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Microsoft

Excel troubleshooting challenge: Why is C4 returning FALSE?

Can you figure out why why a seemingly perfect IF() function returns the wrong result?

This challenge was originally published in November 2011, and remains one of the most popular challenges we ever published.

A user sends you a workbook with a simple IF() function that compares the text in two cells. If the two values are the same, the IF() function returns TRUE. When they don't match, the IF() function returns FALSE. Simple, right? It should be, but there's a fly in this one. Two cells (A4 and B4) contain the same text value, but the IF() function returns FALSE. Any idea what the culprit is?

There's more than one possibility, so we made the downloadable example available.

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

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