How to Eliminate Double Entries in Excel

By Allen Bethea

Duplicate entries may cause analysts to draw wrong conclusions from the data.
i Jupiterimages/ Images

Even just one duplicate record in an Excel worksheet can be costly in terms of the time spent entering the data, the calculation errors it produced and the effort wasted trying to find out what went wrong. While you or your employees could pour over your worksheets row by row and column by column, Excel has a built-in tool that can save you some time and headaches. Excel's "Remove Duplicates" tool can scan a subset of a column or an entire worksheet for duplicate data entries and remove them automatically.

Launch Excel and load the worksheet you want to examine for duplicate entries.

Select the data within the column you want to check. You can also select multiple columns of data or the entire worksheet for examination.

Click the "Data" tab, and then click the "Remove Duplicates" button in the "Data Tools" group.

Click the "OK" button on the "Remove Duplicates" dialog box. If you selected more than one column, deselect those you don't need to look at. Excel will delete duplicate entries within the columns you selected and then move the cell beneath it up one row.


Save your edited worksheets under a new name just in case you need to refer to the original in the future. It's possible that the duplicate data you found was caused by a typo and needed to be edited rather than removed entirely.


Avoid removing the wrong data by selecting only one column at a time for examination. In addition, check for and exclude headers, labels, sums, formula results and counts that should not be included with your selection.