How to Highlight Duplicates in Google Sheets

How to Highlight Duplicates in Google Sheets

Whether you’re dealing with lists of contacts, inventory records, or any other type of data, spotting duplicates can help maintain accuracy and efficiency.

Not only it is critical, but time-consuming and very much of a hassle as well.

Fortunately, Google Sheets offers powerful tools to streamline this process.

I’ll walk you through how to effectively highlight duplicates in Google Sheets, so you can tidy up and organize your data effortlessly.

Why Highlight Duplicates in Google Sheets?

Highlighting duplicates serves several purposes:

  • Data Accuracy – First off, it’s all about keeping your data in check. By swiftly spotting and getting rid of duplicate entries, you’re ensuring that your data stays accurate and reliable. No one wants to sift through a mess of repetitive information, right?
  • Efficiency – Highlighting those duplicates helps streamline your data analysis process. You can quickly pinpoint those pesky duplicates for further inspection or action, saving you precious time and effort.
  • Visual Clarity – When duplicates are glaringly highlighted, it’s much easier to spot any funky patterns or discrepancies lurking within your data.
  • Error Prevention – Double entries can lead to all sorts of mix-ups, like accidental double-counting or wonky analysis results. Highlighting duplicates acts as a safeguard, keeping those slip-ups at bay and your data squeaky clean.
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Step-by-Step Guide to Highlighting Duplicates:

Step 1: Open Your Google Sheets Document

Access your Google Sheets document containing the data you want to analyze for duplicates.

If you haven’t already done so, organize your data into columns and rows for clarity and ease of analysis.

Step 1 Open Your Google Sheets Document

Step 2: Select the Data Range

Click and drag to select the range of cells or columns where you want to identify duplicates.

Make sure to include all relevant data that you want to check for duplicates within the selected range.

Step 2 Select the Data Range

Step 3: Navigate to the “Format” Menu

Once your data range is selected, navigate to the “Format” menu located at the top of the Google Sheets interface.

Click on “Conditional formatting” from the dropdown menu to open the conditional formatting options.

Step 3 Navigate to the Format Menu

Step 4: Apply Conditional Formatting Rules

In the conditional formatting pane, click on the dropdown menu under “Format cells if” and select “Custom formula is” from the list.

Step 4 Apply Conditional Formatting Rules

Step 4 Apply Conditional Formatting Rules 1

Enter the following formula to identify duplicates:

=COUNTIF(A:A, A1) > 1


Replace “A:A” with the range of cells you selected in Step 2 if necessary.

Step 5: Choose Formatting Style

After entering the formula, choose the formatting style you prefer for highlighting duplicates.

You can select a background color, text color, or any other formatting options to make duplicates stand out visually.

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Step 5 Choose Formatting Style

Step 6: Apply and Review

Once you’ve chosen your formatting style, click “Done” to apply the conditional formatting rules.

Google Sheets will automatically highlight any duplicate values within the selected range based on the specified formatting.

Step 6 Apply and Review

[Video Tutorial]

Highlight and Remove Duplicates

But what if you want to remove those duplicates that you see?

When doing so, just follow these 4 basic steps.

  • Select the range of cells containing the data from which you want to remove duplicates.

  • Go to the menu at the top and click on “Data.”

  • Select “Remove duplicates” from the dropdown menu.


  • Click “Remove duplicates.”


Video Tutorial


Highlighting duplicates in Google Sheets might seem like a small thing, but let me tell you, it packs a punch.

It’s a simple yet mighty technique that keeps your data on point and your workflow humming along smoothly.

So, next time you’re knee-deep in spreadsheets, remember this little trick—it’ll make all the difference.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you compare two columns and find matches?

Yes, you can compare two columns in Google Sheets and find matches using various methods.

You can use the VLOOKUP function and the MATCH function in comparing two columns.

See also Advanced Formulas and Functions in Google Sheets

Does remove duplicates remove the entire row?

No, it will not. The “Remove duplicates” feature does not remove entire rows; it only removes duplicate values within the specified range or column.

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