5 easy ways to extract Unique Distinct Values
First, let me explain the difference between unique values and unique distinct values, it is important you know the difference so you can find the information you are looking for on this web page.
The picture above shows a list of values in column B, note value AA has a duplicate. Unique distinct values are all cell values but duplicate values are merged into one distinct value. In other words, duplicates are removed only one instance of each value is left in the list.
Column F contains unique values from column B, meaning values that exist only once in column B. Value AA is not in column F because it has a duplicate, in other words, AA is not unique in column B. To filter duplicates, read this post: Extract a list of duplicates from a column
What you will learn in this article
 The difference between unique distinct values and unique values.
 How to decide which Excel feature to use.

How to use a formula that extracts unique distinct values.
 How to copy the values returned by the formula.
 How the formula works and the functions being used.
 How to filter unique distinct values considering lowercase and uppercase letters.
 How to filter unique distinct values using the Advanced Filter.
 How to highlight unique distinct values using Conditional Formatting.

How to build a User defined Function that filters unique distinct values sorted from A to Z.
 Where to put the VBA code.
 How to enter and use the User defined Function.
 How to filter unique values using a formula.
 How to highlight unique values using Conditional Formatting.
What is possible with formulas?
You have quite a few options to choose from if you are looking for a way to create a unique distinct list in your workbook, all demonstrated in this post or on this website. Not only an exceptionally small regular formula, if you want to use that, but also awesome builtin features in Excel that makes your work so much easier.
Formulas are very versatile, they allow you to build solutions for very specific tasks like filtering unique distinct values from two separate columns or three. If your list contains blanks then this article is for you: Extract a unique distinct list and remove blanks
Perhaps you want to do a wildcard lookup and return unique distinct values or simply return unique distinct values based on a condition.
I have also written articles that explains how to create a unique distinct list sorted alphabetically, sum or frequency.
There is also a formula for extracting unique distinct values located in a multicolumn cell range, it is a somewhat more complicated array formula, however, there is a custom function as well, if you prefer that.
What is the easiest way to filter unique distinct values?
I would choose the advanced filter if you are not looking for a formula. It lets you quickly filter a unique distinct list.
If you know that you will be extracting unique distinct values from time to time, like in a dashboard or an interactive worksheet, I recommend using a formula and an Excel defined table. You won't need to repeat the same steps over and over compared to the advanced filter and that will save you time and repetitive work.
However working with a large data set may slow down the formula calculations considerably depending on your computer hardware, so perhaps the User Defined Function [UDF] is a better choice or even better a pivot table, if you have huge amounts of data to work with.
The Excel Pivot table is lightning fast even with huge data tables but it does have a little learning curve and it requires a few steps to set it up but in my opinion, it is totally worth learning how to use pivot tables. You will be surprised how easy it is to start working with Excel Pivot tables.
Conditional Formatting allows you to format cells determined by a builtin rule or a formula you construct. In this post, you will find a Conditional Formatting formula that highlights unique and unique distinct values. Did you know that you can easily sort highlighted values on top? Check out conditional formatting.
I have made an addin that lets you extract unique, unique distinct and duplicate values and records from multiple worksheets. This allows you to easily bring together data from multiple sources in your workbook.
There is also a useful array formula in this article that extracts a casesensitive unique distinct list, this is a special case which the builtin Excel tools can't accomplish.
Table of Contents

Working with unique distinct values
 How to extract unique distinct values from a column [Formula]
 Extract unique distinct values (case sensitive) [Formula]
 Filter unique distinct values [Advanced Filter]
 Highlight unique distinct values [Conditional Formatting]
 Hide duplicate values [Conditional Formatting]
 Extract unique distinct sorted values from a cell range [UDF]
 Extract unique distinct values [Macro]
 Build a list of unique distinct values [Pivot Table]
 Filter unique distinct values and records from multiple sheets [AddIn]
 How to extract unique distinct values from a column [Array Formula]
 Working with unique values

Tips and tricks
 Useful tips
 The formula is too slow, can I make it faster?
