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Remove Duplicate Data Records in Excel Part 1

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Excel Remove Duplicates
Remove Duplicates in Excel

Remove Duplicates in Excel

© Ted French

Note: If you are experienced using Excel try the Remove Duplicate Data Records Quick Tutorial which is a bare bones tutorial covering this feature.

This tutorial is intended for users new to using Excel and its data management features.

Remove Duplicates in Excel Part 1

Spreadsheet programs such as Excel are often used as databases for things like parts inventories, sales records, and mailing lists.

Databases are normally organized into rows of data called records. In a record, the data in each cell or field in the row is related - such as a company's name, address and phone number.

A common problem that occurs as a database grows in size is that of duplicate records.

This duplication can occur if:

  • entire records are entered into the database more than once resulting in two or more identical records
  • multiple records have one or more fields - such as a name field or address - containing the same data.

Either way, duplicate records can cause a whole host of problems so it's a good idea to scan for and remove duplicate records on a regular basis.

To help you accomplish this task Excel has a built in data tool called, not surprisingly, Remove Duplicates.

This part of the tutorial deals with removing identical data records while Part 2 covers removing records that have only a partial duplication of data.

Remove Duplicate Data Records Example

For help with this example see the image above.

In this example we will use the Remove Duplicates data tool to remove the second of two identical records - that of H. Thompson as shown in the sample data in the image above.

After running Remove Duplicates the record in row 5 - the second H. Thompson record - will be removed and only four records will remain.

Tutorial Steps

  1. To begin the tutorial, add the data seen in the image above to cells A1 to D7 of an Excel worksheet.

  2. Click on any cell containing data in the sample database.

  3. Click the Data tab on the Ribbon.

  4. Click on the Remove Duplicates icon to highlight all data in the database and to open the Remove Duplicates dialog box.

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