If you have used any function in google sheets, then you must have come across the equal to “=” operator. It is a logical operator to determine whether two values in a formula are the same.

But sometimes you need to determine whether the two values are not the same. In such cases, you have the choice to use the “NE” function. But using Google sheets does not equal operator is easy and fast. Let’s see how to do it in under 60 seconds.

**Does not equal google sheets symbol**

In google sheets “<>” means “not equal to”. The “<>” operator checks if the two values are not equal to each other in a google sheet. It will output TRUE if they are not equal and FALSE if they are equal.

**Animation showing the same in action:**

In the animation right below, you can see the not equal google sheets operator in action.

In this guide, I will cover everything you need to know about the does not equal symbol in google sheets.

**Table of content:-**

Here is a video explaining the does not equal google sheets symbol and its use cases.

**Syntax**

value1 <> value2 Alternate: NE(value1, value2)

**Input**

value1 = The first value

value2 = The second value which you want to test against value1

**Return Value**

True – If value1 does not equal to value2

False – If value1 and value2 are same

**Example-1: Does Not Equal Google Sheets**

Below you have a few values listed in columns A and B. And in column C, you have the checks to see if A and B are not equal.

Next, the formula in the C3 cell will return FALSE as the values in A3 and B3 are the same.

Let’s see how the not equal operator works for text values or strings.

The not equal “<>” operator is case insensitive. It will compare two values by first converting them to lower case.

Below, in row 3, both the text “New York” and “new york” are the same.

In row 4, we have value1 as “New York” and value2 as “newyork”. In value2, the space is missing between the 2 words. So the result is TRUE which means they are not equal.

“Google sheets not equal “<>” operator is case insensitive”

**Use does Not Equal Google Sheets symbol with other formulas**

The “<>” operator is very handy in a lot of cases. But it’s more useful while using functions in google sheets. In the below sections, I will show you how to use the does not equal google sheets symbol with other formulas.

**IF formula and does not equal Google sheets symbol**

The IF function itself is a logical function but using it with the <> operator makes it more powerful.

The IF function checks a condition and outputs the result based on its true or false.

The syntax of the IF function is this:

=IF(condition, [value when true], [value if false])

In the above example, a mobile phone store sells both iPhones and Android phones. When a new stock of phones arrives, they segregate both and assign a salesperson to each.

The supervisor can use the below formula:

=IF(brand<>APPLE, “Larry”, “Steve”)

The formula above checks if the brand name equals APPLE. If it is not, then Larry will be assigned as the salesman. Else Steve will be assigned.

Write the formula in one cell and then drag it to fill. You will see the result below.

**COUNTIF function with does not equal Google sheets**

While the IF function tells us the result when a condition is met, the COUNTIF function in google sheets helps you count the number of such instances.

The COUNTIF function counts the number of cells that meet the condition in a range. If you want to count the number of cells that do not meet the condition, you can use the COUNTIF function with the not equal “<>” operator.

=COUNTIF(range you want to check, criteria)

Here the criteria parameter is a logical condition and it supports all the logical operators like “=”, ”<>”, ”<”, ”>”.

In the same example we used earlier for the IF function, let’s see how we can use the COUNTIF function with the “<>” operator.

In the below list, we have assigned salesmen to both types of phones, i.e android, and ios phones. Now let’s say the supervisor wants to know who is handling how many stocks.

Using the COUNTIF function with the “<>” operator, we get the result like this

**IFS function with does not equal Google sheets symbol**

The IFS function of google Sheets is unique in the way that it helps you evaluate multiple IF conditions in one cell.

Because the IFS statement is similar to the nested IF statement, the example below applies to the nested IF statements also.

The syntax for the IFS statement is:

=IFS(condition1, value1, [condition2, value2, …])

Since the condition is logical, here also we can use all logical operators.

Let’s see how we combine the not equal “<>” operator with IFS.

In the same example above, let’s say the supervisor wants to identify the premium phones. Assume that the iPhone and the Pixel phones are the premium ones. And the Samsung phones are Semi-Premium.

Here is what the formula of “IFS and <>” will look like:

**Does not equal Google Sheets symbol with the COUNTIFS formula**

You learned the COUNTIF function in the previous example. Similar to that function is the COUNTIFS function.

The COUNTIFS function counts the number of successful IFS condition checks.

The syntax for COUNTIFS is:

=COUNTIF(range1, value1, range2, value2)

Let’s see how you can use this with the operator not equal in google sheets.

In the same example as you have followed till now, let’s say the supervisor wants to know how many Samsung phones Larry has.