 Named ranges
 Excel defined tables
 Remove errors, Excel version 2007 and later
 Remove errors, Excel version 2003 and earlier
 Blank cells in range
Create a list of unique distinct values
Column B contains names, some cells have duplicate values. A formula in column D extracts a unique distinct list from column B.
Update: 20170815!
This formula is even smaller than the array formula and you are not required to enter this as an array formula.
The formula in cell D3:
The following video shows you how to implement and use the formula above:
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Copy unique distinct values
To copy unique distinct values to another location you must make sure you copy the values and not the formula:
 Select list
 Copy list, shortcut keys: CTRL + C or press this button:

Right click on destination cell and click on the black arrow next to "Paste Special..."
 Then click on "Paste Values" button
Explaining formula in cell D3
Step 1  Count previous values above current cell
The COUNTIF function allows you to count values based on a condition. With the help from an expanding cell reference, the formula knows which of the values that have been extracted.
In cell D3 no values have been extracted so it compares the value in the cell above current cell, this happens to be the Header value. Make sure you don't have a value in the list that matches the header value, it won't be extracted.
COUNTIF($D$2:D2,$B$3:$B$21) is entered in column F, displayed in the picture below.
The value in cell D2 is not found in any instance in cell range B3:B21, all values in the array are 0 (zero). Note that the array has the same size as the list in column B, 19 values.
Step 2  Compare array with 0 (zero)
To identify values that have not been shown the formula compares the array with 0 (zero) and the result are boolean values (TRUE or FALSE) for each value in the array.
COUNTIF($D$2:D2,$B$3:$B$21) = 0
The array contains 19 boolean values, all TRUE.
Step 3  Divide 1 with array
The boolean value TRUE is equal to 1 and FALSE is equal to 0. If a value in the array is TRUE the result will be 1 because 1/TRUE equals 1.
If a value in the array is FALSE the result will be #DIV0! because 1/FALSE is 1/0 and you can't divide a number with zero. Excel returns an error.
The good thing about the LOOKUP function is that it ignores errors, see next step.
Step 4  LOOKUP value
The LOOKUP function is designed to work with sorted cell ranges or arrays, you get weird results if they are not sorted. Be careful using the LOOKUP function.
However, in this case, the values in the array are either 1 or #DIV0!. Surprisingly it ignores errors, the only thing it can find then is a value that is 1.
The first argument in the LOOKUP function is 2 so the function finds the last largest value that is equal to 2 or smaller.
LOOKUP(2,1/(COUNTIF($D$2:D2,$B$3:$B$21)=0),$B$3:$B$21)
becomes
LOOKUP(2,{1;1;1;1;1;1;1;1;1; 1;1;1;1;1;1;1;1;1;1},$B$3:$B$21) and matches the last value in the array. LOOKUP function then returns the corresponding value in cell range $B$3:$B$21 which is Almagro, Nicolas
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Vlookup – Return multiple unique distinct values
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Question: I have two ranges or lists (List1 and List2) from where I would like to extract a unique distinct […]
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Filter unique distinct records
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Filter unique distinct records
How to remove errors
Excel 2007 users (and later versions) can remove errors using IFERROR() function.
When the formula runs out of values it returns #N/A errors (Not Available), you can use the IFERROR function to remove the error and return blanks in those cells.
Unfortunately, it comes with a big disadvantage, it also removes other formula errors as well. So use this with great caution. If your source table has errors you won't detect it because the IFERROR function returns a blank cell instead.
Array formula in cell D2:
and copy it down as far as necessary.
Recommended articles
How to use the IFERROR function
How to use the ISERROR function
How to use the ERROR.TYPE function
How to find errors in a worksheet
Delete blanks and errors in a list
Excel 2003 users can remove errors using isna() function:
and copy it down as far as needed.
This formula is an array formula, how to enter an array formula.
