Author: Oscar Cronquist Article last updated on October 02, 2018

You may have tried to create a unique distinct list, using conditional formatting with excel 2007, merging duplicates into one distinct value. The problem is that it only highlights all values occurring only once.  See picture.


If you highlight all duplicates, excel 2007 highlights all values occurring twice or more. See picture.


But to be able to delete values occuring the second time or more, we need to use another conditional formatting formula. So I thought why not create a conditonal formatting formula that highlights only the cells that needs to be deleted. The end result is a unique (distinct) list. Here is how to do that:

Highlighting duplicate values occuring the second time or more:

  1. Select the range (C2:C12)
  2. Click "Home" tab on the ribbon
  3. Click "Conditional formatting"
  4. Click "New rule..."
  5. Click "Use a formula to determine which cells to format"
  6. Click "Format values where this formual is true" window.
  7. Type =IF(COUNT(IF($C$2:$C2=$C2, 1, ""))>1, TRUE, FALSE)
  8. Click OK!


Sorting duplicates to bottom

  1. Right click on any cell in range C2:C12
  2. Click "Sort"
  3. Click "Custom sort..."
  4. Select "On bottom" in the order column
  5. Click OK!


Select highlighted values and press "Delete" on keyboard

Download excel example file
(Excel 97-2003 Workbook *.xls)

Functions in this article:

IF(logical_test,[value_if_true], [value_if_false])
Checks whether a condition is met, and returns one value if TRUE, and another value if FALSE

Counts the number of cells in a range that contain numbers