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 Columns.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 9, 2020)
Dror has a worksheet that contains quite a bit of data. It is possible that the data in one column will be exactly the same as the data in another column, so he wonders if there is an easy way to delete any duplicate columns within the worksheet.
The first step, of course, is to figure out if two columns are identical or not. This can be determined rather easily with an array formula such as the following:
(Remember that an array formula is entered by using Shift+Ctrl+Enter.) The formula compares all the values in the first 100 rows of columns A and B. If they are all the same, then the formula returns TRUE. If any of the cells don't match, then the formula returns FALSE. If the result is TRUE you could then delete one of the columns because they are the same.
If you want something that is a bit more automatic, meaning that the duplicate column is deleted, then you'll need to use a macro. The following steps through all the columns in the worksheet and, starting with the right-most column, compares all the columns. If any are the same—regardless of their order in the worksheet—then the macro asks if you want the duplicate column deleted.
Sub DeleteDuplicateColumns() Dim rngData As Range Dim arr1, arr2 Dim i As Integer, j As Integer, n As Integer On Error Resume Next Set rngData = ActiveSheet.UsedRange If rngData Is Nothing Then Exit Sub n = rngData.Columns.Count For i = n To 2 Step -1 For j = i - 1 To 1 Step -1 If WorksheetFunction.CountA(rngData.Columns(i)) <> 0 And _ WorksheetFunction.CountA(rngData.Columns(j)) <> 0 Then arr1 = rngData.Columns(i) arr2 = rngData.Columns(j) If AreEqualArr(arr1, arr2) Then With rngData.Columns(j) 'mark column to be deleted .Copy If MsgBox("Delete marked column?", vbYesNo) _ = vbYes Then rngData.Columns(j).Delete Else 'remove mark Application.CutCopyMode = False End If End With End If End If Next j Next i End Sub
Function AreEqualArr(arr1, arr2) As Boolean Dim i As Long, n As Long AreEqualArr = False For n = LBound(arr1) To UBound(arr1) If arr1(n, 1) <> arr2(n, 1) Then Exit Function End If Next n AreEqualArr = True End Function
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (7164) 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 Columns.
Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!
Want to select all the data in a contiguous section of a worksheet? The shortcut discussed in this tip makes it very easy.Discover More
When editing a cell, you may want to cancel the edit at some point. There are two ways to do this, both described in this ...Discover More
Each time you take some action in Excel, the action is saved in an "undo stack" so that the action can be undone, if ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
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.