Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.
With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company.
Learn more about Allen...
Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Deleting Duplicate Text Values.
Everybody runs into the need at one time or another—to delete duplicate entries from a list of text entries. Suppose you have the text values in column A of a worksheet, and they run for about 500 rows. If you want to delete any duplicates in the list, you may be looking for the easiest way to do it.
Manually, you can use data filtering to determine the unique values. Make sure the column has a label at the top of it, then select a cell in the column. Choose Data | Filter | Advanced Filter or, in Excel 2007, display the Data tab of the ribbon and click Advanced in the Sort & Filter group. Use the controls in the resulting dialog box to specify that you want to copy the unique values to another location which you specify.
You can also use a formula to manually determine the duplicates in the list. Sort the values in the column, and then enter the following formula in cell B2:
Copy the formula down to all the cells in column B that have a corresponding value in column A. Select all the values in column B and press Ctrl+C. Use the Paste Special dialog box to paste just the values into the same selected cells. You've now converted the formulas into their results. Sort the two columns according to the contents of column B, and all of your duplicate rows will be in one area. Delete these rows, and you have your finished list of unique values.
Either of these manual approaches are fast and easy, but if you routinely have to delete duplicate values from a column, a macro may be more your style. The following macro relies on the advanced data filtering, much like the earlier manual method:
Sub CreateUniqueList() Dim rData As Range Dim rTemp As Range Set rData = Range(Range("a1"), Range("A65536").End(xlUp)) rData.EntireColumn.Insert Set rTemp = rData.Offset(0, -1) rData.AdvancedFilter _ Action:=xlFilterCopy, _ CopyToRange:=rTemp, _ Unique:=True rTemp.EntireColumn.Copy _ rData.EntireColumn Application.CutCopyMode = False rTemp.EntireColumn.Delete Set rData = Nothing Set rTemp = Nothing End Sub
The macro creates a temporary column, uses advanced filtering to copy the unique values to that column, then deletes the original data column. The result is just unique values in column A. If you don't want your macro to use the data filtering feature of Excel, then the following macro will do the trick:
Sub DelDups() Dim rngSrc As Range Dim NumRows As Integer Dim ThisRow As Integer Dim ThatRow As Integer Dim ThisCol As Integer Dim J As Integer, K As Integer Application.ScreenUpdating = False Set rngSrc = ActiveSheet.Range(ActiveWindow.Selection.Address) NumRows = rngSrc.Rows.Count ThisRow = rngSrc.Row ThatRow = ThisRow + NumRows - 1 ThisCol = rngSrc.Column 'Start wiping out duplicates For J = ThisRow To (ThatRow - 1) If Cells(J, ThisCol) > "" Then For K = (J + 1) To ThatRow If Cells(J, ThisCol) = Cells(K, ThisCol) Then Cells(K, ThisCol) = "" End If Next K End If Next J 'Remove cells that are empty For J = ThatRow To ThisRow Step -1 If Cells(J, ThisCol) = "" Then Cells(J, ThisCol).Delete xlShiftUp End If Next J Application.ScreenUpdating = True End Sub
The macro works on a selection you make before calling it. Thus, if you need to remove duplicate cells from the range A2:A974, simply select that range and then run the macro. When the macro is complete, the duplicate cells are removed, as are any blank cells.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2430) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Deleting Duplicate Text Values.
PivotTables Got You Perplexed? PivotTables for the Faint of Heart shows how you can start using Excel's PivotTable tool right away to spin your data into gold! You discover how easy it really is to crunch the numbers you need to crunch. Uncover the power of creating PivotTables, editing them, formatting them, customizing them, and much more. Check out PivotTables for the Faint of Heart today!