## Concatenate unique distinct values

*Article updated on February 19, 2018*

The new TEXTJOIN function in excel 2016 lets you do some amazing things with arrays. This post demonstrates how to extract unique distinct values from a single column and concatenate the result into one cell.

The following picture shows you 4 values in column B. Value "AA" has a duplicate in cell B5. Unique distinct values are all values except duplicates.

Array formula in cell D3:

**Tip!** You can use the UDF I made if you don't have Excel 2016 and the TEXTJOIN function.

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#### How to enter an array formula

- Double click on cell D3
- Copy/Paste above formula to cell D3
- Press and hold CTRL + SHIFT
- Press Enter once
- Release all keys

Your formula has now a beginning and ending curly bracket, like this:

Don't enter these characters yourself, they appear automatically if you followed above steps.

Recommended article

Learn the basics of Excel arrays

Array formulas allows you to do advanced calculations not possible with regular formulas.

#### Explaining array formula in cell D3

**Step 1 - Match values with themselves**

MATCH(B3:B6, B3:B6, 0)

becomes

MATCH({"AA"; "BB"; "AA"; "CC"}, {"AA"; "BB"; "AA"; "CC"},0)

and returns {1;2;1;4}

The MATCH function returns the relative position of a value in an array. It only returns the position of the first found value.

Value "AA" is found on the first position, so the first value in the array is 1. {**1**;2;1;4}

Value "BB" is found on the second position, so the second value in the array is 2. {1;**2**;1;4}

Value "AA" is found on the first position, so the third value in the array is 1. {1;2;**1**;4}

Value "CC" is found on the fourth position, so the fourth value in the array is 4. {1;2;1;**4**}

Recommended article

Identify the position of a value in an array.

**Step 2 - Compare array with relative positions**

MATCH(B3:B6, B3:B6, 0)=MATCH(ROW(B3:B6), ROW(B3:B6))

becomes

{1;2;1;4}={1;2;3;4}

and returns {TRUE;TRUE;FALSE;TRUE}

This array tells us if a value is a duplicate or not. FALSE indicates a duplicate and we don't want that in the final result.

**Step 3 - Filter unique distinct values**

IF(MATCH(B3:B6, B3:B6, 0)=MATCH(ROW(B3:B6), ROW(B3:B6)), B3:B6, "")

becomes

IF({TRUE;TRUE;FALSE;TRUE}, B3:B6, "")

becomes

IF({TRUE;TRUE;FALSE;TRUE}, {"AA";"BB";"AA";"CC"}, "")

and returns {"AA";"BB";"";"CC"}

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Checks if a logical expression is met. Returns a specific value if TRUE and another specific value if FALSE.

**Step 4 - Concatenate values**

TEXTJOIN(", ", TRUE, IF(MATCH(B3:B6, B3:B6, 0)=MATCH(ROW(B3:B6), ROW(B3:B6)), B3:B6, ""))

becomes

TEXTJOIN(", ", TRUE, {"AA";"BB";"";"CC"})

and returns AA,BB,CC.

The first argument in the TEXTJOIN function lets you specify the delimiting character. The second argument if you want to ignore empty strings. The third argument is the values you want to concatenate.

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How to use the TEXTJOIN function

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#### Functions in this article

Make sure you check out these links if you want to know more about the excel functions in the array formula above: TEXTJOIN, MATCH, IF, ROW

#### Download excel *.xlsx file

Lookup and return multiple values concatenated into one cell

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This article demonstrates how to find a value in a column and concatenate corresponding values on the same row. The […]### 2 Responses to “Concatenate unique distinct values”

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