How to Find and Remove Specific Duplicate Data on Excel With Conditional Formatting

Sandeep Agarwal

MS-Excel-LogoExcel sheets can get really huge. They could extend to hundreds and thousands of data rows. And when that happens it becomes really difficult to manage the document. The greatest problem that I frequently come across in such cases is repetition and duplication of data.

Trust me, finding and getting rid of the duplicates is a challenging task. It takes a lot of time and effort. Of course there’s a Remove Duplicates option that Excel provides but that only facilitates bulk removal of duplicates from specific columns or rows and doesn’t let you have a lot of control on how the data should be removed.

If you start sorting it manually, you can spend your day scrolling up and down the sheet without actually achieving anything. Some people take up to using the find feature. I would not consider that a bad idea. But there are better ways to get the task done than involving yourself in this drudgery, right? We will discuss one such trick today.

If you have heard of or used Conditional Formatting on Excel you might have guessed what I am talking about. If not, you should read on and adopt the trick.

Cool Tip: Another cool data management and formatting feature comes in the form of transpose option. With that you can easily switch rows into columns and columns into rows on Excel sheets.

Steps to Find Duplicate Data on Excel

First and foremost, get the sheet that you wish to scan, up and ready. Then follow the steps below:

Step 1: Select the cells that contain the data to be scanned. It may extend for one column/row to the entire sheet. Here’s the sample data that I have taken for this example.


On the sheet I have selected the first column for examination.


Step 2: Once the data is selected, navigate to Home tab. Under Styles, expand Conditional Formatting and then go to Highlight Cell Rules -> Duplicate Values.


Step 3: Upon selecting Duplicate Values you will be presented with a dialog box. Keeping the selection as Duplicate choose your formatting option. I kept it to Light Red Fill with Dark Red Text.


Step 4: Click on Ok to go back to the sheet. There, you will see the duplicated data highlighted in the format you have chosen. Check out the example that I have considered.


Again, check the same examination for the second column (alone) and both the columns (together). Is it not interesting?


Conditional formatting has got many more choices and rules that you can apply for various other things like data validation, comparisons, calculations and more. In case you fall short of a requirement, you can create your own rule.


Once you give this process a try you will realize how much time and effort you can save for yourself. There’s no doubt that it is better than the manual process. If you do not agree, you must be using some other and a better trick to get across this problem. If that is the case do share your trick with us. We would be more than glad to learn.

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