In the world of data management, precision and clarity are paramount. Whether you’re managing a simple task list, analyzing sales figures, or collaborating on a project, Google Sheets offers a powerful platform to organize and manipulate your data. However, as your spreadsheet grows, so does the risk of data clutter. This is where the need to “remove duplicates in Google Sheets” becomes essential.
In this article, we will guide you through the process of efficiently removing duplicates in Google Sheets, helping you maintain data integrity and streamline your workflow.
But before we delve any further, let’s see a use case or scenario that might require you to remove duplicates in Google Sheets.
Imagine you’re responsible for organizing a team-building event for your company. You’ve created a Google Sheets document to keep track of RSVPs, and it’s filled with participant names, email addresses, and dietary preferences.
As more colleagues sign up for the event, you notice that some individuals accidentally registered twice, creating unnecessary confusion. To maintain a clean and accurate RSVP list, it’s crucial to remove these duplicates promptly.
As we delve deeper, we will show you the step-by-step process of removing duplicates in Google Sheets.
Remove Duplicates In Google Sheets Using the Remove Duplicates Tool
With a scenario at hand that vividly highlights the practical necessity of removing duplicates in Google Sheets, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and dive into the hands-on aspect of today’s guide.
While Google Sheets offers several practical ways to remove duplicates, we will kick things off with the remove duplicates tool offered by Google Sheets.
Here is what you should know. When faced with the task of decluttering your data, Google Sheets offers a handy built-in tool known as “Remove Duplicates.”
This tool simplifies the process of eliminating redundant entries from your spreadsheet, ensuring your data stays accurate and easy to work with.
If you want to know how to remove duplicates in Google Sheets using the remove duplicates tool, you’re welcome to read further, as we will go over all the details shortly.
Here is the sample data we will use to show you how to remove duplicates in Google Sheets.
Our objective: Given the sample data of participants with potential duplicates in the ‘Participant Name’ and ‘Email Address’ columns, our objective is to demonstrate how to use Google Sheets’ ‘Remove duplicates’ tool to eliminate redundant entries efficiently.
By following the step-by-step instructions we will detail shortly, we aim to create a refined list of unique participants, ensuring data accuracy.
Copy Sample Sheet
To make the most of this guide and actively practice the methods outlined, we recommend copying our provided sample sheet using the link below.
For those who already have their own sheet and data, you can replicate the steps on your own sheet, adapting the techniques to your specific needs.
Step 1: Open Your Google Sheets Document
To get started, open your Google Sheets file, where you have the data with duplicates you want to remove.
In our example, we’re using the sample data sheet we showed you earlier.
If you’re doing this along with us, simply open the sample sheet, make a copy for yourself, and then move on to the next step.
Step 2: Select the Range
With your Google Sheets file with duplicate now open, click and drag to select the range of cells containing the data you want to clean.
In our case, we will go ahead and select the entire data set in our spreadsheet. Make sure to include the different headers you have in your spreadsheet.
Step 3: Data > Data Cleanup > Remove Duplicates
Now that we have highlighted the entire data set in our spreadsheet, let’s dive into the tricky aspect. What we want to do here is navigate to the Data menu at the top of the Google Sheets interface.
Once we click on it, we will see a whole bunch of options. Navigate all the way down and select the option for Data cleanup. This option will open a sub-menu with various data-cleaning options.
Click on “Remove duplicates” from the sub-menu.
Step 4: Choose Columns to Check for Duplicates
After selecting the option for Remove duplicates, Google Sheets will launch the dialog box with additional options we need to tweak.
In the dialog box, you’ll see a list of columns in your selected range. Here, we need to check the box for Data has a header row.
For our example, we will select the columns where we have recorded participant names and email addresses.
Step 5: Confirm Your Selection and Remove Duplicates
Once you’ve selected the columns to check for duplicates, click the “Remove duplicates” button. Google Sheets will process your selection and remove any duplicate entries while preserving the first occurrence of each unique record.
After selecting the option for Remove duplicates, you should get a response like this:
From the screenshot above, you can see that Google Sheets has provided us with a summary of the duplicates that were eliminated.
What we want to do now is review this information to ensure it aligns with our expectations. If everything looks correct, click “OK” to save the changes.
If you followed the steps exactly as we showed you, you should notice that the duplicates have been removed.
Here, check out what our spreadsheet looks like after removing the duplicates:
How To Remove Duplicates in Google Sheets Using the UNIQUE function
In the previous section, we explored the process of removing duplicates in Google Sheets using the built-in “Remove duplicates” tool, a straightforward method ideal for many situations. Now, we’re going to introduce you to an alternative approach that offers more flexibility – the use of the UNIQUE function.
For the sake of consistency and clarity, we will continue using the same sample data sheet we utilized in the previous example. This will allow us to demonstrate how to effectively remove duplicates in Google Sheets using the UNIQUE function while retaining the original dataset.
This method is particularly useful when you want to keep a record of all data but still have a clean list of unique entries. So, let’s dive into how to use the UNIQUE function with our sample data to achieve this in Google Sheets.
Here is the sample data we will use to show you how to remove duplicates in Google Sheets using the Unique function:
Objective for using the Unique function: With the same sample data sheet we used in the previous example, our objective is to demonstrate how to remove duplicates in Google Sheets using the UNIQUE function effectively.
