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Remove the Duplicates in Excel

Ever find yourself looking at a long list of data containing duplicates and it’s your job to remove the extras?

Sometimes there’s duplicate data for a darn good reason and sometimes it for not only a bad reason, but it’s unacceptable to boot!

If you’re in the latter situation and need to get rid of the duplicates, then you’ve got to be looking for the most efficient way to accomplish the task.

Let’s face it… the longer the list the more efficient we want to be.

We could choose to sort the data based on sorting criteria and then look for duplicates… and we aren’t even going to entertain the idea of manually looking for the duplicates without sorting!

So here’s what I have to offer for today’s situation…

I vote that we let Excel find and remove the duplicates for us!

Yeah, I thought you might that idea too.

To start you’ll need to select the range of cells containing the data.

Now we’re off to the Data tab of the Ribbon.


In the Data Tools group you need to click the Remove Duplicates button.

When the Remove Duplicates dialog box opens, you’ll be presented with a list of data columns.


Any data column that should be searched for duplicates (and then have them removed) should be checked. (The entire row of highlighted data will be deleted based upon a match in the columns you left checked.)

When you’ve got things set as you want here, click OK.

The next thing you’ll see will look something like this:


Excel will let you know how many records were removed.

When you click OK and return to your worksheet, you’ll see that the list is shorter – the records are removed and the rest are moved up – no empty lines will be left behind.

If, for whatever reason, you’re unhappy with the result then simply click the Undo button (Ctrl + Z).

And there you have it… a quick way to remove duplicate data so that you can lose that feeling that you’re always repeating yourself.

~ April