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: Finding Rows with Values in Two Columns.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 5, 2016)
Adri has a worksheet that has quite a few data records in it (well over 40,000). Two of the columns on each row are supposed to be mutually exclusive—a value can be in column F or in column G, but a value should not be in column F and column G. Adri need a quick way to find any records in which there is a value in both columns F and G so she can rectify these erroneous entries.
The key here is the phrase "on each row." Audri wants to simply look at column F and G on any given row and make sure that there aren't values (any values) in both F and G. Understanding this, there are a number of different ways you can proceed. An easy way is to add a simple formula to column H, such as this:
Assuming you place this formula in cell H2 (just to the right of the cells being examined), the result will be either 0, 1, or 2. If both F2 and G2 are empty, then the result is 0; if either F2 or G2 is empty, then the result is 1; and if neither F2 or G2 is empty, then the result is 2. You can easily sort or filter by the results in column H to find those rows that don't have the proper count.
If you prefer a textual indicator in column H, you can use a formula such as this:
This formula displays "Error" if there is either nothing in F and G or something in both F and G. It only displays "OK" if there is something in either F or G. With the formula in place, you can easily sort or filter to find the errant rows.
Speaking of filters, you can easily apply an AutoFilter that will show you only those rows that have something in both columns F and G. Turn on the AutoFilter tool, and then click the down-arrow at the top of column F. In the resulting drop-down list, choose Show Nonblanks. The number of rows displayed on the screen is reduced according to this specification. When you apply the same criteria to column G, what you are left with is only those rows with non-blank values in both F and G. (If you also want to check those which have nothing in both F and G, you can select Show Blanks for both column F and G.)
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10628) 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: Finding Rows with Values in Two Columns.
Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!
The drop-down arrow used at the top of columns by AutoFilter can be difficult to see. Here's a way you can reduce the ...Discover More
Apply an AutoFilter to a worksheet, and you can quickly forget exactly what that AutoFilter entailed. Here are a couple of ...Discover More
Excel limits the number of items that can be shown in an AutoFilter drop-down list. Granted, it is a high limit, but it is a ...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.