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If Statement

If Statement

The if() statement is the most basic of all programming control structures. It allows you to make something happen or not depending on whether a given condition is true or not. It looks like this:

if (someCondition) {
   // do stuff if the condition is true

There is a common variation called if-else that looks like this:

if (someCondition) {
   // do stuff if the condition is true
} else {
   // do stuff if the condition is false

There's also the else-if, where you can check a second condition if the first is false:

if (someCondition) {
   // do stuff if the condition is true
} else if (anotherCondition) {
   // do stuff only if the first condition is false
   // and the second condition is true

You'll use if statements all the time. The example below turns on an LED on pin 13 (the built-in LED on many Arduino boards) if the value read on an analog input goes above a certain threshold.

Hardware Required

  • Arduino Board
  • (1) Potentiometer or variable resistor
  • (1) 220 ohm resistor
  • (1) LED
  • hook-up wire


click the image to enlarge

image developed using Fritzing. For more circuit examples, see the Fritzing project page


click the image to enlarge


In the code below, a variable called analogValue is used to store the data collected from a potentiometer connected to the Arduino on analogPin 0. This data is then compared to a threshold value. If the analog value is found to be above the set threshold the LED connected to digital pin 13 is turned on. If analogValue is found to be < threshold, the LED remains off.


  Conditionals - If statement
 This example demonstrates the use of if() statements.
 It reads the state of a potentiometer (an analog input) and turns on an LED
 only if the LED goes above a certain threshold level. It prints the analog value
 regardless of the level.
 The circuit:
 * potentiometer connected to analog pin 0.
 Center pin of the potentiometer goes to the analog pin.
 side pins of the potentiometer go to +5V and ground
 * LED connected from digital pin 13 to ground
 * Note: On most Arduino boards, there is already an LED on the board
 connected to pin 13, so you don't need any extra components for this example.
 created 17 Jan 2009
 modified 9 Apr 2012
 by Tom Igoe

This example code is in the public domain.

// These constants won't change:
const int analogPin = A0;    // pin that the sensor is attached to
const int ledPin = 13;       // pin that the LED is attached to
const int threshold = 400;   // an arbitrary threshold level that's in the range of the analog input

void setup() {
  // initialize the LED pin as an output:
  pinMode(ledPin, OUTPUT);
  // initialize serial communications:

void loop() {
  // read the value of the potentiometer:
  int analogValue = analogRead(analogPin);

  // if the analog value is high enough, turn on the LED:
  if (analogValue > threshold) {
    digitalWrite(ledPin, HIGH);
  else {

  // print the analog value:
  delay(1);        // delay in between reads for stability

See Also:

  • if()
  • if...else
  • analogRead()
  • digitalWrite()
  • serial.begin()
  • serial.print()
  • For Loop - Control multiple LEDs with a For Loop.
  • While Loop - Use a While Loop to calibrate a sensor while a button is being pressed.
  • Switch Case - Choose between a number of discrete values in a manner that is the equivalent of using multiples If statements. This example shows how to divide a sensor's range into a set of four bands and to take four different actions depending on which band the result is in.
  • Array: a variation on the For Loop example that demonstrates how to use an array.

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