How To Use Conditional Formatting to Compare Two Columns in Google Sheets

Last Updated on November 2, 2023 by Jake Sheridan

In this tutorial, you will learn how to use conditional formatting to compare two columns in Google Sheets.

How To Use Conditional Formatting to Compare Two Columns in Google Sheets

Google Sheets makes it easy to format your data based on certain criteria, using what is called conditional formatting.

One common use case for conditional formatting is to highlight cells that contain data that are in a different column. This can be helpful if you want to compare two columns of data and see which values are different.

For example, let’s say you have a list of names in one column and another list of names in a second column. You want to highlight the cells in the second column that do not match the first column.

In this guide, we will show you how to use conditional formatting to compare two columns in Google Sheets.

How To Compare Two Columns Using Conditional Formatting in Google Sheets

Here’s how to compare two columns using conditional formatting in Google Sheets.

Step 1

First, highlight both columns that you want to compare. In this example, we’ll be comparing numbers in Column A and Column B.

Step 2

Next, select the Conditional formatting option under the Format menu drop-down list.

Step 3

Next, click on the drop-down list under the label ‘Format cells if…’

Step 4

Select the option labeled ‘Custom formula is’. This option enables us to specify a custom Google Sheets formula as a rule for conditional formatting.

Step 5

We must first type the custom formula for the conditional formatting rule. In this case, we want to highlight rows where the values in column A and column B do not match. To achieve this, we’ll use the formula ‘=$A2<>$B2’.

After typing the formula, you may now specify how cells should be highlighted when conditions are met. Click the ‘Done’ button to proceed.

Step 6

The selected range should now highlight cells where the values in both columns differ.

Step 7

We can highlight rows where the two columns are similar by changing the formula. The green formatting below follows the custom formula ‘=A2=B2’.

Summary

This guide should be everything you need to use conditional formatting to compare two columns in Google Sheets.

You may make a copy of this example spreadsheet to test it out on your own.