How To Highlight Duplicates in Google Sheets 2023

Google Sheets offers powerful tools for data analysis, and one common task is identifying and highlighting duplicate values. In this guide, we’ll explore various methods to achieve this in Google Sheets.

How To Highlight Duplicates in Google Sheets Using a Single Column

Because you’ll often need to highlight duplicates in a single column, we’ll start there. Next, I’ll share more complex methods. That includes how to find multiple cells with the same value in multiple columns. Here are the steps to highlight duplicate data in a column:

  1. Select the dataset (as in the above animation)
  2. Go to “Format” > “Conditional formatting
  3. Click on the “Format cells if” drop-down and then click on “Custom formula is
  4. Enter the following formula: =COUNTIF(Search Range,Cell reference)>1
  5. Under “Formatting style,” specify the formatting and click “Done

How To Highlight Duplicates in Multiple Columns

Sometimes, you may need to identify duplicates across multiple columns. Learn how to efficiently highlight these duplicates without missing any crucial information.

How To Highlight Duplicate Values in Google Sheets: Finding Duplicate Rows

Google Sheets provides a straightforward way to identify and highlight duplicate values, especially when dealing with entire rows of data. This can be particularly useful in scenarios where you want to identify and manage duplicate records within a dataset. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to highlight duplicate rows in Google Sheets:

  1. Open Your Google Sheet:
    • Go to Google Sheets and open the sheet containing the data you want to analyze.
  2. Select the Range:
    • Choose the range of cells or columns where you suspect duplicate rows may exist. Ensure that the entire rows you want to check are included in your selection.
  3. Click on “Format” in the Menu:
    • Navigate to the top menu and click on “Format.”
  4. Choose “Conditional formatting”:
    • From the dropdown menu, select “Conditional formatting.”
  5. Set the Custom Formula:
    • In the Conditional Format Rules panel that appears on the right, choose “Custom formula is” from the dropdown menu.
  6. Enter the Formula:
    • Enter the following formula, replacing A with the starting column of your selection:bashCopy code=COUNTIF($A:$A, $A1)>1 This formula checks if the value in the first column of the selected range appears more than once.
  7. Choose Formatting Style:
    • Below the custom formula field, you can set the formatting style for the duplicate rows. Click on the paint bucket icon to choose a background color or any other formatting options.
  8. Click “Done”:
    • After setting up the custom formula and formatting style, click “Done.”
  9. Review the Highlighted Duplicate Rows:
    • Google Sheets will automatically highlight the entire rows where duplicate values are found based on the specified criteria.
  10. Adjust and Modify as Needed:
    • If necessary, you can go back to the Conditional Format Rules panel to adjust the formula or formatting style.

How To Show Duplicates in Google Sheets With Added Criteria

Take your duplicate identification to the next level by incorporating additional criteria. Learn how to highlight duplicates based on specific conditions, providing a more refined analysis of your data.

  1. Open Your Google Sheet:
    • Access the Google Sheet that contains the data you want to analyze.
  2. Select the Range:
    • Choose the range of cells or columns where you suspect duplicates may exist. Ensure your selection covers the relevant data.
  3. Click on “Format” in the Menu:
    • Navigate to the top menu and click on “Format.”
  4. Choose “Conditional formatting”:
    • From the dropdown menu, select “Conditional formatting.”
  5. Set the Custom Formula:
    • In the Conditional Format Rules panel, select “Custom formula is” from the dropdown menu.
  6. Enter the Formula with Added Criteria:
    • Enter a custom formula that includes the criteria you want to apply. For example, if you want to find duplicates only in column A where values in column B are greater than 100, the formula might look like this:bashCopy code=COUNTIFS($A:$A, $A1, $B:$B, ">100")>1 Adjust the formula based on your specific criteria.
  7. Choose Formatting Style:
    • Below the custom formula field, set the formatting style for the duplicates meeting the specified criteria. Click on the paint bucket icon to choose formatting options.
  8. Click “Done”:
    • Once you’ve entered the formula and set the formatting style, click “Done.”
  9. Review the Highlighted Duplicates with Added Criteria:
    • Google Sheets will highlight the cells that meet the specified criteria for duplicates based on the custom formula.
  10. Adjust and Modify as Needed:
    • If necessary, you can go back to the Conditional Format Rules panel to modify the formula or formatting style.

How To Edit Conditional Formatting Rules

Conditional formatting is a powerful feature in Google Sheets, and understanding how to edit its rules allows you to customize the highlighting of duplicate values to suit your specific needs.

