How to use the OR function in Excel

In this article, we will learn How to use the OR function in Excel.

What is the OR function used for ?

OR function is logical operator. Whenever we deal with multiple values at one time, we need to check whether we need to consider different things. If you need the return value True wherever any row can have this or that. For example matching multiple employee IDs. Using OR function you can provide as many criteria you like and if any one those criteria is True. The function returns TRUE.

OR Function in Excel

OR function only returns TRUE or FALSE.


=OR(logical1, [logical2], [logical3], …)

logical1 : First criteria

[logical2] :


Example :

All of these might be confusing to understand. Let's understand how to use the function using an example. Here we have some coloured balls and we need to test the condition to check whether the ball is valid or not.

Use the formula in B2 cell.



Function checks either Red ball or White ball is valid for the match to be played.

So it checks the cell A2 for the same.

As it returns False means it doesn’t have either Red or White.

Use the Ctrl + D option to check the cells corresponding to it.

As we can see in the above snapshot it returns True for the cells having Red or White coloured ball.

You can apply it to check on the range of cells to test whether any of the cell returns True or not.

Use the formula


Note: Don’t forget to use Ctrl + shift + Enter to get the result. Curly brackets will be visible in the formula bar (fx) of the cell.

Use Ctrl + Shift + Enter to see the result

It returns True. It means that A2:A10 range cells have either White or Red ball.

You can check less than or greater than condition on numbers. OR function can also be used along with many function like IF, AND and many more.

IF with OR function

We have a list of months and need to know in which quarter it lay.

Use the formula to match the quarter of the months


=IF(OR(A4=”Jan”,A4=”Feb”,A4=”Mar”),”1st Quarter”,IF(OR(A4=”Apr”,A4=”May”,A4=”Jun”),”2nd Quarter”,IF(OR(A4=”Jul”,A4=”Aug”,A4=”Sep”),”3rd Quarter”,IF(OR(A4=”Oct”,A4=”Nov”,A4=”Dec”),”4th Quarter”))))

Copy the formula in other cells, select the cells taking the first cell where the formula is already applied, use shortcut key Ctrl +D

We got the result.

You can also use the SUMPRODUCT function if you are comfortable with it. How to use the SUMPRODUCT function in Excel

Here are all the observational notes using the OR function in Excel
Notes :

  1. Different criteria must be separated using comma ( , )
  2. Operations like equals to ( = ), less than equal to ( <= ), greater than ( > ) or not equals to ( <> ) can be performed within a formula applied, with numbers only.

Hope this article about How to use the OR function in Excel is explanatory. Find more articles on checking values and related Excel formulas here. If you liked our blogs, share it with your friends on Facebook. And also you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook. We would love to hear from you, do let us know how we can improve, complement or innovate our work and make it better for you. Write to us at

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  1. I need a formula that will check each cell in a range and only apply highlight to the entire range IF none of the cells are blank. I am having a difficult time wrapping my brain around the verbiage and logic. I read something about needing to use ctlr + shift + enter - dynamic range?? Is this true? And what is it? I have been avoiding trying to learn VBA/Macros but fear that may be my only solution if there is not a way to highlight ranges based on my criteria. Can you help? I have tried COUNTA, IFS, and a little bit of macros without much success.

    • You don't need to use array formula or VBA to do this work. Use this formula in conditional formatting,

      and add the highlights you want to do.

      If any of the cells are blank in your range than the formula will be false and nothing will happen. Else the highlights will work.

      Although it does not requires Array formula, it would be greate to learn what they are. It will help you:

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