You can use the custom formula function in Google Sheets to apply conditional formatting to cells that are not equal to a specific value.
The following example shows how to use the custom formula function in practice.
Example: How to Use “Not Equal” in Conditional Formatting
Suppose we have the following dataset in Google Sheets:
Suppose we’d like to highlight each of the cells in the Team column where the corresponding values in the Points For and Points Against columns are not equal.
To do so, we can highlight the cells in the range A2:A11, then click the Format tab, then click Conditional formatting:
In the Conditional format rules panel that appears on the right side of the screen, click the Format cells if dropdown, then choose Custom formula is, then type in the following formula:
Note: The symbol <> represents “not equal” in Google Sheets.
Once you click Done, each of the cells in the Team column where the corresponding values in the Points For and Points Against columns are not equal will be highlighted:
By default, Google Sheets uses a light green background as the conditional formatting style.
However, you change the conditional formatting to appear however you’d like by changing the default settings in the Formatting style box.
The following tutorials explain how to perform other common tasks in Google Sheets:
Google Sheets: Conditional Formatting if Another Cell Contains Text
Google Sheets: Conditional Formatting if Another Cell is Not Empty
Google Sheets: Conditional Formatting from Another Sheet
Google Sheets: Conditional Formatting Based on Checkbox