Recommended article
How to ignore blank cells in a range
Harlan Grove created a formula to count unique distinct values from a list with blanks. I used the same technique here to filter unique distinct values in column D.
If you want a header name you can use the slightly larger formula, displayed in column F below.
Update 20170901, smaller regular formula in cell D3:
Formula in cell F3 if you need a header:
Watch a video where I explain how these two formulas work
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This article shows you how to fill blank cells with values or formulas
Learn how to extract nonblank cells in a list using a formula:
In this blog post I will provide two solutions on how to remove blank cells and a solution on how […]
Extract unique distinct values [Advanced Filter]
First a little reminder, unique distinct values are all cell values but duplicate values are merged into one distinct value.
The following video shows you how to filter unique distinct values using Advanced Filter:
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Instructions  Copy unique distinct values to another location
 Go to tab "Data" on the ribbon

Click "Advanced Filter" button on the ribbon

Click "Copy to another location"
 Click "List range:" and select range to filter unique distinct values
 Click "Copy to: and select a range
 Click "Unique records only"
 Click "OK"!
Instructions  Filter unique distinct values, in place
If you choose to filter unique distinct values inplace, click on the first option button in the dialog box.
You can then select unique distinct values and paste to another location, duplicate values are hidden and are ignored when you copy cell range B3:21 and paste to a new location, very useful.
The picture below shows you the selected distinct values after I cleared the Advanced Filter, duplicate values are not selected because they were hidden.
Recommended articles
 Lookup and return multiple values [Advanced Filter]
 Extract all rows that meet critera in one column [Advanced Filter]
An Advanced Filter is not the only powerful builtin feature in Excel, I highly recommend that you learn pivot tables. Perhaps the most powerful tool but also the least known:
Discover Pivot Tables – Excel’s most powerful feature and also least known
A pivot table allows you to examine data more efficiently, it can summarize large amounts of data very quickly and is very easy to use.
Discover Pivot Tables – Excel’s most powerful feature and also least known
The Excel defined table is also extremely useful, it allows you to quickly sort, filter and manipulate data. Learn that and much more:
Become more productive – Learn Excel Defined Tables
An Excel table allows you to easily sort, filter and sum values in a data set where values are related.
Become more productive – Learn Excel Defined Tables
Highlight unique distinct values [Conditional Formatting]
The following image shows you unique distinct values highlighted using Conditional Formatting.
This video demonstrates how to highlight unique distinct values:
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Instructions
 Select cell range B3:B21
 Go to tab "Home" on the ribbon

Click on "Conditional Formatting" button

Click on "New Rule..."
 Click on "Use a formula to determine which cells to format:"
 Type this formula: =COUNTIF($B$3:B3,B3)=1
 Click on "Format..." button
 Pick a color
 Click OK button
 Click OK button again
Explaining Conditional Formatting formula
A CF formula works somewhat differently than a regular formula, it is possible that you can't even see if a cell range has CF applied to it or not, unless you select the cell range and click on the CF button and then click on "Manage Rules...".
The COUNTIF function has two arguments, the first argument is the cell range you want to count a specific value in. The second argument is the value you want to count.
The first argument uses both relative and absolute cell references, $B$3:B3. The absolute part has dollar signs $B$3 meaning it does not change when the Conditional Formatting formula is applied to the next cell.
The relative part B3 does change when the Conditional Formatting formula is applied to the next cell.
In cell B3 the function is COUNTIF($B$3:B3,B3) and in cell B4: COUNTIF($B$3:B4,B4) and so on. This technique lets you highlight the first instance of a value but not duplicate values.
How do we know if the value is a unique distinct value? Compare COUNTIF($B$3:B3,B3) to 1 and it will return TRUE or FALSE, like this: COUNTIF($B$3:B3,B3)=1
Tip! Rightclick on a highlighted cell, click on Sort and then on "Put Selected Cell Color On top" to arrange unique distinct values at the very top of your list.
The picture below shows you all unique distinct values sorted together.
