How to Use “Not Equal” in Query (Google Sheets Query)

Last Updated on October 31, 2023 by Jake Sheridan

In this tutorial, you will learn how to use “Not Equal” using a Google Sheet Query.

How to Use “Not Equal” in Query (Google Sheets Query)

The Query function in Google Sheets is the program’s most powerful and flexible feature. With this versatile tool, you can use data commands to change the data in Google Sheets. The majority of pivot table functionality may be duplicated by this single function, which takes the place of numerous others.

“Not equal” in Google Sheet Query generally means using comparison operators instead of an equal sign. In Google Sheet Query, the two comparison operators are <> and !=.

In Query, you can employ either the operator <> or !=. Both provide the same “Not Equal” result. Hence, these two operators can be used interchangeably.

Once ready, we’ll get started by utilizing real-world examples to show you how to use “Not Equal” using Google Sheets Query.

Understand Google Sheets Query

Before using an example, you will need to understand how does a Google Sheets query work.

=QUERY(data, query, [headers])

Google Sheets query requires 3 arguments:

  1. the data range you want to look at
  2. the query you want to run, in quotation marks
  3. an optional number indicating the number of header rows in your data

Use “Not Equal” using Google Sheets Query

Before we begin we will need a group of data to be used for the Google Sheets query formula.

Step 1

Know which row we want to exclude from the entire data range. In this example, we want to select only the rows that do not equal Food Chain.

Step 2

To begin the query formula, we select an empty cell to input the formula. In this example, it will be E2. Then, we will insert an equal symbol followed by ‘QUERY’ and an open bracket. There will be a blue question mark at the side, you can click on it to reveal the arguments needed for this function to work.


Step 3

Next, we insert our argument. We will select A1: C17 as our data range, which is our first argument. Then, we will insert “select * where A != ‘Food Chain’ ”, which is our second argument. Always remember to close any formulas with a closing bracket to signify that the formula is now complete.


Step 4

Once you press Enter, the rows that do not equal ‘Food Chain’ from column A will appear. It will look something like this.


Take Note!

  1. Google Sheets Query is sensitive to upper and lower case, hence if you typed ‘food chain’ instead of ‘Food Chain’, the function will still return any rows containing ‘Food Chain’.
  2. The data returned from the Query function will not be formulated. You can edit the data to your preferences.


That’s all there is to it. You are welcome to copy the example spreadsheet below to see how it is done. The most crucial lesson is to enjoy yourself while doing it.

Example Spreadsheet: Make a copy of the example spreadsheet

In this tutorial, I covered how to use “Not Equal” using a Google Sheet Query. Want more? Check out all the Google Sheets Tutorials.