How to Identify Duplicates in Excel: Step-by-Step Guide

Identifying duplicates in Excel can be a breeze if you know the right steps to take. Whether you’re dealing with a small dataset or a large one, Excel offers several features that can help you spot and remove any duplicate values quickly and easily. In this article, we’ll walk you through a simple step-by-step tutorial on how to identify duplicates in Excel. So let’s get started!

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Identify Duplicates in Excel

Before we dive into the steps, let’s understand what we’re trying to achieve here. Identifying duplicates in Excel is essential to ensure the accuracy of your data. Whether it’s a list of email addresses, names, or any other data, duplicates can lead to incorrect analysis and decisions. By following these steps, you’ll be able to pinpoint and manage those pesky duplicates with ease.

Step 1: Select the data range

Select the range of cells that you want to check for duplicates.

When you select the range, make sure you include all the columns that you want to check for duplicates. If you’re checking an entire table, click on any cell within the table, and Excel will automatically select the entire range for you.

Step 2: Go to the ‘Data’ tab

Click on the ‘Data’ tab in the Excel ribbon.

The ‘Data’ tab is where you’ll find all the tools you need to manage your data, including the ‘Remove Duplicates’ feature which we’ll be using in the next step.

Step 3: Click on ‘Remove Duplicates’

In the ‘Data Tools’ group, click on the ‘Remove Duplicates’ button.

A dialog box will appear with a list of all the columns in your selected range. From here, you can specify which columns Excel should check for duplicates.

Step 4: Choose the columns to check for duplicates

Check the boxes next to the columns you want to check for duplicates.

If you want to check for duplicates across the entire range, simply click ‘Select All’. If you only want to check specific columns, uncheck the ones you don’t need.

Step 5: Click ‘OK’

After selecting the columns, click ‘OK’ to run the ‘Remove Duplicates’ feature.

Excel will then process your data and remove any duplicate rows based on the columns you selected. A message will pop up indicating how many duplicates were found and removed, and how many unique values remain.

Once you’ve completed these steps, your data will be free of duplicates, and you can proceed with your analysis knowing that your dataset is accurate and reliable.

Tips: Identifying Duplicates in Excel

  • Use conditional formatting to highlight duplicates visually before removing them.
  • Always make a backup of your original data before removing duplicates.
  • The ‘Remove Duplicates’ feature only removes entire rows, not individual cells.
  • Use the ‘COUNTIF’ function to count the number of times a value appears in a range.
  • Sort your data before checking for duplicates to make it easier to spot them manually.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I only want to remove duplicates from a specific column?

If you only want to remove duplicates from one column, select that column before clicking on ‘Remove Duplicates’. In the dialog box, make sure only that column is checked.

Can I undo the ‘Remove Duplicates’ action?

Yes, you can undo the ‘Remove Duplicates’ action by pressing CTRL + Z immediately after the action is completed. However, if you close and reopen the Excel file, you will not be able to undo the changes.

Does ‘Remove Duplicates’ delete the first occurrence of the value?

No, ‘Remove Duplicates’ keeps the first occurrence of the value and removes any subsequent duplicates.

Can I use ‘Remove Duplicates’ on a filtered range?

Yes, you can use ‘Remove Duplicates’ on a filtered range, and it will only consider the visible (filtered) cells.

Is there a limit to the number of rows Excel can check for duplicates?

Excel does have a row limit, which depends on the version you’re using. For Excel 2007 and later, the limit is 1,048,576 rows.


  1. Select the data range.
  2. Go to the ‘Data’ tab.
  3. Click on ‘Remove Duplicates’.
  4. Choose the columns to check for duplicates.
  5. Click ‘OK’.


Learning how to identify duplicates in Excel is a skill that can save you a lot of time and ensure the accuracy of your data. It’s a straightforward process that requires just a few clicks. By using the ‘Remove Duplicates’ feature, you can quickly clean up your dataset, making it easier to analyze and share with others. Remember to always keep a backup of your original data, just in case you need to revert any changes. With this knowledge in hand, go ahead and tackle those duplicates without fear! Happy Excel-ing!

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