  1. Open Your Google Sheet:
    • Navigate to Google Sheets and open the spreadsheet containing the data with conditional formatting.
  2. Select the Range:
    • Choose the range of cells or columns where conditional formatting is applied. Click and drag to select the relevant data.
  3. Access Conditional Formatting Options:
    • Go to the top menu and click on “Format.”
  4. Choose “Conditional formatting”:
    • From the dropdown menu, select “Conditional formatting.”
  5. View Existing Rules:
    • In the Conditional Format Rules panel that appears on the right, you’ll see the existing rules applied to the selected range.
  6. Edit Existing Rule:
    • To edit an existing rule, click on the rule you want to modify. The rule details, including the custom formula, will be displayed.
  7. Make Changes:
    • Adjust the custom formula or any other formatting options according to your requirements.
  8. Click “Done”:
    • Once you’ve made the necessary changes, click “Done” to apply the updated rule.
  9. Add New Rule (Optional):
    • If you want to add a new rule or modify multiple rules, you can click on the “+ Add another rule” button in the Conditional Format Rules panel. Follow the same steps to set up the new rule.
  10. Review the Updated Formatting:
    • Google Sheets will instantly apply the changes to the formatting based on your edited rules. Review the spreadsheet to ensure the modifications meet your expectations.
  11. Remove Rules (Optional):
    • If you want to delete a rule entirely, you can do so by clicking the trash bin icon next to the rule in the Conditional Format Rules panel.

How To Check for Duplicates in Google Sheets Using UNIQUE

Explore the use of the UNIQUE function to check for duplicates in Google Sheets. This function provides a different approach to identifying and managing duplicate values within your spreadsheet.

  1. Open Your Google Sheet:
    • Launch Google Sheets and access the spreadsheet containing the data you want to analyze.
  2. Select a New Range:
    • Choose a blank column or a range of cells where you want to display the results of the duplicate check. This column will contain the unique values.
  3. Enter the UNIQUE Formula:
    • In the first cell of the selected column, enter the following UNIQUE formula, assuming your data is in column A (adjust the range accordingly):scssCopy code=UNIQUE(A:A)
    • Press Enter to apply the formula.
  4. Review the Unique Values:
    • The selected column will now display unique values extracted from column A.
  5. Identify Duplicates:
    • Next to the unique values column, enter the following formula to identify duplicates in column A:lessCopy code=IF(COUNTIF(A:A, A2)>1, "Duplicate", "") This formula checks if each value in column A appears more than once. If it does, it marks it as “Duplicate”; otherwise, it leaves the cell blank.
  6. Drag the Formula Down:
    • Click on the small square at the bottom right corner of the cell containing the formula, and drag it down to apply the formula to the entire column.
  7. Review the Results:
    • The column next to your original data will now indicate which values are duplicates.
  8. Filter or Highlight Duplicates (Optional):
    • You can use filters or conditional formatting to highlight or filter the rows where duplicates are identified for better visibility.

Potential Problems When Highlighting Duplicate Cells in Google Sheets

While highlighting duplicates is a useful feature, it’s essential to be aware of potential issues that may arise during the process. Learn about common problems and how to address them effectively.

  1. Conditional Formatting Limits:
    • Google Sheets has limits on the number of conditional formatting rules that can be applied to a sheet (currently 400). If your sheet already has many rules, you may encounter issues when trying to add new ones. In such cases, consider consolidating or simplifying existing rules.
  2. Performance Issues with Large Datasets:
    • For large datasets, applying conditional formatting to identify duplicates might impact spreadsheet performance. If you experience slow response times, consider using formulas like COUNTIF or alternative methods to avoid performance degradation.
  3. Inconsistent Data Formats:
    • Duplicates might not be recognized if the data in seemingly identical cells has different formats (e.g., numbers formatted as text). Ensure consistent formatting across the range you are checking for duplicates.
  4. Cell References in Conditional Formatting Rules:
    • When applying conditional formatting rules, be cautious with absolute and relative cell references in formulas. Ensure that the references are set appropriately to cover the entire range you intend to analyze.
  5. Complex Formulas and Rules:
    • Using overly complex formulas or rules may lead to unintended consequences or difficulties in troubleshooting. Keep your formulas clear and concise for better readability and maintainability.
  6. Hidden Rows or Columns:
    • If your sheet contains hidden rows or columns within the range you are checking for duplicates, the conditional formatting may not work as expected. Unhide any hidden rows or columns that might affect the analysis.
  7. Locked Cells:
    • If cells within the range are locked (protected), conditional formatting might not be applied. Ensure that the cells you want to format are not restricted by sheet protection.
  8. Updated Data:
    • If your data is frequently updated or changes dynamically, be aware that conditional formatting rules might not automatically adapt. Manually refresh or reapply formatting rules as needed.

Some Tips When Highlighting Duplicates in Google Sheets

Discover valuable tips and best practices for a smooth experience when highlighting duplicates. From optimizing your workflow to ensuring accuracy, these tips will enhance your proficiency in working with duplicate values.

By mastering these techniques, you can efficiently manage and analyze datasets in Google Sheets, ensuring that you catch and handle duplicate values effectively. Whether you’re dealing with a small spreadsheet or a large dataset, these methods will streamline your workflow and enhance your data analysis capabilities in Google Sheets.

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