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

Finding Duplicates in Excel

Finding duplicates in Excel can save you loads of time and prevent errors in your data. By using Excel’s built-in tools, you can quickly identify and manage duplicate entries to keep your spreadsheets clean and accurate. Here’s a quick overview: Use the "Conditional Formatting" feature to highlight duplicates, or employ the "Remove Duplicates" function to delete them.

Step-by-Step Tutorial: How to Find Duplicates in Excel

This step-by-step guide will help you find and manage duplicate entries in your Excel spreadsheet.

Step 1: Open Your Excel File

Open the Excel file that contains the data you want to check for duplicates.

Make sure your data is arranged in columns and rows, and that there are no blank rows within your data set. This will make it easier for Excel to identify duplicates.

Step 2: Select Your Data Range

Click and drag to select the range of cells you want to check for duplicates.

You can select an entire column by clicking the column letter at the top, or select a specific range by clicking and dragging your mouse.

Step 3: Apply Conditional Formatting

Go to the "Home" tab, click on "Conditional Formatting," then select "Highlight Cells Rules" and choose "Duplicate Values."

This will highlight any duplicate entries in your selected range, making them easy to spot.

Step 4: Choose the Highlighting Option

In the Duplicate Values dialog box, choose the formatting option you prefer, then click "OK."

You can choose from several highlighting options like different colors. This will visually mark all duplicates in your selected range.

Step 5: Review and Handle Duplicates

Review the highlighted cells to decide which duplicates need to be managed or removed.

You can either manually handle the duplicates by editing or deleting entries or use the Remove Duplicates feature for bulk actions.

Step 6: Remove Duplicates (Optional)

To remove duplicates, go to the "Data" tab, click "Remove Duplicates," select the columns to check, and click "OK."

Excel will remove the duplicates and keep only the first instance of each entry. A dialog box will appear showing how many duplicates were removed.

After completing these steps, your Excel file will be cleaned up, and duplicates will be either highlighted for review or removed entirely.

Tips for Finding Duplicates in Excel

  • Use Conditional Formatting for Quick Checks: It’s a fast way to see duplicates without altering the data.

  • Save a Backup Copy: Always save a copy of your original data before making any changes or removing duplicates.

  • Combine Multiple Methods: Sometimes using both Conditional Formatting and Remove Duplicates together can be more effective.

  • Check for Partial Duplicates: Use "Text to Columns" to split data if you need to check for duplicates in specific parts, like first names or IDs.

  • Use Filters: Apply filters to columns to manually review and manage duplicates more efficiently.

Frequently Asked Questions: Finding Duplicates in Excel

How do I find duplicates in a specific column?

Go to "Conditional Formatting" under the "Home" tab, then choose "Highlight Cell Rules" and "Duplicate Values" specifically for that column.

Can I find duplicates across multiple sheets?

Excel doesn’t support this directly, but you can copy data from multiple sheets into one sheet and then use the methods described here.

What happens when I remove duplicates?

Excel keeps the first instance of each unique value and deletes the rest, updating your data accordingly.

Is there a way to find partial duplicates?

Yes, you can use the "Text to Columns" feature to separate data into different columns and then check for duplicates in the specific part you’re interested in.

How can I undo the removal of duplicates?

You can undo the action by pressing Ctrl + Z right after removing duplicates or revert to your saved backup copy.


  1. Open Your Excel File.
  2. Select Your Data Range.
  3. Apply Conditional Formatting.
  4. Choose the Highlighting Option.
  5. Review and Handle Duplicates.
  6. Remove Duplicates (Optional).


Finding duplicates in Excel doesn’t have to be a headache. By following these straightforward steps, you can keep your data clean and accurate. When you use Excel’s built-in tools like Conditional Formatting and Remove Duplicates, managing duplicates becomes a breeze. Always remember to save a backup copy of your data before making any changes, just in case you need to revert back.

If you’re dealing with large datasets, consider using filters and combining multiple methods to ensure thorough cleanup. Taking the time to handle duplicates properly can prevent errors down the line and make your data analysis more reliable.

For further reading, check out Excel’s help guides or explore online tutorials for more advanced techniques. Happy Excel-ing!

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