Hide duplicate values [Conditional Formatting]
The image above demonstrates Conditional Formatting applied to a list of values, it changes the font color to white for duplicate values making them invisible or they appear hidden.
Keep in mind that the text is still there so if you copy the range and paste the values to a new range the hidden values are visible again. I recommend that you sort the visible values at the top in order to copy them correctly, instructions below.
Conditional Formatting formula:
How to apply conditional formatting formula to cell range B3:B21
 Select cell range B3:B21.
 Go to tab "Home" on the ribbon.
 Click the "Conditional Formatting" button.

Click "New Rule..."

Click "Use a formula to determine which cells to format:".
 Type the Conditional Formatting formula in "Format values where this is true:".

Click "Format..." button.
 Go to tab "Font" on the menu, see image above.
 Click color dropdown list.
 Pick white.
 Click OK button.
 Click OK button.
 Click OK button.
How to sort unique distinct values at the top of the list

Right click on one of the visible values in the list.
 Click "Filter"
 Click "Filter by Selected Cell's Font color.
Recommended articles
 Highlight unique values and unique distinct values in a multicolumn cell range
 Highlight unique distinct records
 Highlight unique values in a filtered excel table
 How to highlight duplicate values in a column
 Check out the Conditional formatting category
Extract a unique distinct list (case sensitive)
The following array formula lists unique distinct values from a list and it is case sensitive. Aa is not equal to AA.
Array formula in cell D3:
This video demonstrates how to build a formula that extracts a casesensitive unique distinct list:
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This post shows you how to extract a case sensitive unique list from a column:
How to extract a case sensitive unique list from a column
My definition of unique values are values that exist only once in a cell range. The image below shows you […]
How to extract a case sensitive unique list from a column
Explaining the array formula in cell C3
Step 1  Transpose previous values
TRANSPOSE($D$2:D2)
becomes
TRANSPOSE({"Unique distinct list (case sensitive)";"Aa"})
and returns
{"Unique distinct list (case sensitive)","Aa"}
Note that the ; (semicolon) changes to a , (comma)
Recommended reading:
How to use the TRANSPOSE function
The transpose function allows you to convert a vertical range to a horizontal range, or vice versa. A vertical range […]
How to use the TRANSPOSE function
Step 2  Check if two text strings are exactly the same, also case sensitive
EXACT($B$3:$B$15, TRANSPOSE($D$2:D2))
becomes
EXACT($B$3:$B$15, TRANSPOSE({"Unique distinct list (case sensitive)","Aa"})
becomes
EXACT($B$3:$B$15, TRANSPOSE({"Unique distinct list (case sensitive)","Aa"})
becomes
EXACT({"Aa"; "CC"; "AA"; "BB"; "BB"; "EE"; "bb"; "Aa"; "aa"}, TRANSPOSE({"Unique distinct list (case sensitive)","Aa"})
and returns
{FALSE, TRUE; FALSE, FALSE; FALSE, FALSE; FALSE, FALSE; FALSE, FALSE; FALSE, FALSE; FALSE, FALSE; FALSE, TRUE; FALSE, FALSE}
Step 3  Return relative position in array if TRUE
IF(EXACT($B$3:$B$15, TRANSPOSE($C$1:C1)), MATCH(ROW($B$3:$B$15), ROW($B$3:$B$15))
becomes
IF({FALSE, TRUE; FALSE, FALSE; FALSE, FALSE; FALSE, FALSE; FALSE, FALSE; FALSE, FALSE; FALSE, FALSE; FALSE, TRUE; FALSE, FALSE}, MATCH(ROW($A$1:$A$9), ROW($A$1:$A$9)))
becomes
IF({FALSE, TRUE; FALSE, FALSE; FALSE, FALSE; FALSE, FALSE; FALSE, FALSE; FALSE, FALSE; FALSE, FALSE; FALSE, TRUE; FALSE, FALSE}, {1;2;3;4;5;6;7;8;9})
and returns
{FALSE,1; FALSE,FALSE; FALSE,FALSE; FALSE,FALSE; FALSE,FALSE; FALSE,FALSE; FALSE,FALSE; FALSE,8; FALSE,FALSE}
Recommended article:
How to use the COUNTIF function
Counts the number of cells that meet a specific condition.
