Logical Operators in Excel:
Equal to, Not equal to, Greater than, Less than (+much more)

Written by co-founder Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist.

Most of the operators you use in Excel are probably mathematical, like +, -, *, and /.

But there’s another set of useful operators: the logical operators.

Statements like “greater than,” “less than or equal to,” and “not equal to” can be very useful when you’re analyzing data.

These comparison operators return a TRUE or FALSE value that can be used with logical functions to give you even more options.

Let’s take a look at each one of these operators, and then see how you can use them with the IF function.

A note about logical operators

It’s important to remember that comparison operators, instead of returning a numeric value, return TRUE or FALSE.

We’ll see how you might use these values in a bit.

Also keep in mind that Excel treats TRUE as a 1, and FALSE as a 0. So if you need to, you can use the results of logical operators in numerical operations!

And, finally, note that logical operators compare values. No matter how the value in a cell was created (whether you typed it in directly or it was created with a formula), these operators compare those values. Not the formulas.

Get your FREE exercise file

Using these operators is very simple, but in case you want to follow along, we’ve created an example workbook that you can use.

Download it for free below!

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BONUS: Download the Logical Operators Exercise Workbook File to go along with this post.

Equal to (=) and not equal to (<>)

These operators are simple: they tell you whether two values are equal or not equal to each other.

Here’s what you need to know.

The equal to (=) and not equal to (<>) operators

The equal to operator returns TRUE if the two values being compared are identical, and FALSE otherwise.

The not equal to operator returns FALSE if the two values are identical, and TRUE otherwise.

Keep in mind that these operators work with text; we’ll see how in just a moment.

First, we’ll try out the equal to operator.

In cell C2, type the following formula:

=A2=B2

Then press Enter.

equal-to-operator

This operator resolves to TRUE, because 1 and 1 are identical.

Let’s try the not equal to operator in the next row. This row contains text, but the operator will work just as well as it would if we were comparing numbers.

Type this formula in cell C3:

=A3<>B3

Then hit Enter.

not-equal-to-operator

Again, we get TRUE, because “Blue” and “Red” aren’t identical.

The next two rows both contain values that weren’t entered directly, but were created by formulas.

Try using these two operators on those cells.

Spoiler: you’ll get the same results as before, because these operators compare values, and not formulas.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Pro tip: logical operators can take formulas as arguments.

In our examples, we’re comparing simple values. But you can also use formulas in these operators.

For example, you could use something like this:

=A2>SUM(B1:B4)

Greater than (>) and less than (<)

These two operators compare the size of two different values and return TRUE or FALSE depending on which is larger.

The greater than (>) and less than (<) operators

The greater than operator returns TRUE if the first value compared is larger than the second.

The less than operator returns TRUE if the first value is smaller than the second.

Both operators will return FALSE if the values are equal.

Also, it’s worth noting that you can use the greater than and less than operators with text, and Excel will compare the value of the first letters in the words.

A is equal to 1, B is equal to 2, and so on. If the first letters are identical, the second letters will be compared—and Excel will continue working down the line.

The next block of values in the example workbook gives you plenty to play with using the greater than and less than operators.

We’ll look at a couple specific comparisons so you can see how they work.

First, lets’s compare two values generated by different formulas. In cells A9 and B9, we have =80+1 and =70+8.

We’ll compare them using the greater than operator. Here’s the formula:

=A9>B9

greater-than

This resolves to TRUE, because the value in cell A9 is larger than the value in B9. Excel doesn’t look at the formula: only the values.

Let’s see what happens when we compare the words “Arctos” and “Azimuth” with this operator.

greater-than-text

In this case, we get FALSE. When Excel compares the first two letters, they’re the same, so it moves onto the next letter.

Z is later in the alphabet than R, so the second word is considered to be “larger.” And because of that, we get FALSE.

Greater than or equal to (>=)
and less than or equal to (<=)

By now, you probably have a good idea of what these operators do. Here are the basics:

The greater than or equal to (>=) and less than or equal to (<=) operators

The greater than or equal to operator returns TRUE if the first argument in the statement is larger than the second or if the two are equal.

The less than or equal to operator returns TRUE if the first argument is smaller or the two are equal.

Like the greater than and less than operators, these can also be used on text values.

You probably have a very good idea of how to use these logical operators, so I won’t bore you with an extended example.

Instead, look at the third section of values in the example workbook and try using both operators on different types of values. See what happens!

Using logical operators
with the IF function

One of the most common places you’ll see these logical operators used is inside the IF function.

As we pointed out in our guide to logical functions, IF checks a condition, and if it’s true, returns a specified value.

That condition will often contain a logical function. Let’s take a look at an example.

First, click into cell D7.

Then type the following formula:

=IF(A7>B7, “The first value is greater”, “The second value is greater”)

if-greater-than

After you hit Enter, you’ll see the text “The first value is greater.”

The IF function checked to see whether the logical condition (A7>B7) was true (it was), and then displayed the value_if_true.

If that condition had been false, it would have displayed value_if_false, the second string in the formula.

Try writing your own IF function that finds a false condition and displays the value_if_false using the example workbook!

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Wrapping things up…

Logical operators are easy to use—especially when you’ve seen how they work with different types of numbers.

And they’re even more useful when combined with the IF function.

If you’re not using logical operators yet, you should be!

2019-05-16T10:46:25+00:00