Remove Duplicates

Remove duplicates is a basic task when you want to analyse your data. In Excel, you can do that with a tool in the ribbon or by formulas.

List of values with duplicates

The tool Remove Duplicates

Since 2007, you can remove duplicates values with this menu in the ribbon Data > Remove Duplicates.

Menu Remove duplicates

To extraction without duplicates, you follow these 2 steps:

  1. Select the column you want to remove duplicates in (including the headers)
  2. Click on the menu Remove Duplicates

In the next dialog box, indicate if the first row of your selection is the header of your column. If so, this row will not be included in the process to remove duplicates.

Check the option if your list has headers

Click on OK. The process to remove the duplicates starts immediately.

At the end of processing, a dialog box shows you the number of rows deleted and the number of unique values remains.

The list has only unique value

Remove on multi-columns

This tool is really impressive because it also works if you select more than 1 column. For instance, in this exercise, you want to extract the unique Last Name + First name.

  1. Select your 2 columns
  2. Activate the tool Remove duplicates
  3. Check the option My data has headers
  4. Click OK
Remove duplicates of 2 columns

The result is:

Bill and Jon are not duplicates

As you can notice, this time the tool hasn't remove Bill and Jon because the last name is different

Remove duplicates with formula

If you work with Microsoft 365 or Excel Online, you can return a list of data without duplicates with the UNIQUE function

Demo of the UNIQUE function

Complex situation

But in some situation, you can not used this tool. It's not because there is a bug but because the data are too complex, like in this example.

Situation where the tool remove duplicates can not be used

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