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.

Deleting Duplicate Columns

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 2, 2013)

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:

=AND(A1:A100=B1:B100)

(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.

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

Working with Form Fields

You know you want to use form fields in your document (they are essential in creating forms, after all) but you need to ...

Discover More

Editing Individual Cells

Need to edit the data within a cell? There are any number of ways you can perform the edit; this tip documents them all.

Discover More

Rotating a Text Box

Text boxes are integral to the layout of many slides, especially if they contain text. Here's how to change the angle at ...

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)

Errors when Copying References to External Cells

If you copy a cell that contains a reference to external data, do you get an error? It could be due to the complexity of the ...

Discover More

Splitting Text to Multiple Cells

When processing data, you may have a need to split a long text string into shorter chunks of text consisting of whole words. ...

Discover More

Forcing Input to Uppercase

If you type information into a workbook, you may want to make sure that what you type is always stored in uppercase. There is ...

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 for this tip:

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. 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 two more than 9?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


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.

Links and Sharing