How to use the COUNTIF function
Step 4  Calculate how often values exist in an array
FREQUENCY(IF(EXACT($B$3:$B$15, TRANSPOSE($C$1:C1)), MATCH(ROW($B$3:$B$15), ROW($B$3:$B$15)), ""), MATCH(ROW($B$3:$B$15), ROW($B$3:$B$15)))
becomes
FREQUENCY({FALSE,1; FALSE,FALSE; FALSE,FALSE; FALSE,FALSE; FALSE,FALSE; FALSE,FALSE; FALSE,FALSE; FALSE,8; FALSE,FALSE},MATCH(ROW($B$3:$B$15),ROW($B$3:$B$15)))
becomes
FREQUENCY({FALSE,1; FALSE,FALSE; FALSE,FALSE; FALSE,FALSE; FALSE,FALSE; FALSE,FALSE; FALSE,FALSE; FALSE,8; FALSE,FALSE},{1;2;3;4;5;6;7;8;9})
and returns
{1;0;0;0;0;0;0;1;0;0} Aa is found in position 1 and 8 in cell range $B$3:$B$15
How to use the FREQUENCY function
Returns how many times values exist in a given range. Note, this function returns an array of values.
How to use the FREQUENCY function
Step 5  Find first empty value (0) in array
MATCH(0, FREQUENCY(IF(EXACT($B$3:$B$15, TRANSPOSE($C$1:C1)), MATCH(ROW($B$3:$B$15), ROW($B$3:$B$15)), ""), MATCH(ROW($B$3:$B$15), ROW($B$3:$B$15))), 0)
becomes
MATCH(0, {1;0;0;0;0;0;0;1;0;0}, 0)
and returns 2.
Identify the position of a value in an array.
Step 6  Return value from position 2
INDEX($B$3:$B$15, MATCH(0, FREQUENCY(IF(EXACT($B$3:$B$15, TRANSPOSE($C$1:C1)), MATCH(ROW($B$3:$B$15), ROW($B$3:$B$15)), ""), MATCH(ROW($B$3:$B$15), ROW($B$3:$B$15))), 0))
becomes
INDEX($B$3:$B$15, 2)
and returns "CC" in cell C3.
Gets a value in a specific cell range based on a row and column number.
Articles with topic: Case sensitive
Learn to do case sensitive lookups and return multiple values:
Case sensitive lookup and return multiple values
The array formula in cell F5 returns adjacent values from column C where values in column B matches the search […]
Case sensitive lookup and return multiple values
The following article demonstrates a User Defined Function that filters unique distinct values based on case sensivity:
Filter unique distinct values (case sensitive) [UDF]
The User Defined Function demonstrated in the above picture extracts unique distinct values also considering lower and upper case letters. […]
Filter unique distinct values (case sensitive) [UDF]
Filter unique distinct records (case sensitive) [UDF]
The User Defined Function demonstrated above extracts unique distinct records also considering upper and lower case letters. For example, a record […]
Filter unique distinct records (case sensitive) [UDF]
Learn to construct a formula that counts case sensitive unique distinct values:
This article describes how to count unique distinct values. What are unique distinct values? They are all values but duplicates are […]
This article shows you how to count multiple text strings in a cell range (casesensitive)
Count multiple text strings in a cell range
The array formula below counts how many times multiple text strings exist in a cell range. It is easy to […]
Count multiple text strings in a cell range
Extract unique distinct sorted values from a cell range [UDF]
This UDF lets you create and sort a unique distinct list. First you need to copy the VBA code to your workbook, instructions below. Second, select a cell range. Third, type FilterUniqueSort(cell_ref) in the formula bar. Last, enter formula as an array formula, instructions below.
