How to Find Duplicates in Excel (2024): A Step-by-Step Guide

Finding duplicates in Excel can be a bit tricky, but don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. With a few clicks and some nifty formulas, you can easily spot those pesky duplicates that might be messing up your data. After reading this quick overview, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a duplicate-hunting expert in no time.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Find Duplicates in Excel

Before diving into the steps, let’s clarify what we’ll achieve. We’ll use Excel’s built-in tools and some simple formulas to identify duplicate values in your spreadsheet. This will help you clean up your data and ensure accuracy.

Step 1: Select Your Data Range

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

Selecting the correct data range is crucial. If you accidentally include headers or irrelevant cells, it could skew your results. Make sure to select only the columns or rows that contain the actual data you want to check.

Step 2: Use Conditional Formatting

With your data selected, go to the ‘Home’ tab, click on ‘Conditional Formatting’, and choose ‘Highlight Cell Rules’ > ‘Duplicate Values’.

Conditional Formatting is a powerful feature in Excel that allows you to visually identify patterns or criteria within your data, such as duplicates. Once applied, Excel will automatically highlight any duplicate values using the default light red fill with dark red text.

Step 3: Apply a Filter

After highlighting duplicates, apply a filter by clicking on the ‘Data’ tab and then ‘Filter’ to sort or hide duplicates.

Applying a filter allows you to manipulate your highlighted data more easily. For example, you can sort the duplicates to the top of your data range or hide non-duplicates to focus solely on the repetitive values.

Step 4: Use a Formula

For a more advanced method, use the COUNTIF formula to identify duplicates by typing “=COUNTIF(range, criteria)” in a new column beside your data.

The COUNTIF formula counts the number of times a specific value appears within a range. If the formula returns a number greater than 1, you know that you have a duplicate. This method gives you more control and can be used for more complex data sets.

After completing these steps, your duplicates should be highlighted, filtered, or listed based on your chosen method. This allows you to review and remove duplicates as necessary, ensuring that your Excel dataset is clean and accurate.

Tips: How to Find Duplicates in Excel

  • Make sure your data is consistently formatted before searching for duplicates; mixed formats can lead to inaccurate results.
  • Use the ‘Remove Duplicates’ feature under the ‘Data’ tab for a quick way to delete duplicate entries.
  • Remember that Conditional Formatting doesn’t change the data; it only changes how it’s displayed.
  • When using the COUNTIF formula, copy it down the entire column to check every cell in your data range.
  • Double-check your selected range before applying Conditional Formatting to avoid highlighting unnecessary cells.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

To find duplicates in a single column, simply select that column and follow the same Conditional Formatting or COUNTIF formula steps.

Can I remove duplicates without reviewing them first?

Yes, you can use the ‘Remove Duplicates’ feature under the ‘Data’ tab, but it’s always best to review your data before deleting anything to ensure you don’t lose important information.

Will finding duplicates in Excel also highlight the first occurrence?

Yes, Conditional Formatting will highlight all occurrences of a value, including the first one. If you want to ignore the first occurrence, you’ll need to use a more complex formula.

Can I use these methods on a Mac version of Excel?

Yes, these methods work on both Windows and Mac versions of Excel.

What if I want to find duplicates across multiple columns?

You can either select multiple columns before applying Conditional Formatting or use a more complex formula that combines the values from different columns before checking for duplicates.


  1. Select Your Data Range
  2. Use Conditional Formatting
  3. Apply a Filter
  4. Use a Formula


Mastering the art of finding duplicates in Excel can save you tons of time and protect the integrity of your data. Whether you’re a casual user or a data analyst, knowing how to quickly spot and handle duplicates is a must-have skill in today’s data-driven world. Always remember to check your work, as removing the wrong data can sometimes be worse than having duplicates. With practice, these steps will become second nature, and you’ll be the go-to person for all things Excel in your office or amongst your peers. Keep exploring, keep learning, and don’t let those duplicates get the best of you!

Join Our Free Newsletter

Featured guides and deals

You may opt out at any time. Read our Privacy Policy