In a previous post in this series, we briefly looked at the if statement in Power Query; now, we’re going to dig a bit deeper and understand how the Power Query if statement works.

In Excel, IF is a core function; it’s one of the first functions we learn and remains popular for advanced users. If logic enables us to compare values and follow different paths depending on the result of that comparison.

In a previous post, we looked at Functions in Power Query, but we didn’t cover a Power Query IF function. Surely there is an if function?… right?… well, kind of.

To use Power Query if logic, we need a programming-based approach rather than the function-based approach we find in Excel. You will be familiar with this method if you’ve ever programmed VBA or other languages. However, this may be new to you if you’re coming from a purely Excel world.

There are two ways to create this type of conditional logic in Power Query:

- Using the Conditional Column feature for basic scenarios
- Writing M code for more advanced scenarios

We’ll cover both in this post.

**Download the example file**

I recommend you download the example file for this post. Then you’ll be able to work along with examples and see the solution in action, plus the file will be helpful for future reference.

Download the file: **Power Query If statement.xlsx**

## Basic if statement syntax

The Power Query if statement syntax is different to Excel.

In Excel, the IF function has the following syntax:

`IF(logical_test, value_if_true, [value_if_false])`

**logical_test**– The condition you want to test.**value_if_true**– The value to return if the result of logical_test is TRUE.**value_if_false**(optional) – The value to return if the result of logical_test is FALSE. Where not argument provided the value returned if False.

However, in Power Query, the syntax is:

**if **logical_test **then** value_if_true **else** value_if_false

So, if you are coming from an Excel world, you might initially think of this as an IF function with the following adjustments:

**remove brackets**- change the
**first comma**to**then** - change the
**second comma**to**else** - change
**IF**for**if**

Once you’ve been through it a few times, you’ll get the hang of it. The Power Query syntax has the added advantage of sounding like a standard sentence, making it easier to read than the Excel equivalent.

One key point to be aware of is that Power Query is case sensitive; **if**, **then,** and **else** must be lowercase.

## Scenario

The **Power Query If statement.xlsx** example file contains just one Table, which has already been loaded into Power Query. Then an additional **Day Name** column was added to that query.

To view the query, click **Data > Queries & Connections** from the ribbon, then double-click the **Sales Data** query in the **Queries & Connections** pane.

In this example, we will be calculating the value assuming the following:

**Scenario 1**: Sundays have an additional 10% premium (requires basic logic)**Scenario 2**: Sundays have an additional 10% premium, with two products (Tiger & Farmhouse Bloomer) also attracting a 5% discount on that day (requires advanced logic).

## Power Query If statement using a conditional column

Let’s start with Scenario 1 and use the Conditional Column feature in the user interface.

### Example 1 – Basic if statement

In our first scenario, we want to add a 10% premium for sales on Sunday.

To use a Conditional Column, click **Add Column > Conditional Column** from the ribbon.

Enter the following options on the **Add Conditional Column** dialog box:

**New Column Name:**% Premium- If
**Day Name**equals**Sunday**then**0.1**else**0** - Click
**OK**to accept the formula.

We now have our query with the conditional column:

Also, take a look at the formula bar; this matches the syntax we saw earlier:

`= Table.AddColumn(#"Inserted Day Name", "% Premium", each if [Day Name] = "Sunday" then 0.1 else 0)`

### Conditional Column options

We have only used a few options in the **Conditional Column** dialog box in the scenario.

Depending on the data type of the selected column in the **Column Name** field, the operators change:

Text | Number | Date |

Equals Does not equal Begins with Does not begin with Ends with Does not end with Contains Does not contain | Equals Does not equal Greater than Greater than or equal to Less than Less than or equal to | Equal Does not equal Is before Is before or equal to Is after Is after or equal to Is in the next Is in the previous Is earliest Is latest Is not earliest Is not latest Is in year |

A nice feature about the add Conditional Column dialog box, we can click the **123ABC** button to insert column values, or parameters, instead of hardcoded values.

### Example 2 – Complex if statement

In scenario 2, Sundays have a 10% premium, and two products have a 5% discount. This adds the complexity of additional conditions.

Also, we can create as many nested if statements as we want by clicking the **Add Clause** button in the Conditional Column dialog box.

If statements execute each condition in turn. Where the first if statement is not triggered, it moves to the second, then the third, and so on. However, once an if statement evaluates to true, the remaining logic is skipped over.

If we try to use the** Conditional Column** feature with two or more conditions, things can get tricky. So we need to think differently about the logic.

