## How to highlight duplicate values

#### Table of Contents

## 1. How to highlight duplicate values

The picture above shows duplicate values in column B, only the second or more duplicates are colored and easily identified.

To sort all duplicates to the bottom of the list for removal, creating a unique distinct list. See this blog post

How to create a unique list using conditional formatting in excel 2007

To color duplicate cells I use conditional formatting in excel. The conditional formatting formula in B3:B11:

### 1.1 Explaining CF formula

#### Step 1 - Expanding cell reference

The first argument in the COUNTIF function expands as the CF moves to cells below, this makes it easy to spot duplicate values as their count is 2 or larger.

Cell |
First argument |

B3 | $B3:$B$3 |

B4 | $B4:$B$3 |

B5 | $B5:$B$3 |

#### Step 2 - Absolute cell reference

The second argument changes to the current cell.

Cell |
Second argument |

B3 | B3 |

B4 | B4 |

B5 | B5 |

#### Step 3 - Count current value in expanding cell range

COUNTIF($B3:$B$3, B3)

becomes

COUNTIF("VV", "VV")

and returns 1

Cell |
COUNTIF |
Evaluates to |
Result |

B3 | COUNTIF($B3:$B$3, B3) | COUNTIF("VV", "VV") | 1 |

B4 | COUNTIF($B4:$B$3, B4) | COUNTIF({"VV","AA"}, "AA") | 1 |

B5 | COUNTIF($B5:$B$3, B5) | COUNTIF({"VV","AA","DD"}, "DD") | 1 |

#### Step 4 - Check if value is larger than 1

COUNTIF($B3:$B$3, B3)>1

becomes

1>1

and returns FALSE. Cell B3 is not highlighted.

**1.2 How to highlight duplicate values occurring the second time or more using conditional formatting in Excel**

- Select the range (B3:B10)
- Press with left mouse button on the "Home" tab on the ribbon
- Press with left mouse button on "Conditional formatting"
- Press with left mouse button on "New rule..."
- Press with left mouse button on "Use a formula to determine which cells to format"
- Press with left mouse button on "Format values where this formula is true" window.
- Type COUNTIF($B3:$B$3, $B3)>1
- Press with left mouse button on "Format" button
- Go to tab "Fill"
- Pick a color
- Press with left mouse button on OK button
- Press with left mouse button on OK button again to return to Excel

### 1.3 Get Excel example file

highlight-duplicates-using-conditional-formatting.xls

(Excel 97-2003 Workbook *.xls)

## 2. Highlight the smallest duplicate number

**Question:** How do I highlight the smallest duplicate value in a column using conditional formatting?

**Answer:**

Conditional formatting formula in A2:

**2.1 How to apply conditional formatting**

- Select cell range
- Go to "Home" tab
- Press with left mouse button on Conditional formatting
- Press with left mouse button on "New Rule.."
- Press with left mouse button on "Use a formula to determine what cells to format"
- Copy the above conditional formatting formula to "Format values where this formula is true:"
- Press with left mouse button on Format button
- Select a formatting you like.
- Press with left mouse button on OK
- Press with left mouse button on OK

### 2.2 Explaining CF formula in cell A2

#### Step 1 - Identify duplicates

The COUNTIF function counts values based on a condition or criteria.

COUNTIF($A$2:$A$11, $A$2:$A$11)>1

becomes

COUNTIF({6;4;6;12;18;12;10;3;11;8}, {6;4;6;12;18;12;10;3;11;8})>1

becomes

{2;1;2;2;1;2;1;1;1;1}>1

and returns

{TRUE; FALSE; TRUE; TRUE; FALSE; TRUE; FALSE; FALSE; FALSE; FALSE}.

#### Step 2 - Extract duplicate numbers

The IF function uses a logical expression in order to determine which argument to return.

IF(COUNTIF($A$2:$A$11, $A$2:$A$11)>1, $A$2:$A$11, "")

becomes

IF({TRUE; FALSE; TRUE; TRUE; FALSE; TRUE; FALSE; FALSE; FALSE; FALSE}, $A$2:$A$11, "")

becomes

IF({TRUE; FALSE; TRUE; TRUE; FALSE; TRUE; FALSE; FALSE; FALSE; FALSE}, {6;4;6;12;18;12;10;3;11;8}, "")

and returns

{6;"";6;12;"";12;"";"";"";""}.

#### Step 3 - Identify the smallest number in array

The MIN function extracts the minimum value in a cell range or array.

MIN(IF(COUNTIF($A$2:$A$11, $A$2:$A$11)>1, $A$2:$A$11, ""))

becomes

MIN({6;"";6;12;"";12;"";"";"";""})

and returns 6.

#### Step 4 - Compare smallest number to current cell

MIN(IF(COUNTIF($A$2:$A$11, $A$2:$A$11)>1, $A$2:$A$11, ""))=A2

becomes

6=A2

becomes

6=6

and returns TRUE. Cell A2 is highlighted.

### Get Excel *.xls file

### Cf duplicates category

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