How to Remove Duplicates in Excel but Keep One: A Step-by-Step Guide

Removing duplicates in Excel but keeping one can seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually quite simple. Excel has a built-in feature that allows you to easily remove duplicates, leaving you with only unique entries. By following a few straightforward steps, you can clean up your data in no time.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Remove Duplicates in Excel but Keep One

Before diving into the steps, it’s important to understand that this process will help you declutter your dataset by removing any identical entries, while ensuring that one instance of the data remains intact.

Step 1: Select Your Data

Click and drag to select the cells that contain duplicates you want to remove.

Making sure you’ve selected the right data is crucial. If you accidentally include headers or other important information, you might end up deleting something you need.

Step 2: Go to the Data Tab

Navigate to the ‘Data’ tab on the Excel ribbon.

This is where you’ll find all the tools related to organizing and managing your datasets, including the ‘Remove Duplicates’ feature.

Step 3: Click on ‘Remove Duplicates’

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

A pop-up window will appear, giving you options to refine your duplicate removal process.

Step 4: Configure Your Options

Choose which columns to check for duplicates and click ‘OK’.

If you have a table with multiple columns and you only want to remove duplicates based on certain columns, this is where you specify your criteria.

Step 5: Confirm the Removal

Review the summary box that tells you how many duplicates were removed and how many unique values remain, then click ‘OK’.

This confirmation step ensures that you’re aware of the changes made to your dataset.

After completing these steps, you’ll have a cleaner list with only unique entries. This can be incredibly useful for data analysis, mailing lists, inventory management, and more.

Tips for Removing Duplicates in Excel but Keeping One

  • Always make sure to have a backup of your data before removing duplicates, just in case something goes wrong.
  • Use the ‘Undo’ feature (Ctrl + Z) immediately if you accidentally remove something you didn’t intend to.
  • If you’re working with a large dataset, consider using filters to isolate the duplicates before removing them.
  • Remember that the ‘Remove Duplicates’ feature is case-sensitive, so entries with different cases will be considered unique.
  • Check if empty cells are being treated as duplicates – Excel might remove these if not configured correctly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I have different data types in one column?

Excel treats each data type separately, so numbers, text, and dates are considered different and will not be seen as duplicates of each other.

Can I undo the removal of duplicates in Excel?

Yes, you can use the ‘Undo’ feature (Ctrl + Z) to revert the changes immediately after the removal.

Does removing duplicates delete all instances of the data?

No, it removes all but one instance, leaving you with a single copy of the duplicate data.

Is there a way to remove duplicates across multiple sheets?

No, the ‘Remove Duplicates’ feature only works within the sheet you have selected.

Can I remove duplicates based on a combination of columns?

Yes, you can select multiple columns in the ‘Remove Duplicates’ dialog box, and Excel will only remove rows where the combination of data in those columns is a duplicate.


  1. Select your data.
  2. Go to the ‘Data’ tab.
  3. Click on ‘Remove Duplicates’.
  4. Configure your options.
  5. Confirm the removal.


Excel is a powerful tool that can handle a large amount of data with ease. However, managing and cleaning that data can sometimes be challenging, especially when dealing with duplicates. Luckily, Excel’s ‘Remove Duplicates’ feature is a lifesaver for anyone who needs to tidy up their spreadsheets without losing essential information. By following the simple steps outlined above, you can efficiently remove duplicates in Excel but keep one instance, thus ensuring the integrity of your data.

Remember, the key to successfully removing duplicates is to understand your data and configure your options carefully. Always back up your data before making any significant changes, and don’t hesitate to use the ‘Undo’ feature if things don’t go as planned. With these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to maintain a clean, organized, and functional dataset that will make your data analysis tasks a breeze. Keep experimenting with Excel’s robust features to get the most out of your data management experience.

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