There is also a workbook for you to download.
Array formula in cell B2:B8212:
This video explains how to implement and use the User Defined Function
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How to create an array formula
 Type B2:B8212 in name box

Type above array formula in formula bar
 Press and hold Ctrl + Shift
 Press Enter once
 Release all keys
Recommended reading
Array formulas allows you to do advanced calculations not possible with regular formulas.
VBA code
I am using the selection sort function to sort values. You can read more about the function here:
Using a Visual Basic Macro to Sort Arrays in Microsoft Excel
Function FilterUniqueSort(rng As Range) Dim ucoll As New Collection, Value As Variant, temp() As Variant Dim iRows As Single, i As Single ReDim temp(0) On Error Resume Next For Each Value In rng If Len(Value) gt; 0 Then ucoll.Add Value, CStr(Value) Next Value On Error GoTo 0 For Each Value In ucoll temp(UBound(temp)) = Value ReDim Preserve temp(UBound(temp) + 1) Next Value ReDim Preserve temp(UBound(temp)  1) iRows = Range(Application.Caller.Address).Rows.Count SelectionSort temp For i = UBound(temp) To iRows ReDim Preserve temp(UBound(temp) + 1) temp(UBound(temp)) = &amp;quot;&amp;quot; Next i FilterUniqueSort = Application.Transpose(temp) End Function
Function SelectionSort(TempArray As Variant) Dim MaxVal As Variant Dim MaxIndex As Integer Dim i, j As Integer For i = UBound(TempArray) To 0 Step 1 MaxVal = TempArray(i) MaxIndex = i For j = 0 To i If TempArray(j) &gt; MaxVal Then MaxVal = TempArray(j) MaxIndex = j End If Next j If MaxIndex &lt; i Then TempArray(MaxIndex) = TempArray(i) TempArray(i) = MaxVal End If Next i End Function
Where to copy VBA code?
 Press Alt + F11 to open VB Editor
 Click "Insert" on the menu
 Click "Module" to create a module
 Copy (Ctrl + c) above VBA code and paste (Ctrl +v) to the code module
More powerful User Defined Functions
Filter unique distinct records (case sensitive) [UDF]
The User Defined Function demonstrated above extracts unique distinct records also considering upper and lower case letters. For example, a record […]
Filter unique distinct records (case sensitive) [UDF]
Lookup and return multiple values concatenated into one cell
This article demonstrates how to find a value in a column and concatenate corresponding values on the same row. The […]
Lookup and return multiple values concatenated into one cell
Filter unique distinct words from a cell range [UDF]
This blog post describes how to create a list of unique distinct words from a cell range. Unique distinct words […]
Filter unique distinct words from a cell range [UDF]
Filter unique distinct values from multiple sheets addin
Filter unique distinct values is an addin for Excel 2007/2010/2013 that lets you extract
 unique distinct values
 duplicate values
 unique distinct records
 duplicate records
from multiple sheets. The AddIn contains 4 userdefined functions.
If a value in one of the ranges changes the function will automatically and instantly update the list.
Features
 All userdefined functions remove blank values and blank records.
 No error values when all values are extracted.
 Filter values or records from up to 255 different cell ranges or sheets.
Watch this video where I demonstrate the Excel AddIn
Subscribe to Get Digital Help on Youtube:
What are unique distinct values?
What are unique distinct records?
Purchase Filter Unique Distinct Values From Multiple Sheets Addin For Excel 2007/2010/2013  Price $19 USD
Questions
Is there a money back guarantee?
Sure, you have a unconditional money back guarantee for 14 days.
Useful tips
Excel tables
An Excel defined table is very cleverly designed, it is constructed to automatically expand if you add more data. You don't need to do anything.
Structured references are cell references to an excel defined table. They let you easily see what the data contains as long as you give it good descriptive column header names.
