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Duplicates in Microsoft Excel: how they can be found and processed?

The situations when you have to deal with duplicate entries in Microsoft Excel are widely spread. Let us give an obvious example: you manage a distribution list in the Excel table (e-mail addresses and recipients` names). In order to conduct a certain distribution, the necessity appears to supply this list with the addresses from a different file or database. Perhaps, some added addresses are already in your list, so after the list enrichment, you take the risk of sending several messages to one and the same recipient, which is not at least ethical.

If your list is small in size, you can easily solve the problem of address duplicates by a simple sorting in alphabetical order and deleting the duplicates manually. But it is unlikely to be performed smartly in case your list contains hundreds or even thousands of rows.

Let us review another aspect of the problem - operations with the found duplicates. Suppose, that after merging two price-lists (in Excel table format) you got an updated price-list. At the same time you understand that some positions are duplicated. But not all duplicates must be deleted, some of them must be kept, for example, if same positions are presented in different sections of the price-list. In this case the alphabetical sorting can hardly help, and moreover, it can distort the original structure of the price-list. It is obvious that the solution would be simply to find all duplicate entries and highlight them (for example, by a color or cell format). Then it is possible to examine all duplicates quickly, delete the unneeded and leave the necessary ones.

Both abovementioned examples display that the manual search for duplicates is a very complex task, especially in big and complicated tables. Therefore, there are special programs - plug-ins for Microsoft Excel that give the possibility to automate this operation. As a rule, they provide a user with different searching features (cell values or formulas, rows or columns) and various actions to be performed with the found duplicates (highlighting, deletion, transfer, etc).

You can learn more about such program and its capabilities on the homepage of the plug-in Remove Duplicates from Microsoft Excel.

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