The following would provide the relevant logic for our scenario:

### Conditional Column Limitations

As demonstrated above, **Conditional Columns** are helpful for basic scenarios. But are limited for advanced uses. Some of the limitations are:

- Using multiple conditions with
**and**or**or**logic is not possible. - Unable able to use the
**not**operator to reverse the true/false result - Can only return the results specified. Additional query steps are required to use the result of the if statement.

Therefore, we must write the M code ourselves inside a Custom Column for more complex scenarios.

## Power Query if statement by writing the M code

Don’t worry; I know M code can seem daunting. I believe in you. You can do this 😁

We have already seen the basic syntax of writing an if statement:

**if **logical_test **then** value_if_true **else** value_if_false

Unless we have a simple scenario, we will likely encounter **nested if**, including **and** and **or** logic. So, let’s take a look at each of these.

After we have looked at the syntax, we will apply them to our two scenarios.

### Nested if statements

Often we may want to test sub-conditions; for this we use a nested if statement.

**Note: **The line spacing has been added in many of the examples. This is to make the code easier to read, but it is not necessary for the code to be valid.

The following syntax tests logical_test1. If true, the value_if_true is returned; otherwise, logical_test2 is tested, which leads to another test with two possible results.

**if **logical_test1 **then** value1_if_true **else**
**if** logical_test2 **then** value2_if_true **else** value2_if_false

In the nested if above, there are 3 possible outcomes. But in more complex scenarios, there could be any number of outcomes.

For example, the syntax below handles a sub-condition inside the first true result, and multiple sub-conditions inside the first false result.

**if **logical_test1 **then**
**if** logical_test2 **then** value2_if_true **else** value2_if_false
**else**
** if **logical_test3 **then** value3_if_true **else**
**if **logical_test4 **then** value4_if_true **else** value4_if_false

This illustrates that we can create complex logic when we write the M code.

### Using “And” logic

**“And**” logic allows us to perform multiple logical tests inside a single if statement. All the tests must be **true** for the **true** result to be returned. If any of the tests are **false**, the **false** result is returned.

The syntax below performs two tests using **and** logic.

**if **logical_test1 **and** logical_test2 **then** value_if_true **else** value_if_false

### Using “Or” logic

**“Or”** logic performs multiple logical tests, but only requires a **single true** response to return the **true result**. All tests must be **false** to return the **false** response.

The syntax below returns the **true** result **if** either logical_test1 **or** logical_test2 is** true**. Otherwise, it returns the **false** result.

**if **logical_test1 **or** logical_test2 **then** value_if_true **else** value_if_false

### Using “Or” and “And” – order of precedence

When using both **or** and **and** logic in a single if statement, which evaluates first?

Look at the statement below. Will it return “True” or “False”?

**if** 1=1 **or** 2=2 **and** 1=3 **then** "True" **else** "False"

It is useful to think of the operators as mathematical items

**or**= addition**and**= multiplication

Also, think that:

**True**= 1**False**= 0

When we think like this, normal mathematical precedence can be used (i.e., multiplication occurs before addition).

- 1=1 = True = 1
- 2=2 = True = 1
- 1=3 = False = 0

The mathematical calculation becomes: 1 + 1 * 0 = 1

Therefore, the result is **True**.

In these types of scenarios, I advise using brackets (or parentheses, as you may call them) to simplify the order of calculation.

### Alternative comparison operators

In all our examples, we have used **equals** as the logic operator, but we can use the other logical operators too.

**=**: Equals**<>**: Not equal to**>**: Greater than**>=**: Greater than or equal to**<**: Less than**<=**: Less than or equal to

### Not operator to reverse value

The final piece of the logic syntax is the **not** statement. **Not** reverses the true/false result from the logic test.

For example, the syntax below reverses the result of the logical test. If the result of the logical test is true, it is reversed to false and vice versa.

**if not **logical_test **then** value_if_true **else** value_if_false

With all this knowledge, we can start writing our own if statements using M code.

### Example 3 – Basic if statement

Let’s revisit Scenario 1. We aim to add a 10% premium for all sales on Sunday.

Add a **Custom Column** to the table by clicking** Add Column > Custom Column**

Enter the following:

**New Column Name: **% Premium

**Custom column formula**:

`=if [Day Name] = "Sunday" then 0.1 else 0`

Remember to pay close attention to the words **if**, **then,** and **else**; they must all be lowercase. Power Query is case-sensitive, so if we get this wrong, the formula will not work. Also, notice Power Query highlights these words in blue to show that they are keywords.

