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

Finding duplicates in Excel can seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually quite simple once you know what to do. With just a few clicks, you can quickly identify and remove any duplicate data in your spreadsheet, ensuring your information is accurate and up to date. So, ready to get started and become an Excel pro at finding those pesky duplicates? Let’s dive in!

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Find Duplicates in Excel

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, it’s important to understand that finding duplicates in Excel is a way to clean up your data. Whether you’re working with a small dataset or a massive spreadsheet, identifying duplicates is essential for maintaining data integrity.

Step 1: Select Your Data Range

First things first, you need to select the range of cells where you suspect there might be duplicates.

Once you’ve selected the data range, Excel will know where to look for duplicates. Make sure you include all the columns that you want to check for duplicate information.

Step 2: Go to the ‘Data’ Tab and Click on ‘Remove Duplicates’

This is where the magic happens. By clicking on ‘Remove Duplicates’, Excel will prepare to scan your selected data.

The ‘Remove Duplicates’ feature is straightforward and does most of the work for you. All you need to do is tell Excel which columns to check for duplicates.

Step 3: Choose the Columns You Want to Check for Duplicates

In the pop-up window, you’ll see a list of columns. Check the boxes next to the ones you want to find duplicates in.

Be selective about which columns you choose. If you check too many, you might end up removing unique data that isn’t a true duplicate.

Step 4: Click ‘OK’ and Let Excel Do Its Thing

After you’ve made your selections, hit ‘OK’, and Excel will remove any duplicates from those columns.

You’ll get a message telling you how many duplicates were found and removed, and how many unique values remain. It’s satisfying to see those numbers!

After completing these steps, you’ll have a clean, duplicate-free dataset. Your spreadsheet will be more accurate, and you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that your data isn’t redundant.

Tips for Finding Duplicates in Excel

  • Pay close attention to the columns you’re checking for duplicates. Sometimes, what looks like a duplicate might actually be necessary data.
  • If you’re working with a large dataset, consider creating a copy before removing duplicates. That way, you have a backup in case something goes wrong.
  • Use the ‘Conditional Formatting’ feature to highlight duplicates before removing them. This gives you a visual confirmation of what you’re about to delete.
  • Remember that ‘Remove Duplicates’ only works with exact matches. If there are slight variations in the data, such as extra spaces, Excel won’t consider them duplicates.
  • After removing duplicates, double-check your data to ensure that no essential information was lost in the process.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I only want to find duplicates, not remove them?

You can use the ‘Conditional Formatting’ feature to highlight duplicates without deleting them. This way, you can review the data manually before taking any action.

Can I undo the ‘Remove Duplicates’ action?

Yes, you can undo it by immediately pressing ‘Ctrl + Z’ after removing duplicates. However, if you close the workbook or perform other actions, you might not be able to undo it.

Will ‘Remove Duplicates’ work on a filtered list?

Yes, ‘Remove Duplicates’ will consider only the visible cells in a filtered list. Make sure to unfilter your data if you want to check the entire dataset.

How can I ensure that I don’t lose important data when removing duplicates?

Always review your data before using the ‘Remove Duplicates’ feature. If you’re unsure, create a copy of your dataset as a backup.

Can ‘Remove Duplicates’ work on multiple sheets at once?

No, ‘Remove Duplicates’ can only be applied to one sheet at a time. You’ll need to repeat the process for each sheet where you want to remove duplicates.


  1. Select your data range.
  2. Go to the ‘Data’ tab and click on ‘Remove Duplicates’.
  3. Choose the columns you want to check for duplicates.
  4. Click ‘OK’ to remove duplicates.


In the end, finding duplicates in Excel is a skill that can save you time and prevent errors in your datasets. With the steps and tips provided, you’re well-equipped to tackle this task head-on. Remember, maintaining clean data is crucial for accurate analysis, reporting, and decision-making. So, take a deep breath, follow the steps, and before you know it, you’ll be saying goodbye to those duplicates and hello to a pristine spreadsheet.

If you’re still feeling unsure or want to learn more advanced techniques, there are plenty of resources out there to help you master Excel. Practice makes perfect, and with time, finding and removing duplicates will become second nature. Don’t let duplicate data clutter up your spreadsheets any longer. Take control, use these strategies, and keep your Excel files in tip-top shape!

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