Learn the Google Sheets SWITCH Function [In 10 Minutes]

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about the Switch function in Google Sheets and when to use it instead of the IF formula.

What Is the Google Spreadsheet Switch Function

A SWITCH in Google Sheets is very similar to a nested IF function. However, combining multiple IF expressions to create nested IF functions can be confusing and slow down your spreadsheet’s performance. SWITCH has the advantage that the syntax is very simple, and anyone can easily monitor according to the data in the spreadsheet.

SWITCH analyzes the logical phrase and matches it with one of the possible cases. Returns the value specified in that case statement. The default value is returned if there are no matching cases.

Google Sheets SWITCH Syntax

Before we look at how Google Sheets’ SWITCH works, let’s take a look at its syntax. The syntax is:

=SWITCH(exp, case1, val1, [case2, val2], [default])

Now that we’ve seen the syntax of the SWITCH expression for the first time, let’s take a look at its parameters and what they mean.

  • exp: This parameter represents an expression, a value, or a reference to a cell containing an expression or value. The function tests this expression to see if it matches.
  • case1: This is the value the function will compare the exp parameter to. This parameter is required for the function to work.
  • val1: This parameter defines the value returned if the case1 parameter matches the exp parameter. This parameter is also required for the formula to work.
  • case2: Like the case1 parameter, this is the value that the function compares to the exp parameter. This parameter and the other case parameters below are optional.
  • val2: Like the val1 parameter, this parameter defines the value returned if the case2 parameter matches the exp parameter. This parameter and any other val parameters that follow are optional.
  • Default: This optional parameter defines the final output. Returned if none of the defined cases match the expression.

How to Use Google Sheets Switch Statement

In this example, there are 1 to 5 corresponding to grades. You can also see some student names and grades next to them. I would like to display the grade next to the name. In this case, we use the SWITCH function to do this.

Let’s see the steps we need to follow to do this:

  1. The first thing we need to do is write the opening part of the expression. This includes adding the equal sign (=) sign and starting formulas.
  2. You need to add the Switch function keyword and the left parenthesis. The formula is =SWITCH(

  1. The first parameter to add is an expression. In this case, it is cell B2 that contains the student’s grade.
  2. next, we need to add the case and val parameters. In this example, we have 5 cases, so we need to add 10 parameters. Adding them, the formula becomes: =SWITCH(B2, J2, K2, J3, K3, J4, K4, J5, K5, J6, K6)

As you can see in the image, I have 10 students I want to add grades to. Doing this manually is very tedious and error prone. However, using the Google-recommended autofill feature not only shifts the exp parameter forward, it also shifts the case and val parameters, producing undesirable output.

to fix this, I would like to prevent the case and val parameters from changing even if the exp parameter changes. To do this, use absolute references. To do this, add a dollar sign ($) next to the row and column constants. In other words, a cell reference like A1 becomes $A$1 when converted to an absolute reference.

After converting the example formula to use suggested autofill, the formula looks like this:

=SWITCH(B2, $J$2,$K$2,$J$3,$K$3,$J$4,$K$4,$J$5,$K$5,$J$6,$K$6)

Spreadsheets can often contain data that does not match the defined cases. In this case, you can specify default parameters to be displayed if no match is found.

A default parameter is added as the last parameter in the expression. Must be enclosed in quotation marks. In this example, we’ve added a parameter that displays an “invalid evaluation” message if no expression matches the specified case.

Differences in IFS, IF, and SWITCH Formula

Although the three functions look similar at first, there are some key differences that make one function better than the other.

SWITCH Explanation

With the SWITCH function, the function returns the value corresponding to the case. In the example above, the function matched the student’s grade with the grade specified in the grade key. If the results of the comparison match the student’s evaluation, the grade is displayed.

The function can return a default value if the test does not find a matching case. This value is optional and can be added as the last quoted parameter. In the example above, this option resulted in an “invalid rating” message. If no parameters are added, the formula will display a #N/A error.

IFS Explanation

Using the IFS function works like a SWITCH and evaluates some condition. Then the value of the first case is returned as true.

However, the IFS function differs from the SWITCH function because it cannot return a value immediately if there is no match. This can be done with a workaround, but it can be a hassle for many users.

IF Explanation

The IF function is very similar to IFS because it returns a value if the expression is true and another output if the logical expression returns false. However, IF has only two outputs: true or false. If you want to check multiple conditions, you have to nest the functions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Google Sheets Have a SWITCH Function?

Yes, there is a SWITCH function that works with the following syntax:

=SWITCH(exp, case1, val1, [case2, val2], [default])

What Does the Google Sheets Switch Function Do?

To change the behavior of a cell based on the value of another cell, use the SWITCH function in Google Sheets. Very useful for viewing and understanding data. Think of the SWITCH function as a function that tests some IF condition to understand its behavior.

What Is the Syntax for SWITCH Google Sheets?

The syntax for SWITCH is =SWITCH(exp, case1, val1, [case2, val2], [default]) . At least three parameters are required for this formula to work.

The Exp parameter represents a formula, a value, or a reference to a cell containing a formula or value that returns a value.

The case parameter is the value of the function to compare the exp parameter with.

The Val parameter defines the value returned if the case parameter matches the exp parameter. A default parameter is an optional parameter that defines the last parameter to be returned if none of the defined cases match the expression.

Should I Use IF, IFS or SWITCH?

Use IF when you want to evaluate the data logically. The IF function works like SWITCH, but can be used in logical expressions such as greater than or less than. However, SWITCH can be a convenient alternative if you want to find an exact match for a condition in your dataset and avoid using several long and complicated nested IF functions. I have. The IF function is very suitable for finding values ​​when partial matches with wildcards are involved.

When Shouldn’t You Use Switch in Sheets?

There are several situations in which SWITCH should not be used in Google Sheets. For example, when comparing a number to a list of text values. Alternatively, you can use the IF function. Also avoid SWITCH if you have more than two criteria to compare. All conditions can be compared at once using the IFERROR function.

Wrapping Up the Google Sheets Switch Function Guide

This guide explained what the SWITCH function does and when you should use it. This powerful feature has many applications, but remember that in some cases it is better to use IF or IFS. Let me know in the comments if you need more information.

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