This method offers greater versatility, making it ideal for situations where you want to maintain a record of all data while simultaneously generating a clean list of unique entries.
Let’s cut to the chase and show you the steps to take.
Step 1: Open Your Google Sheets Document
Begin by opening the Google Sheets document containing the data with duplicates that you want to address. As mentioned earlier, we are using the same sample data we used in the previous method for this demonstration.
Step 2: Select the Destination Cell
Once our Google Sheers with duplicate data loads, we need to choose where we want the unique data to appear. Think of it as the place where the clean, duplicate-free information will pop up.
For our demonstration, let’s pick a cell called ‘F3.’ If you’re doing this together with us, go ahead and click on ‘F3’ in your own spreadsheet.
Step 3: Enter the UNIQUE Function
Having selected the destination cell, it’s time to enter our Unique function formula. To do that, head over to the formula bar and type in the following formula:
Breaking down the formula
A3:C13 refers to the range of cells where the original data with duplicates is located. Make sure to adjust this range to match your actual data range.
In our sample data, this range covers the participant names, email addresses, and dietary preferences.
Step 4: Press Enter
After entering the formula, press the Enter key. Google Sheets will process the formula, and in the selected cell, you’ll see a list of unique values based on the data range you specified.
Here is what our spreadsheet looks like after hitting the Enter key:
Step 5: Review and Verify
Take a moment to review the new list of unique values. You’ll notice that any duplicate entries have been automatically removed, leaving only the distinct entries in the specified range.
Step 6: Customize and Format (Optional)
Depending on your needs, you can further customize and format the unique values list. You can add headers, sort the data, or apply additional formatting as required for your specific use case.
For our example, we will format the headers for our newly created data set without duplicates so it looks clean.
With these steps, you have successfully removed duplicates from your data using the UNIQUE function in Google Sheets, creating a clean list of unique entries while preserving the original dataset.
This method is highly versatile and can be employed in various scenarios where data accuracy and uniqueness are paramount.
How to Find and Remove Duplicates In Google Sheets
While the previous methods we explored were focused on removing duplicates directly, there are instances where you might want to take a more selective approach by first identifying duplicates in your data.
In such cases, you can employ conditional formatting rules to highlight these duplicates within your dataset. This method can be particularly useful when you want to visually identify duplicate entries before deciding to remove them.
Let’s delve into how to find and highlight duplicates in Google Sheets before taking action.
For this section, we will use the same sample data we used in the previous example.
Here is what the sample data looks like:
To begin the process of identifying and highlighting duplicates in your Google Sheets, follow these steps:
Step 1: Open Your Google Sheets Document
Start by opening the Google Sheets document containing the data you wish to inspect for duplicates. For this example, we will use the same sample data we used for the previous examples.
Step 2: Select the Data Range
Choose the range of cells where you suspect duplicates may exist. For our scenario, we will go ahead and select the entire data set in our sheet. You can click and drag your cursor to highlight this specific range.
Step 3: Format > Conditional Formatting
With the data set in our spreadsheet selected, navigate to the “Format” menu at the top of the Google Sheets interface. Click on it to reveal a dropdown menu.
From the drop-down menu, choose “Conditional formatting.” This will open a sidebar on the right-hand side of your Google Sheets document.
Step 5: Set Up the Conditional Formatting Rule
In the sidebar, you’ll have the option to configure the conditional formatting rule. Here’s how to do it:
- In the “Format cells if” dropdown, select “Custom formula is.”
- In the text box next to it, enter the following formula to highlight duplicates:
=COUNTIFS($A$4:$A, A4, $B$4:$B, B4)>1
- Choose a formatting style for the highlighted duplicates. You can change the cell background color, text color or apply other formatting options according to your preference. For this example, we will keep things simple and only change the background color to yellow. Once that’s done, click on Done.
If you followed the steps we described above, your spreadsheet should be updated, showing the cells with duplicates.
Here, take a look at what our spreadsheet looks like:
If you look closely at the screenshot above, you’ll notice that the cells with duplicates have now been highlighted. Now, you can manually delete the duplicate data.
Effective data management is a crucial skill in today’s digital age, and Google Sheets offers powerful tools to help you maintain the accuracy and cleanliness of your spreadsheets.
Removing duplicates is an essential part of this process, ensuring that your data remains error-free and easy to work with. In this guide, we explored multiple methods to tackle duplicates head-on.
- Method 1: Using the “Remove duplicates” Tool: This method is straightforward and efficient, making it an excellent choice for quickly eliminating duplicates. It’s particularly useful when you want to streamline your data without the need for further analysis.
- Method 2: Using the UNIQUE Function: The UNIQUE function offers flexibility by creating a new list of unique values while preserving the original dataset. This method is valuable when you want to maintain a record of all data but still need a clean list of unique entries.
- Finding Duplicates with Conditional Formatting: Before removing duplicates, it’s sometimes beneficial to visually identify them. Using conditional formatting, you can highlight duplicate entries, making it easier to spot and assess duplicates within your data.
Whether you’re planning events, managing inventories, or analyzing data, the ability to remove duplicates in Google Sheets is a valuable skill.
Choosing the right method depends on your specific needs, but having these techniques in your toolkit empowers you to keep your spreadsheets organized, error-free, and ready for analysis.
Remember that data cleanliness and accuracy are fundamental for making informed decisions and efficiently managing your projects.