Does Not Equal In Excel

Productivity Software

When working with Excel, the “does not equal” operator can be a highly useful tool for comparing data. This operator is represented by “<>” and is used to determine if two values are not equal to each other. This can be particularly handy when dealing with large datasets or complex spreadsheets. In this article, I’ll delve into the intricacies of the “does not equal” operator in Excel and provide practical examples of its usage.

Understanding the “Does Not Equal” Operator

The “does not equal” operator in Excel allows you to compare two values and check if they are not identical. It’s denoted by the symbol “<>” and is commonly used in conjunction with logical functions such as IF or COUNTIF. When this operator is applied, it returns TRUE if the values being compared are not equal and FALSE if they are equal.


If I want to compare the values in cells A1 and A2 to check if they are not equal, I would use the formula:

=IF(A1<>A2, "Not Equal", "Equal")

Practical Uses of “Does Not Equal” Operator

One common application of the “does not equal” operator is in data validation. For instance, if you have a list of sales figures and you want to identify the sales representatives who did not meet a certain target, you can utilize the “does not equal” operator within a COUNTIF function to flag those instances.

Another use case is in conditional formatting. You can apply conditional formatting rules based on the “does not equal” operator to visually highlight discrepancies or outliers in your data.

Personal Experience

In my own experience, I’ve found the “does not equal” operator to be invaluable when cross-referencing data from different sources. It has helped me quickly identify inconsistencies or discrepancies in the information I work with, allowing me to address and rectify them effectively.


Mastering the “does not equal” operator in Excel opens up a world of possibilities for data analysis and manipulation. Whether it’s for comparing values, setting conditions, or highlighting discrepancies, this operator plays a crucial role in ensuring the accuracy and reliability of your Excel work. By understanding its functionality and incorporating it into your workflows, you can streamline your data management processes and make well-informed decisions based on accurate comparisons.