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Find Duplicate Entries in Excel

Working with Large Spreadsheets with lots of data can sometimes lead to duplicate entries and this can mess up all your statistical calculations. Fixing this manually will take a lot of your time and efforts. So what do you do?

Fortunately, as always, Excel has a great solution for this problem. It combines 2 properties to get the result.

a) Find duplicate entries b) Highlight those entries for quick identification.

I tried it myself, and was so impressed that I couldn’t resist taking it down for later use.

Here are the Step wise instructions for better understanding.

Step 1) The process works column wise, so focus on 1 column at a time. Let’s take column “A” as an example. The same can be repeated on the worksheet.

Step 2) If you have a list of data in column “A” select the first cell. This cell will contain the condition to search for duplicates in the file. Once the cell is selected, go to the Menu bar and select Format > Conditional Formatting. This will open a new dialog window.

Step 3) In this new window, select “Formula Is”. A text box is displayed, asking you to enter a formula. Enter this formula in the text box:

=COUNTIF(A:A, A1) >1 (remove spaces if any) The “COUNTIF” function will loop through column “A” and find duplicate entries in the column.

Step 4) Now click the “Format” button in the “Conditional Formatting” dialog box. This expands the window and offers you some formatting options. Select the highlight color for duplicate entries from the “Nablon” sub-menu. Click “OK”.

Step 5) Copy the cell containing the condition (A1). Press “Ctrl + spacebar” to select the entire column. From the “Edit” menu, click “Paste Special”. Select “Formats” from the dialog box and then click “OK” to copy the conditional formatting to the entire column. This should highlight all duplicate entries in the column.

Step 6) Once all the entries have been found, you can decide whether to keep them, delete them or just drag and drop them to another worksheet so you need them later. 🙂

Step 7) If you need to perform the same function on another column, the process remains the same, just replace all “A”s in the formula with the alphabet of the column.

It’s easy isn’t it?

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