I was working in a shared Google Doc Spreadsheet this week and needed to figure out how to use `if` statements. It turns out it’s pretty simple!

Here is a support.google.com post on if statements. And here is a more-advanced, view-only Google Doc I found that outlines some more advanced options like `=AND()` and `=SUMIF()`. But here’s a quick example with the basic `IF`:

The general example is:

``````=IF(logical_expression, value_if_true, value_if_false")
``````

Let’s say we’re got column A full of both positive and negative numbers. Then in column B we want it to say “Yes” if that row has a positive number or a 0 in its A column, and “No” if column A is negative.

In B1 we’d write something like `=IF(A1>=0,"Yes","No")`, then we’d drag that formula down the B column. The Ruby equivalent of this would be something like:

``````if (A1 >= 0)
"Yes"
else
"No"
end
``````

But what if we wanted it to say “Neutral” when the A column is 0? Effectively this:

``````if (A1 > 0)
"Yes"
elsif (A1 == 0)
"Neutral"
else
"No"
end
``````

To accomplish this `elsif` structure with the Google Spreadsheet `IF`, you have to do something like this:

``````=IF(A1>0,"Yes",IF(A1=0,"Neutral","No"))
``````

As you can see, to utilize an `elsif` you need to nest an `IF` into the `value_if_false` part of the master `IF` statement. It makes sense, but it can certainly get messy if you have a lot of them.