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How To Sort Unique Values In Google Sheets Easily

Whether you’re tracking expenses, managing a project, or compiling a list of names, being able to sort unique values in Google Sheets is a fundamental skill that can make your work more organized and insightful.

Whether you are a spreadsheet guru or just starting out, today’s guide will show you how to sort unique values in Google Sheets.

But before we jump into the nitty-gritty of this Google Sheets tutorial, let’s quickly look at a relatable use case that might require you to sort unique values in Google Sheets.

Unique Scenario/Use Case

Imagine you’re a project manager handling a team of freelancers contributing to a large content creation project. Each freelancer submits their work progress regularly through a shared Google Sheets document. As the project advances, this sheet becomes a hub of information, with various updates and contributions noted down.

However, there’s a challenge: Some freelancers accidentally submit their progress multiple times, leading to duplicate entries in the document. This duplication clutters the sheet and makes it harder to track the most recent and accurate progress.

This is where the “Sort Unique Values” feature in Google Sheets comes to your rescue.

The Dilemma: Sorting through rows and rows of data manually to identify and remove duplicate entries would be time-consuming and error-prone. You need a solution that can automatically detect and eliminate these duplicates, leaving you with a clean and accurate record of progress.

The Solution: Utilizing the “Sort Unique Values” functionality in Google Sheets can streamline this process. By isolating the column containing freelancer submissions and applying the “Sort Unique Values” option, you can swiftly generate a list that displays only the distinct progress updates. This eliminates duplicates and ensures that each freelancer’s contribution is represented only once, regardless of how many times they may have accidentally submitted their work.

Sort Unique Values In Google Sheets Using The Remove Duplicates Tool

As you continue your journey in mastering Google Sheets, it’s time to delve into a powerful tool that complements your ability to sort unique values in Google Sheets: the “Remove Duplicates” feature. 

This tool provides a straightforward way to enhance data clarity by eliminating repetitive entries. 

Let’s walk through the step-by-step process of sorting unique values in Google Sheets. 

We will use the following sample data for this tutorial. 

Before we proceed with the “Remove Duplicates” tool, let’s sort the unique values in the “Freelancer Name” column to get a clearer view of our data.

Step 1: Select The Entire Table (Excluding The Header Row)

The first thing we want to do here is select the entire data set in our spreadsheet. However, you must ensure you don’t include the header row in your selection. 

It should look something like this: 

Step 2: Navigate to “Data” In The menu

Once you’re done highlighting the data for which you want to sort unique values in Google Sheets, navigate to the Data menu and select the option for Sort range. From the available option, select Sort range by column A (A – Z). What this action does is sort the data featured in column A in alphabetical order. 

After applying the changes, you should notice that the Freelancer Name column has been sorted alphabetically.

Here, take a look at what ours looks like: 

Step 3: Highlight Entire Data

With the data in our spreadsheet now correctly sorted as we want, quickly clean up the data by removing duplicate entries based on the Freelancer Name column. To start, we need to highlight the entire data in our spreadsheet, including the headers. 

Step 4: Data > Data Cleanup > Remove Duplicates

With the data in our spreadsheet now selected, navigate to the Data menu, scroll all the way down and select the option for Data cleanup. You’ll be presented with different options, choose the option for Remove duplicates. 

Step 5: Remove Duplicates

After choosing the option to Remove duplicates, a pop-up window will launch. Here, you need to check the box for Data has headers. Under the columns to analyze options, uncheck other selections, leaving only the option for Freelancer Name checked. 

After removing duplicates, you should get a response like this: 

With that done, let’s head back to our spreadsheet to see if our changes have been effected. 

Here is what ours looks like: 

From the image above, you can see that we have been able to remove duplicates in the Freelance Name column. Now, that’s how to sort values in Google Sheets using the remove duplicates tool. That wasn’t too hard, was it?

Sort Unique Values In Google Sheets Using the Unique Function

The “Remove duplicates” tool acts directly on the main data you have. This means that when it removes duplicates, it actually changes the original information. However, if you prefer to keep your original data unchanged, you might find it better to use the UNIQUE function instead.

Syntax for the UNIQUE Function in Google Sheets: 

Before we show you how to use the Unique function to sort unique values in Google Sheets, here is what the syntax for the function looks like: 


In this situation, when we mention “range,” we’re talking about the specific data group from which you aim to select unique entries. This group could encompass a series of columns or even just individual cells. As you apply the function, the outcome will display right from the cell where you input the formula.

Using the Unique Function to Sort Unique Values in Google Sheets

​​Now, let’s use the same data set we used for our earlier example to grasp how the UNIQUE function works.

To make it simple for you to spot the changes between the original and the new data, we’ll show the outcome in a nearby part of the sheet. But remember, you can also put the UNIQUE formula in a different sheet if you prefer.

Here are the steps you’ll follow if you want to apply the UNIQUE function to eliminate duplicates from the data above:

Step 1: Choose The Cell Where You Want The Result Generated

Let’s start by choosing the cell where we want our sorted data recreated. For this example, we will use cell D1. 

Step 2: Enter The Unique Formula

With the cell where we want our sorted data generated selected, we need to now apply the Unique formula. To do that, navigate to the formula bar and type in the following formula: 


Step 3: Hit Enter

You can hit Enter on your keyboard after entering the Unique formula like we showed you. This action authorizes Google Sheets to remove duplicates and sort the unique in the selected cell. 

Here is what we have after executing this step: 

Examining the picture above, you can see how we neatly organized the sorted data in column D. This shows how simple it is to sort unique values in Google Sheets.


Sorting unique values in Google Sheets isn’t rocket science, and we have shown you how to do it. 

Today’s guide showed you how to leverage the remove duplicate tool to sort unique values in Google Sheets. Not just that, we also showed you how to use the Unique function to sort unique values in Google Sheets.

After reading today’s guide, you should be able to sort unique values in Google Sheets without qualms. 

Remember, as a beginner, practice makes perfect. Feel free to experiment with your own data sets, applying the techniques you’ve learned. And don’t forget, Google Sheets is more than just a collection of cells – it’s a versatile tool that empowers you to work smarter and more efficiently.

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