To find out this use the below formula

=COUNTIFS(C2:C7,"Larry",D2:D7,"Semi Premium")

Here is the result:

**Does not equal Google sheets operator with the AVERAGEIF function**

The **AVERAGEIF** function calculates the average of the cells that meets the logical condition.

So the formula is always applied to a range of cells.

The syntax for the AVERAGEIF function is

=AVERAGEIF(range, logical condition)

Here is a quick example of using the **AVERAGEIF** function with the google sheets “not equal” operator.

Below, A1 to A5 have numbers from 0 to 5. We want to calculate the average of all numbers that are not zero.

The formula looks like this

=AVERAGEIF(A1:A6,"<>0")

And the result is:

**Does not equal google sheets symbol with SUMIF function**

Similar to **AVERAGEIF** where you calculate the average, in the SUMIF function you will calculate the SUM.

The syntax is:

=SUMIF(range, logical condition)

For the same problem above, I want to calculate the sum of all numbers that are not zero. The formula will look like this

=SUMIF(A1:A6,"<>0")

And the result will look like this

**Specific use cases of the “<>” operator :**

**Google sheets not equal to blank**

One of the use cases while working on a large data set is to check whether a cell is blank.

Using the not equal operator we can check this. Here is the formula for checking if a cell is blank in Google Sheets.

=IF(cell<> “”, “Not blank”, “blank” )

Here is the example and you can see the result below.

Also, you can use the dedicated function in google Sheets for checking if a cell is blank. The function is called ISBLANK()

You can use this function like this

= ISBLANK(cell)

So in the above example, in cell B2, you can write =ISBLANK(A1). And the result will be TRUE

**Google sheets not equal to null**

Checking for null is the same as checking for blank. You can use the ISBLANK formula to check if the cell value does not equal to null.

**Google sheets not equal to text**

You can check for a text in a cell using the same formula above. Instead of checking for blank, you can check for the specific text or string.

The formula will look like this

=IF(cell<> “Text_To_Check”, “Not Found”, “Found” )

Here is an example and you can see it in action.

**Google sheet does not equal symbol and conditional formatting**

Now let’s see how to use the “does not equal” google sheet operator while doing conditional formatting.

Let’s say we have the below set of data

To apply conditional formatting, you can select all the data and select “conditional formatting” from the menu. You can reach there by going to Menu>Formatting>conditional formatting

Now a sidebar popup will appear. Here, you can define the custom formula for conditional formatting. The formula we are using is to check if a cell value does not equal 10.

After you have defined the formula, you can select the highlighting color and click done. You will see that except for the cells which contain 10, all others will be highlighted.

**Use does Not Equal Google Sheets symbol to check multiple values**

Let’s say you have a range of cells and you want to go through each cell comparing it with multiple criteria.

Say, there is a list of fruits and you want to check if the fruit in each cell is not equal to Banana and Orange.

You can use the IFs function with multiple criteria checks. We have discussed that earlier in this guide.

**Usage Tips:**

Note that the output of this operator is exactly the opposite of the equal to “=” operator which outputs TRUE if both are equal and false if they are not.

Also, you can call this a boolean operator because the output of this operator is either TRUE or FALSE.

**How to write the does not equal to symbol-using app script**

If you want to use not equal operator in your app script code, you can use either the “<>” operator or the most popular “!=” operator.

Here is an example:

if (a != “Pass”) {

a = “Fail”;

}

**FAQ**

**What is google sheets’ “not equal” operator?**

“<>” is the not equal operator in google Sheets.

**Is there an alternative formula to the google sheets not equal symbol?**

Yes, there is an alternative to the not equal operator. You can use the NE() function for comparing two values if they are not equal in google Sheets.

The formula is =NE(value1, value2)

**How do I evaluate google sheets not equal to string?**

To evaluate if a cell contains string, use the below formula.

=IF(cell<> “text_to_check”, “text_exist”, “text_does_not_exist”)

**What is the formula for inequality in google sheets?**

Inequality is the same as “does not equal to” in Google Sheets. So either you can use the not equal “<>” operator or the NE() function.

**Wrapping up**

In this tutorial, you learned about the google sheets not equal symbol and how to use this in different problems. The does not equal google sheets symbol is one of the 6 comparison operators available in google sheets. It is part of the logical function family in sheets.

**Here are the other comparison operators-**

Operator | Meaning |

= | Equal to |

<> | Not Equal To |

< | Less Than |

> | Greater Than |

<= | Less Than or Equal To |

>= | Greater Than or Equal To |

Appendix

[1] Click here for official documentation of Google sheets not equal to operator.

**Further Reading**

New to google sheets ? Start here

**More related to Logical functions:**

Logical functions in google sheets

Learn more about Google sheets Formulas.

Error handling in google sheets