Finding Differences Between Lists

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 1, 2014)

1

It is not unusual for people to keep client information in Excel worksheets. If you have a worksheet that contains the names of all your clients, and another worksheet that contains the names of your active clients, you may want to use Excel's capabilities to discover who your inactive clients are.

There are several ways you can accomplish this task. The first is through the use of VLOOKUP. This worksheet function works great, provided your lists of clients are arranged in alphabetical order. One way to use the function is to add a status column to your "all clients" worksheet. First, make sure you select your active clients and name them "Active". (How you define a name for a selected range of cells is covered in other ExcelTips.) Then, in your full list of clients, add a column (named Status) to the right of your existing data. In the cells of the Status column, use the following formula:

=IF(ISNA(VLOOKUP(A2,Active,1,FALSE)),"Inactive","Active")

This formula assumes that the client's name is in column A of the current worksheet. The result of the formula is either "Active" or "Inactive," depending on whether there is a match between the name at A2 and the names in the Active list.

Once the Status column is in place, you can use the AutoFilter capability of Excel to filter your list based on the status column. You can then easily display the inactive clients, as desired.

It should be noted that while the above example uses the VLOOKUP worksheet function, you could just as easily compose other formulas that use functions such as HLOOKUP and MATCH. Which you use depends on your personal preferences and the way in which your data is laid out.

Another solution is to use a macro to compare each name on the "all clients" list with the names on the "active clients" list. If no match is found, then the name can be safely added to the "inactive clients" list. The following macro does just that:

Sub ListInactive()
    Dim cell As Range
    Dim SearchRng As Range

    Set SearchRng = Worksheets("Sheet2").Range("A:A")
    Counter = 1 'First row on Sheet3 contains headings
    For Each cell In Worksheets("Sheet1")
      .Range("A2:A1000") _
      .SpecialCells(xlCellTypeConstants)
        ID = cell 'Client ID
        NM = cell.Offset(0, 1) 'Client name
        MatchRow = 0
        On Error Resume Next
        MatchRow = WorksheetFunction.Match(ID, _
          SearchRng, 0)
        On Error GoTo 0
        If MatchRow = 0 Then
            Counter = Counter + 1
            Worksheets("Sheet3").Cells(Counter, 1) = ID
            Worksheets("Sheet3").Cells(Counter, 2) = NM
        End If
    Next cell
End Sub

The macro makes several assumptions about the data being examined. First, it assumes that the "all clients" worksheet is the first worksheet, and that the "active clients" worksheet is the second. Also, it is assumed that the third worksheet is blank and will end up containing the list of inactive clients. Further, the assumption is that column A contains a unique client ID number and column B contains the name of the client. When the macro is finished, the third worksheet contains the client numbers and names of all the inactive clients.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2053) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Setting Grammar-Checking Options

When Word checks the grammar it thinks you are using in your prose, it follows a set of rules. Fortunately the program allows ...

Discover More

Understanding Point Sizes

Points are the common unit of measure for typefaces in the printing industry. They are also used quite often in Word. Here's ...

Discover More

Totaling Across Worksheets

Want to sum the values in the same cell on a range of worksheets? It's not as easy as summing a range on the same worksheet, ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Number of Terms in a Formula

Formulas are made up of operands that separate a series of terms acted upon by the operands. You may want to know, for some ...

Discover More

Calculating the Distance between Points

Want to figure out how far it is between two points on the globe? If you know the points by latitude and longitude, you can ...

Discover More

Counting Odds and Evens

If you have a series of values in a range of cells, you may wonder how many of those values are even and how many are odd. ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 7 - 0?

2014-12-04 08:57:56

Aysun Kubilay

works excellent.


This Site

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.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.