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Identifying Duplicate Values in an Excel List

(/pro le/david-ringstrom) David Ringstrom, CPA (/pro le/david-


ringstrom)
Feb 8th 2013  42

F
rom time to time, you may need to identify duplicate values with a list in
Excel. Modern versions, including Excel 2007 and later, provide this
capability with just a few mouse clicks.

For good measure, I'll also describe a worksheet function-based approach that
works in any version of Excel.

As shown in Figure 1, you can easily identify duplicate invoice numbers in a list.
To do so:

Select the range of cells you wish to test. One way to do so is to click on a
single cell and then press Ctrl-A.
On Excel's Home tab, choose Conditional Formatting, Highlight Cells Rules,
and then Duplicate Values.
Click OK within the Duplicate Values dialog box to identify the duplicate
values.
Duplicate values in the list will now be identi ed.

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(/sites/default/ les/Duplicates---Figure-1.jpg)
Figure 1: Excel's Conditional Formatting feature makes it easy to identify
duplicate values in a list.

You can then isolate just the duplicates, as shown in Figure 2:

Right-click on one of the duplicate cells, choose Filter, and then Filter by
Selected Cell's Color.
This collapses the list to show just the duplicate values, which you can copy
and paste to another worksheet, or otherwise manage, as shown in the inset
in Figure 2.

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(/sites/default/ les/Duplicates---Figure-2.jpg)

Figure 2: Excel 2007 and later o er the ability to lter cells based on color.

To remove the conditional formatting, one approach is to click the Conditional


Formatting button, choose Clear Rules, and then Clear Rules from Entire
Worksheet, as shown in Figure 3.

(/sites/default/ les/Duplicates---Figure-3.jpg)

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Figure 3: You can easily clear conditional formatting from a worksheet in Excel
2007 and later.

If you're using Excel 2003,  you don't have the ability to lter by color, but you
can isolate duplicate values by way of the COUNTIF worksheet function.
COUNTIF has two arguments:

Range: This is a range of two or more cells that you wish to test.
Criteria: The value that you're seeking within the range.

Building on the example shown in Figure 1, you can add the following formula
to cell C2:

=COUNTIF(A:A,A2)

Once you've entered the formula, double-click on the Fill Handle in cell C2 to
copy the formula down the column. The Fill Handle is the little notch that most
users drag down a column when copying formulas.

You can then lter the list for any values greater than 1:

Excel 2007 and later

1. Click on cell A1 and then choose Filter on the Data tab of Excel's ribbon.
2. Click the Filter arrow in cell C1, choose Number Filters, and then Greater
Than.
3. Enter 1, and then click OK to lter the list to for duplicate values.

Excel 2003 and earlier  

1. Click on cell A1, then choose Data, Filter, and then AutoFilter.
2. Click the Filter arrow in cell C1 and then choose Custom.
3. Change Equals to Greater Than, Enter 1, and then click OK.
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4. Read Part 2 of this series (/article/identifying-duplicate-values-excel-list-


part-2/222287) to learn more ways to identify duplicate items an Excel
spreadsheets.

About the author:

David H. Ringstrom, CPA heads up Accounting Advisors, Inc., an Atlanta-based


software and database consulting rm providing training and consulting services
nationwide. Contact David at david@acctadv.com (mailto:david@acctadv.com).
David also presents monthly Excel webcasts
(http://www.cpelink.com/instructor/detail.php?i=73&s=f38j2xd) for AccountingWEB
partner CPE Link.

Tags Excel (/tags/excel)

About David Ringstrom, CPA

(/pro le/david-ringstrom)
David H. Ringstrom, CPA, is an author and nationally
recognized instructor who teaches scores of webinars each
year. His Excel courses are based on over 25 years of
consulting and teaching experience. His mantra is “Either you
work Excel, or it works you.” David offers spreadsheet and
database consulting services nationwide.

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By anon Jun 26th 2015 01:11

Neat. Take a look at ASAP Utilities for a collection of handy tricks such as this.
It's been a real time saver.

 Thanks (1) (/technology/excel/identifying-duplicate-values-in-an-excel-


list# aglink)

By David Ringstrom to Authors response Jun 26th 2015 01:11

Anon, yes, there are numerous free and paid utilities that can enhance
Excel, but I tend to focus exclusively on built-in functionality as not
everyone has the wherewithal or ability to install add-ins.

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By navneet Jun 26th 2015 01:11

ultimate..!!! i've been wandering for hours just to detect duplicate values in my
list of 2595 values. haha.. got 9 duplicates. Thankssssssssssssssssss...

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By matteo to DellaCarol Murphy Jun 26th 2015 01:11

try 20,000 values, almost 1,000 of which are dupes. wow, that was awful

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By David Ringstrom to BigVeteran Jun 26th 2015 01:11

I'm glad you both found my article helpful!

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By Mohd Yasir to hannahlucy Jun 26th 2015 01:11

Hi David,
Please with your work.
i have a problem with my worksheet i have total 45000 lines and in which
we have repetaed data in one column.
with di erent values in corresponding cell.
i have another sheet that have 500 lines in this i have to make all values
that are coming in rst sheet

Please help me resolve my issues and if possible share your mail ID so


that i can explain u further

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