUE, otherwise FALSE. So we can use the AND function as an argument in OR function and vice versa.

Example: Assume that you want to find out the amount of money Kasper has earned by selling and any other one who earned between 60000 to $80000.

The following formula will get it out.


How to use the OR and AND functions in Excel

As another example, assume that you want Fords sold by Andreas and Kasper from the data.

The formula below will do the job.


How to use the OR and AND functions in Excel

IF OR Statement

Using the IF function, you can test a condition and make a decision to return a result if the condition is true or false. Now, if you want to test multiple conditions and just one of them being true is enough, you can use the OR function inside the IF function.

Example1: assume that you want to characterize a number of materials using three tests, i.e., XRD, FTIR, and SEM. If you apply all three, you can determine if they are synthesized correctly.

The formula below returns “not enough” if you have applied all three characterization tests and returns nothing if at least one of them has not been done yet.

=IF(OR(B2="",C2="",D2=""),"not enough","")

How to use OR in an IF statement in Excel

Example2: You can also do a calculation to get a result.

Imagine that you want to calculate the commission you have to pay to your agents. If they have sold more than 90000 dollars or made more than 20 percent profit, you want to pay them 50 percent of the whole money they earned. If not, they will get 25 percent.

So you use the OR function to see if they meet at least one of the conditions as below:


How to use OR in an IF statement in Excel


1. Is OR a function or operator in Excel?

An operator is a symbol that does a calculation or a comparison between data. Operators do not take arguments in Excel, while functions take at least one argument. Excel has four types of operators: arithmetic, comparison, text, and reference.
The OR function is a logical function in Excel that takes logical values as arguments and returns either TRUE or FALSE.

2. How many conditions does the OR function take?

The OR function takes up to 255 logical conditions as arguments; each must be either TRUE or FALSE or translated as TRUE or FALSE.

3. When to use the OR function and when the AND function?

You use the OR function to see if at least one of the given conditions is true; you use the AND function to see if all of your conditions are true at the same time.

Bottom Line

In this blog, we introduced the OR function, which is proven to be one of the useful logical functions provided by Excel. Now, you have gained more insight on how to use the function properly and combine it with other functions, as we explained.


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