How to Find and Delete Duplicates in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Finding and deleting duplicates in Excel is a straightforward task that can be accomplished in just a few steps. By using the “Conditional Formatting” feature and the “Remove Duplicates” function, you can quickly identify and eliminate any duplicate data in your spreadsheet. This ensures your data is clean and accurate, making it easier to analyze and use for decision making.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Find and Delete Duplicates in Excel

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to understand that we’ll be using Excel’s built-in features to highlight and then remove duplicate values. This process ensures that your data remains intact while eliminating any unnecessary repetitions that could skew your results or analysis.

Step 1: Select the Range of Data

Click and drag to highlight the cells you want to check for duplicates.

Selecting the correct data range is crucial as it determines which cells Excel will examine for duplicates. Make sure you include all relevant columns and rows that may contain repeated information.

Step 2: Use Conditional Formatting

Go to the “Home” tab, click on “Conditional Formatting,” and select “Highlight Cell Rules” followed by “Duplicate Values.”

Conditional Formatting is a powerful tool that changes the appearance of cells based on specific conditions. By choosing “Duplicate Values,” Excel will automatically highlight any cells that contain data identical to another cell within the selected range.

Step 3: Remove Duplicates

Click on the “Data” tab and choose “Remove Duplicates” from the “Data Tools” group.

After highlighting duplicates, you can now proceed to remove them. The “Remove Duplicates” function will open a dialogue box allowing you to specify which columns to check for duplicates, giving you control over the removal process.

Step 4: Confirm Your Selection and Delete

In the dialogue box, confirm the columns you want to check and click “OK.”

Excel will then analyze the selected columns and remove any duplicates it finds. You’ll receive a message indicating how many duplicates were removed and how many unique values remain.

After completing these steps, your Excel sheet will be free of duplicates, allowing for more accurate data analysis and reporting.

Tips: How to Find and Delete Duplicates in Excel

  • Use the “Undo” function (Ctrl+Z) immediately if you accidentally remove the wrong data.
  • If you’re dealing with a large dataset, consider creating a backup before removing duplicates.
  • Remember that Excel considers the combination of values in all selected columns when determining duplicates.
  • Use the “Sort” feature to organize your data after removing duplicates for easier review.
  • If you’re working with sensitive data, double-check the remaining data to ensure no important information was lost during the process.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I only want to find duplicates in a single column?

You can select just one column and follow the same steps, making sure to specify that single column in the “Remove Duplicates” dialogue box.

Can I delete duplicates without highlighting them first?

Yes, you can go directly to the “Remove Duplicates” function, but highlighting them first allows you to visually confirm the duplicates before deletion.

Will removing duplicates also remove the original data?

No, the “Remove Duplicates” function only removes the extra copies, leaving one instance of the data intact.

Can I use these steps for Excel on Mac?

Yes, these steps apply to Excel on both Windows and Mac operating systems.

Does removing duplicates affect formulas referencing the data?

It could, so it’s recommended to check and adjust any formulas or references after cleaning your data.


  1. Select the range of data.
  2. Use Conditional Formatting to highlight duplicates.
  3. Access the “Remove Duplicates” function under the “Data” tab.
  4. Confirm your selection and delete the duplicates.


Dealing with duplicate data in Excel can be a real headache, especially when working with extensive spreadsheets. However, by following the simple steps outlined above, you can efficiently find and delete duplicates in your data. This not only cleans up your spreadsheet but also ensures the integrity and accuracy of your analysis. Remember, always double-check your data after removing duplicates to avoid any unintended loss of information. With a clean dataset, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions and present your data with confidence. So, go ahead and give it a try – your organized, duplicate-free Excel sheet is just a few clicks away!

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