# Using the "does not equal" operator in Excel

If you're familiar with logical functions in Excel, you've probably used

But there are some situations in which you may need to figure out whether two values are *not* equal to one another. This is possible using the *not* equal. Read on to find out how.

## The "does not equal" operator

Excel's "does not equal" operator is simple: a pair of brackets pointing away from each other, like so: "**<>**". Whenever Excel sees this symbol in your formulas, it will assess whether the two statements on opposite sides of these brackets are equal to one another. If they are not equal, it will output

Let's take a look at the "does not equal" operator in action to see how we can use it in a simple formula:

=6 <>8

Output:TRUE

The above formula outputs

=45 <>45

Output:FALSE

This formula outputs

Of course, "<>" doesn't have to be used on numbers. It can also be used on strings of text. Can you tell why the following formulas output the given results?

="Boston" <>"San Francisco"

Output:TRUE

="New York" <>"New York"

Output:FALSE

=RIGHT ("Boston, MA" ,2 )<>"MA"

Output:FALSE

Hint: For the last example above, you'll have to read up on how the

## Combining <> with IF statements

The "does not equal" operator is useful on its own, but it becomes most powerful when combined with an

The spreadsheet above shows a list of SnackWorld's office locations around the country. The company's headquarters is in New York, and all of the other offices are local. A SnackWorld manager wants to add a column to the spreadsheet that dynamically outputs whether a given office is the company headquarters or a local office.

To do so, we could use the following formula:

=IF (B3 <>"New York" ,"Local office" ,"Headquarters" )

Output:"Local office"

Note that this formula outputs

Note that the above formula could be rewritten as follows, using the equals operator (=) but switching the order of the

=IF (B3 ="New York" ,"Headquarters" ,"Local office" )

Output:"Local office"

Is there any advantage to using the "<>" operator instead of the equals sign? Definitely. When you're using

## Other logical operators

If you found this article useful, consider taking a look at our full article on logical operators. We'll teach you how to use the full range of logical operators, including "greater than" and "less than", in your formulas.

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