I'm currently working in a Google sheet where I use the following formula to catch duplicate values with conditional formatting:


While this works on its own, I find that it does not account for duplicate values I do not want to be counted. In column O, I have values marking the row as "Canceled". So I want to have Google sheets only conditionally format cells if the following criteria are met:

  • The value in column B has a duplicate


  • Neither duplicate value has the word "canceled" in column O for that row.

This is the formula I tried, but it no longer formats duplicates:


I think what this has done has told the logic to not format duplicates unless there are no instances of "canceled" in column O.

  • 1
    @user0 It's generally okay to leave UK spellings ("cancelled") intact when editing. Not a big deal, but just something to be mindful of.
    – jonsca
    Jul 18, 2018 at 0:07

2 Answers 2


Solved my own question, in a bit of a brute force method. Since Google sheets was a bit iffy about letting me do an AND statement on ISNUMBER(SEARCH()), I added 3 helper columns which I hid:

  • Column P =ISNUMBER(SEARCH("Cancelled",$O2)) *Checking for Cancelled on in a string TRUE/FALSE
  • Column Q =IF($P2=TRUE,1,0) *Returns 1 in any column with TRUE for Cancelled
  • Column R =$Q2+$B2 *Adds a 1 to any order number where the previous formula returns a 1

I then used =countif($R:$R,R2)>1 and applied it to column B.


I believe the following formula, entered into the Conditional Formatting dialog as "Custom formula is" would do the trick alone (i.e., no need for hidden helper columns):


One note: This formula will, in effect, cancel itself if there is a one-to-one correlation between one duplicate that is not canceled and one duplicate that is. However, in the case that there were multiple non-cancelled duplicates (say, three non-cancelled and one cancelled), then there is not a one-to-one match and all non-cancelled duplicates will be highlighted (since, without further information here, there is no way for Sheets to know which is the match.

If you only ever have a max of two duplicates in Column B, this formula should work fine.

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