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I would like to populate a column R with the value YES, if another column N has a value of NO.

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Use IF: http://spreadsheets.about.com/od/otherspreadsheets/qt/090808-google-spreadsheet-if-function.htm

The syntax for the IF function is: =IF ( test, then_true, otherwise_value ).

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In order to populate an entire column, you must use the IF function in combination with an ARRAYFORMULA. Add the following formula in R1:

Formula

=ARRAYFORMULA(IF(N:N="NO","YES", ""))

Explained

It says, that if column N has an entry named "NO", then add "YES" in the corresponding R column. If the above criterion isn't met, then show nothing (""). The ARRAYFORMULA will make it possible to use a complete column range.

Example

I've prepared an example file for you: using IF

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