How To Filter Duplicates In Excel

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Having duplicates in a Word document or an Excel Sheet is truly a headache. Checking each paragraph or cell one by one is tiring and removing duplicates in Excel is time-consuming. 

Duplicate values are bound to happen from time to time within Excel. So, how to remove duplicates in Excel? Is there any way out for this?

Luckily, there are a few ways to search for duplicates. The easiest way to filter duplicates is to use the Advanced Filter feature, however, you can also use Conditional Formatting and the COUNTIF Function.

How To Filter Duplicates In Excel Using the Advanced Filter Feature

This feature is best to use when you want to remove all duplicates from your original spreadsheet. 

  1. Select the date range you would like to filter. If the range is the entire worksheet then click on the Select All button placed in the top left corner of the worksheet.

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2. In the DATA Tab of the Ribbon select Advanced (highlighted) from the Filter box.

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3. The Advanced Filter box will pop up with the previously selected range already entered into the List range. 

4. First decide if you want to replace the existing worksheet data with the newly filtered data or if you want the newly filtered data to be copied to another location. If you are replacing the current data with the filtered data elect “Filter the list, in place” and check the box marked “Unique Records Only” and hit OK.

The duplicate cells will immediately be erased. If you do not want to delete all duplicates right away then Select “Copy to another location”. With this option you will be prompted to select a range of cells within or without the current worksheet to copy the results into.

Finally, Click the box for “Unique records only”, click OK and only the non-duplicate cells will be copied to the location you set in Copy To. Now you can delete the original data with duplicates if you so wish.

Use Conditional Formatting To Filter Duplicates Within A Single Column

Conditional Formatting identifies trends and patterns within your data using bars, colors, and icons to highlight important values. It’s found in the HOME tab of the Ribbon. 


  1. Select the data range you would like to search and click on the Conditional Formatting button. 

  2. Click on the “Highlight Cells Rules” and select “Duplicate Values”. 

  1. The Duplicate Values box will pop up. The options within this box are to first select whether Duplicate or Unique Values will be highlighted. Second you can select what style of Highlighting you would like applied to either the duplicates or the unique values.

  2. Once all formatting has been selected, Click OK and you have just completed using Conditional Formatting. 

You can use Conditional Formatting down one column or across the worksheet but keep in mind; Excel will highlight all duplicate values in Excel up and down each column but not necessarily check for true duplicates across the rows. As shown in the Example to the Right, the first conditional format (green) was only told to check Column A for duplicates.

 The second (red) was told to check Columns B and C in the range. Row 11 is not a duplicate, however, the City is the same as other cities and with conditional formatting, it flagged it as a duplicate. To resolve this issue, use the COUNTIF formula to find duplicates within one or multiple columns and rows. 

Use COUNTIF to locate the true duplicates by creating a column on the right of column C and including all the data from Columns A, B, and C for each row. Enter the following formula into Column D, Row 2: =A2&B2&C2, and this will create a cell with all three columns inside it.

 Then in Column E, Row 2 enter an IF statement telling Excel to check down Column D for any duplicates and if found, put the word “Dupe” in Column E, =IF(COUNTIF(D$2:D$14, D2)>1, “Dupe”,””) 

Repeat this formula down the rows and any duplicates will be labeled.

Now, only the data that has the same Vendor Name, Address, and City will be labeled and can be deleted as necessary.

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Now that there’s an understanding of how to delete duplicates in Excel and the best recommendation would be to first use conditional formatting and get an idea of how many duplicate cells are within the worksheet.

Then use the advanced filter method to filter all the original/unique data cells and save them in a new workbook. You can always save the original and rename it “unfiltered” if you feel you would ever need to return to it.

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