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How to highlight cells if not in another column in Excel?

In a worksheet, normally, you may need to compare two columns and highlight the cell values in a column which are not in another column to outstanding the results as following screenshot shown. And this article, I will talk about some good tricks to deal with this job.

doc highlight if not in list 1

Highlight cells if not in another column with Conditional Formatting

Highlight cells if not in another column with Kutools for Excel



In Excel, the Conditional Formatting feature can help you to highlight the different values between two columns, please do as follows:

1. Select cells in List A where you want to highlight the values not in List B. And then click Home > Conditional Formatting > New Rule, see screenshot:

doc highlight if not in list 2

2. In the popped out New Formatting Rule dialog box, select Use a formula to determine which cells to format under the Select a Rule Type section, and then enter this formula:=ISERROR(MATCH(A2,$C$2:$C$14,0)) into the Format values where this formula is true text box, see screenshot:

doc highlight if not in list 3

Note: In the above formula: A2 is the first cell of the column that you want to highlight the different values, C2:C14 is another column range you want to be compared with.

3. Then click Format button, in the popped out Format Cells dialog box, please select one color under the Fill tab, see screenshot:

doc highlight if not in list 4

4. And then click OK > OK to exit the dialogs, and all the values in List A but not in List B have been highlighted in List A at once, see screenshot:

doc highlight if not in list 5

Note: On the other side, if you want to highlight the different values in List B, you just need to select the List B and apply this formula =ISERROR(MATCH(C2,$A$2:$A$15,0)) into the Conditional Formatting function.


If you have Kutools for Excel, with its Select same & Different Cells utility, you can quickly highlight the different or same values from the two columns.

Kutools for Excel : with more than 300 handy Excel add-ins, free to try with no limitation in 60 days. 

After installing Kutools for Excel, please do as follows:

1. Click Kutools > Select > Select Same & Different Cells, see screenshot:

doc highlight if not in list 06

2. In the Select Same & Different Cells dialog box, please specify the following operations:

(1.) Select the two columns that you want to compare from the Find values in and According to boxes separately;

(2.) Select Each row under the Based on section;

(3.) Choose Different Values form the Find section;

(4.) Then choose a background color or font color that you want to highlight the values under the Processing of results.

doc highlight if not in list 07

3. And then click Ok button, and the values in List A but not in List B have been selected and highlighted at once, see screenshot:

doc highlight if not in list 08

Note: To highlight the different values in List B, you just need to switch the range references in the Find values in and According to in the dialog box.

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Kutools for Excel: with more than 200 handy Excel add-ins, free to try with no limitation in 60 days. Download and free trial Now!


Related articles:

How to check / find if value exists in another column?

How to compare two columns and list differences in Excel?

How to compare two columns and highlight when found in another column?


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  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Steve · 1 years ago
    Is it possible to have one of the ranges reference another sheet? Having a hard time pulling this off.
    • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
      Donald · 1 years ago
      =ISERROR(MATCH(E2,MyValues,0))


      Just define your range with Name Manager and reference it in the above code. The range can exist on any sheet in workbook.



      Or if you like to just reference a range manually without a name then... Types is the name of the other sheet in the same workbook.

      =ISERROR(MATCH(E2,Types!A5:A51,0))


      Another approach could be ...

      =IF(COUNTIF(MyValues,E11)>0,"BINGO it Exists","Name NOT in List")


      Again I am using a named range here but you can substitute it with reference from another sheet as example from above.

      Thanks,
      Don
    • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
      skyyang · 1 years ago
      Hi, Steve:
      Yes, with the Kutools for Excel's Select Same & Different Cells feature, you can quikly compare two ranges from two worksheets, you just need to seelct one range in a worksheet, and select another range in another worksheet. Please try it. Hope it can help you!
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    cbw · 1 years ago
    I made sure the columns were of the same format and tried again and it worked. Thanks.
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    cbw · 1 years ago
    The =iserror formula did not do anything for me. It just put an icon on the sheet. Nothing got highlighted and no error. Is there something else I was supposed to do? I'm running Excel 2013.