I recommend you use excel defined tables instead of named ranges or dynamic named ranges as long as you are working with more than one value.
Here is how to convert a list to an excel defined table:
 Select a cell in your list
 Go to tab "Insert" on the ribbon and click Table button or press Ctrl + T
 Click OK button
 Your excel defined table is created
Read more about excel defined tables
Named ranges
In excel you can name a cell range, a constant or a formula. You can then use the named range in a formula, making it easier for you to read and understand formulas.
Example
List : A2:A20
Tip! Use dynamic named ranges to automatically adjust cell ranges when new values are added or removed.
How to create a named range
The downside with named ranges is that you need to adjust the range every time you add or delete a value in the list, the named range will then not fit the value list. I recommend using excel defined tables if you know that the list may change in the future.
 Select cell range B3:B7
 Type Color in name box
 Press Enter
Formula example containing name range:
Create a list of unique distinct values [Array Formula]
I recommend using the regular formula above since it is smaller and has an advantage of not being an array formula.
Array formula in cell D3:
Thanks to Eero, who contributed the original array formula!
The formulas above has an issue with blank cells, it returns a 0 (zero) in your list. This article shows you how to ignore blanks:
Extract a unique distinct list and remove blanks
Question: How do I create a unique distinct list from a list containing several blanks? Answer: Cell range B3:B12 contains several […]
Extract a unique distinct list and remove blanks
How to create an array formula
You don't need to follow these steps if you chose the regular formula.
 Copy the array formula above (Ctrl + c)
 Double click cell B2
 Paste (Ctrl + v)
 Press and hold Ctrl + Shift simultaneously
 Press Enter
 Release all keys
If you made the above steps correctly the formula now has a beginning and ending curly bracket, like this:
{=INDEX($B$3:$B$21, MATCH(0, $D$2:D2, $B$3:$B$21), 0))}
Don't enter these characters yourself, they appear automatically.
Copy cell B2 and paste to cells below as far as needed.
How the array formula in cell B2 works
Step 1  Create an array with the same size as the list
COUNTIF($B$1:B1,$A$2:$A$20)
becomes
COUNTIF("Unique distinct list",{Federer,Roger; Djokovic,Novak; Murray,Andy; Davydenko,Nikolay; Roddick,Andy; DelPotro,JuanMartin; Federer,Roger; Davydenko,Nikolay; Verdasco,Fernando; Gonzalez,Fernando; Wawrinka,Stanislas; Gonzalez,Fernando; Blake,James; Nalbandian,David; Robredo,Tommy; Wawrinka,Stanislas; Cilic,Marin; Stepanek,Radek; Almagro,Nicolas} )
and returns:
{0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0}
This means the cell value in $B$1:B1 can´t be found in any of the cells in cell range $A$2:$A$20. If it had been found, somewhere in the array the number 1 would exist.
Recommended reading:
How to use the COUNTIF function
Counts the number of cells that meet a specific condition.
How to use the COUNTIF function
Step 2  Return the position of an item that matches 0 (zero)
MATCH(lookup_value,lookup_array, [match_type] returns the relative position of an item in an array that matches a specified value.
MATCH(0,COUNTIF($B$1:B1,$A$2:$A$20),0)
becomes
MATCH(0,{0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0},0)
and returns 1.
Recommended reading:
Identify the position of a value in an array.
Step 3  Return a cell value
INDEX(array,row_num,[column_num]) returns a value or reference of the cell at the intersection of a particular row and column, in a given range.
=INDEX(List,1)
becomes
=INDEX({Federer,Roger; Djokovic,Novak; Murray,Andy; Davydenko,Nikolay; Roddick,Andy; DelPotro,JuanMartin; Federer,Roger; Davydenko,Nikolay; Verdasco,Fernando; Gonzalez,Fernando; Wawrinka,Stanislas; Gonzalez,Fernando; Blake,James; Nalbandian,David; Robredo,Tommy; Wawrinka,Stanislas; Cilic,Marin; Stepanek,Radek; Almagro,Nicolas}, 1)
and returns "Federer, Roger"
Recommended reading:
Gets a value in a specific cell range based on a row and column number.
