How to Check Repeating Words in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Checking for repeating words in Excel can be a bit tricky, but it’s entirely doable! By following a simple formula, you can quickly identify and highlight any duplicate words within your spreadsheet. This is a great trick to know, especially if you’re editing large amounts of text or data within Excel.

After completing the action, you’ll see repeating words highlighted in your spreadsheet, making it easy for you to find and replace or delete them as needed.


Have you ever found yourself scrolling through a massive Excel spreadsheet, eyes glazed over, trying to spot those pesky repeating words? It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack, right? But fear not, my fellow data enthusiasts! We’re going to dive into the nitty-gritty of how to check for repeating words in Excel.

Whether you’re a student trying to clean up your thesis data, a marketer analyzing customer feedback, or just someone trying to organize a hefty grocery list, this guide is for you. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a little Excel magic to make life easier? So, grab a cup of coffee, and let’s get started on making your spreadsheets error-free and tidy!

How to Check Repeating Words in Excel Tutorial

Before we jump into the steps, let’s understand what we’re aiming to accomplish here. We want to identify any words that appear more than once in our Excel sheet. This could be really helpful if you’re proofreading data or ensuring your list is unique.

Step 1: Use the COUNTIF function

Write the COUNTIF function in a blank cell next to your data.

Using the COUNTIF function, you can make Excel do the heavy lifting for you. This function counts the number of times a specific value appears within a range of cells.

Step 2: Reference the range

Specify the range where you want to search for duplicates.

When you write the COUNTIF function, you need to tell Excel where to look. Referencing the range means highlighting the cells that contain the words you’re checking.

Step 3: Define the criteria

Set the specific word you’re looking for as the criteria.

In the COUNTIF function, the criteria are what you’re trying to find duplicates of. This could be a specific word or, if you’re feeling fancy, you can use a wildcard to check for any repeating words.

Step 4: Drag the function down

Copy the function to other cells to check the entire column or row.

Once you’ve got the formula set up, you can simply drag it down (or across) to apply it to other cells. This way, you can check for duplicates throughout your whole list in a snap.


Saves TimeInstead of manually scanning your data for duplicates, Excel does it in a fraction of the time.
AccuracyThe formula ensures that you don’t miss any repeating words, giving you precise results.
VersatilityThis method can be used for single words or entire phrases, making it valuable for various tasks.


Learning CurveIf you’re new to Excel, using formulas like COUNTIF might seem intimidating at first.
Limited ContextThe function identifies duplicates but doesn’t show where they’re located in a sentence or paragraph.
Overreliance on FormulasRelying too much on formulas can make you less vigilant in manually checking your data.

Additional Information

When checking for repeating words in Excel, it’s essential to remember that the software is incredibly powerful but not foolproof. There may be instances where words differ due to capitalization or punctuation, and Excel will see these as unique. So, while the COUNTIF function is a fantastic tool, it’s not a replacement for a keen human eye.

Another tip is to use conditional formatting in tandem with the COUNTIF function. This can visually highlight duplicates and make them stand out, adding an extra layer of clarity to your data. Remember, the key to mastering Excel is practice, so don’t shy away from experimenting with different functions and formulas!


  1. Use the COUNTIF function in a blank cell.
  2. Reference the range of cells containing potential duplicates.
  3. Define the word or phrase you’re checking as the criteria.
  4. Drag the function to other cells to check the entire list.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use COUNTIF to check for duplicate phrases, not just words?

Yes, you can! Just set the phrase as the criteria in your COUNTIF function.

What if I want to check for words that are similar but not exact duplicates?

In that case, you might want to use the ‘Fuzzy Lookup’ add-on for Excel, which can match similar words or phrases.

How can I highlight the duplicates once I find them?

You can use conditional formatting to highlight cells that have a COUNTIF result greater than 1, indicating duplicates.

Can COUNTIF ignore case when checking for duplicates?

By default, COUNTIF is not case-sensitive. However, if you need a case-sensitive check, you’ll have to use a different approach, like the EXACT function.

Is there a way to remove duplicates after finding them?

Yes, Excel has a ‘Remove Duplicates’ feature under the Data tab, which can quickly delete any duplicates in your selected range.


Armed with the know-how to check repeating words in Excel, you’re now well-equipped to tackle those lengthy lists and data sets with confidence. Remember, while Excel can be a powerful ally in data management, it’s not infallible. Always double-check your work and use a combination of functions and formatting to ensure the most accurate results.

And of course, the more you practice using these tools, the more proficient you’ll become. Happy spreadsheeting, and may your data always be as clean and unique as your newfound Excel skills!

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