Hopefully, you will agree that this is an intuitive method of writing an if statement.

That’s it. Click **OK** to add the new column to our query.

### Example 4 – Complex if statement

Next, let’s revisit Scenario 2. Sundays have a 10% premium, and two products have a 5% discount.

There are multiple ways to write this formula. Based on our data set, there are three possible results for this scenario:

- Sunday premium & product discount
- Sunday premium only
- No premium or discount

**Solution #1: Nested if + Or**

```
=if [Day Name] = "Sunday" then
if [Product] = "Tiger"
or [Product] = "Farmhouse Bloomer" then
0.05
else
0.1
else
0
```

**Solution #2: And, Or + Nested if **

Here is another solution we could try.

```
if [Day Name] = "Sunday"
and ([Product] = "Tiger"
or [Product] = "Farmhouse Bloomer")
then
0.05
else if [Day Name] <> "Sunday"
then
0
else
0.1
```

**Solution #3: Nested if only**

We could use similar logic to the **Conditional Column** we created earlier

```
=if [Day Name] <> "Sunday" then 0 else
if [Product] = "Tiger" then 0.05 else
if [Product] = "Farmhouse Bloomer" then 0.05
else 0.1
```

Power Query always defaults to using the** Conditional Column** dialog box if it can. Therefore, if we use the formula above, then edit the step, Power Query will open the** Conditional Column** dialog box rather than the **Custom Column** dialog box.

**Solution #4: Using Power Query functions**

Finally, as we have a list of two products, we could use a function that returns a true/false result. In the example below, we use the List.Contains function.

```
=if [Day Name] = "Sunday"
and List.Contains({"Tiger", "Farmhouse Bloomer"}, [Product]) then 0.05 else
if [Day Name] = "Sunday" then 0.1
else 0
```

Find out more about List.Contains here: https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/powerquery-m/list-contains

There are many ways we could address this solution. The methods above provide examples of the various approaches we could take.

### Common if statement syntax errors

The **Custom Column** dialog box provides a syntax check at the bottom. However, the error messages can be challenging to understand. Here is a list of the most common error messages and what they mean.

**Token Eof expected**– The word**if**is not in lower case and not recognized by Power Query.**Token Then expected**– The word**then**is missing or not all in lowercase.**Token Else expected**– The word**else**is missing or not all in lowercase.**Invalid literal**– The double quotes of a text string have not been closed**Token internal expected**– The logical_test, value_if_true, or value_if_false arguments are missing, or a formula contained within these arguments is incomplete.

## Conclusion

Conditional logic with a Power Query if statement is different. Once we understand the syntax, it’s not difficult to understand; it just requires practice.

**Read more posts in this series**

- Introduction to Power Query
- Get data into Power Query – 5 common data sources
- DataRefresh Power Query in Excel: 4 ways & advanced options
- Use the Power Query editor to update queries
- Get to know Power Query Close & Load options
- Power Query Parameters: 3 methods
- Common Power Query transformations (50+ powerful transformations explained)
- Power Query Append: Quickly combine many queries into 1
- Get data from folder in Power Query: combine files quickly
- List files in a folder & subfolders with Power Query
- How to get data from the Current Workbook with Power Query
- How to unpivot in Excel using Power Query (3 ways)
- Power Query: Lookup value in another table with merge
- How to change source data location in Power Query (7 ways)
- Power Query formulas (how to use them and pitfalls to avoid)
- Power Query If statement: nested ifs & multiple conditions
- How to use Power Query Group By to summarize data
- How to use Power Query Custom Functions
- Power Query – Common Errors & How to Fix Them
- Power Query – Tips and Tricks

**About the author**

Hey, I’m Mark, and I run Excel Off The Grid.

My parents tell me that at the age of 7 I declared I was going to become a qualified accountant. I was either psychic or had no imagination, as that is exactly what happened. However, it wasn't until I was 35 that my journey really began.

In 2015, I started a new job, for which I was regularly working after 10pm. As a result, I rarely saw my children during the week. So, I started searching for the secrets to automating Excel. I discovered that by building a small number of simple tools, I could combine them together in different ways to automate nearly all my regular tasks. This meant I could work less hours (and I got pay raises!). Today, I teach these techniques to other professionals in our training program so they too can spend less time at work (and more time with their children and doing the things they love).

**Do you need help adapting this post to your needs?**

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- Read other blogs, or watch YouTube videos on the same topic. You will benefit much more by discovering your own solutions.
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