How to Use Unique Function in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

How to Use UNIQUE Function in Excel

Ever find yourself drowning in a sea of data with duplicates making it hard to make sense of it all? The UNIQUE function in Excel is your best friend. With it, you can easily extract distinct values from a range, giving you a clearer view of your data. This guide will walk you through how to use the UNIQUE function step-by-step.

How to Use UNIQUE Function in Excel

The UNIQUE function is designed to extract distinct values from a range, helping you identify unique entries. This can be particularly useful for cleaning up lists or analyzing data more effectively.

Step 1: Open Your Excel Workbook

First, open the Excel workbook where you want to use the UNIQUE function.

Opening your workbook is straightforward. Ensure you have the data ready in a column or row from which you want to extract unique values.

Step 2: Select the Cell for Your Unique Data

Next, click on the cell where you want the list of unique values to appear.

Choosing the right cell is crucial. This is where the unique values will be displayed, so make sure it’s in a location that makes sense for your workflow.

Step 3: Enter the UNIQUE Function

Type the formula =UNIQUE(range) into the selected cell, where "range" is the range of cells you want to filter.

For example, if your data is in column A from rows 1 to 10, you would enter =UNIQUE(A1:A10). Press Enter to apply the formula.

Step 4: Review the Results

Look at the cell where you entered the formula. You should now see a list of unique values from the specified range.

If you see any errors or unexpected results, double-check the range you specified. The function should exclude any duplicate values.

Step 5: Adjust as Needed

If necessary, adjust the range or add filters to refine your unique list further.

You can customize the UNIQUE function even more by combining it with other functions like SORT or FILTER to get exactly the data you need.

After completing these steps, you should have a tidy list of unique values in the cell you selected. Your data is now easier to analyze and work with, free from any pesky duplicates.

Tips for Using UNIQUE Function in Excel

  • Double-check your range: Make sure the range specified in the formula covers all the cells from which you want to extract unique values.

  • Combine with SORT: Use the SORT function alongside UNIQUE to get a sorted list of unique values.

  • Use with FILTER: Combine UNIQUE and FILTER for more complex data extraction needs.

  • Handle errors: If you encounter errors, check for any blank cells or incorrect range references.

  • Explore dynamic arrays: UNIQUE is part of Excel’s dynamic array functions, so it works seamlessly with other dynamic array functions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the UNIQUE function do in Excel?

The UNIQUE function extracts distinct values from a specified range, helping you eliminate duplicates.

Can I use UNIQUE with multiple columns?

Yes, the UNIQUE function can handle multiple columns. Simply specify the range that includes all the columns.

What if I get an error when using UNIQUE?

If you see an error, check your range and ensure there are no blank cells or incorrect references.

Can UNIQUE sort my data too?

No, UNIQUE does not sort data. You can combine it with the SORT function for that purpose.

Is the UNIQUE function available in all versions of Excel?

The UNIQUE function is available in Excel for Office 365 and Excel 2019 and later versions.


  1. Open your Excel workbook.
  2. Select the cell for your unique data.
  3. Enter the UNIQUE function.
  4. Review the results.
  5. Adjust as needed.


Using the UNIQUE function in Excel can save you a lot of time and effort when dealing with large datasets. It’s a powerful tool that helps you sift through the noise and focus on what truly matters. Whether you’re a student, a professional, or just someone who likes to keep things organized, mastering this function will enhance your Excel skills significantly.

Don’t stop here! Explore other Excel functions that can be used in conjunction with UNIQUE, like SORT and FILTER. The more you know, the more you can do. Try it out and see how it transforms your data management tasks. Happy Excel-ing!

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