Relative and absolute cell references
When you copy the array formula down the countif formula range ($B$1:B1) expands. This is created by using relative and absolute references.
The first cell, B2: COUNTIF($B$1:B1,$A$2:$A$20)
Second cell, B3: COUNTIF($B$1:B2,$A$2:$A$20)
and so on.
Recommended reading:
How to use absolute and relative references
What is a reference in Excel? Excel has an A1 reference style meaning columns are named letters A to XFD […]
How to use absolute and relative references
How to filter unique values from a list
Unique values are values existing only once in a list. Example, AA exists twice in the list below and is not unique. BB and CC exist only once each and is unique in the list.
Column D in the picture below filters all unique values from column B. Unique values are values that exist only once in column B.
Example, Roger, Federer is not in column D because there is more than one value of this name in column A. In other words, the name is not unique in column A. You can find the name twice in the list, in cell A2 and A8.
Update 20170830
This formula is even smaller than the array formula and you are not required to enter this as an array formula.
Formula in cell D3:
This post shows you how to extract a case sensitive unique list from a column:
How to extract a case sensitive unique list from a column
My definition of unique values are values that exist only once in a cell range. The image below shows you […]
How to extract a case sensitive unique list from a column
Learn to create a list of unique values extracted from a cell range:
The following article shows you how to filter unique values sorted alpabetically:
Filter unique values sorted from A to Z
A unique value is a value that only exists once in a list. A unique distinct list contains all cell values […]
Filter unique values sorted from A to Z
Recommended article
Extract unique values from two columns
I read an article Merging Lists To A List Of Distinct Values at CPearson. The article describes code that you […]
Extract unique values from two columns
Array formula in D3:
Explaining array formula in cell D3
Step 1  Count each value in array and check if it is not equal to one
(COUNTIF($A$2:$A$20, $A$2:$A$20)<>1
becomes
{2;1;1;2;1;1;2;2;1;2;2;2;1;1;1;2;1;1;1}<>1
and returns
{TRUE; FALSE; FALSE; TRUE; FALSE; FALSE; TRUE; TRUE; FALSE; TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; FALSE; FALSE; FALSE; TRUE; FALSE; FALSE; FALSE}
This array tells excel that the first value in the array is not unique and that is true because Roger, Federer is not unique in the list. However the second value is FALSE and that value is unique, etc.
How to use the COUNTIF function
Counts the number of cells that meet a specific condition.
How to use the COUNTIF function
Step 2  Keep track of previous values
C1:$C$1 is a dynamic cell reference, it changes as the formula is copied to cells below. You can read more about absolute and relative cell references here:
How to use absolute and relative references
What is a reference in Excel? Excel has an A1 reference style meaning columns are named letters A to XFD […]
How to use absolute and relative references
COUNTIF(C1:$C$1, $A$2:$A$20)
becomes
COUNTIF("Unique list", {"Federer, Roger "; "Djokovic, Novak "; "Murray, Andy "; "Davydenko, Nikolay "; "Roddick, Andy "; "Del Potro, Juan Martin "; "Federer, Roger "; "Davydenko, Nikolay "; "Verdasco, Fernando "; "Gonzalez, Fernando "; "Wawrinka, Stanislas "; "Gonzalez, Fernando "; "Blake, James "; "Nalbandian, David "; "Robredo, Tommy "; "Wawrinka, Stanislas "; "Cilic, Marin "; "Stepanek, Radek "; "Almagro, Nicolas "})
and returns
{0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0}
A zero (0) means that no values have yet been displayed and that is true in cell C2. However when excel calculates the value in cell C3, cell C2 shows "Djokovic, Novak" and the array becomes {0; 1; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0}. The second value in the array contains 1. This tells excel that value has already been shown.
Step 3  Add arrays
COUNTIF(C1:$C$1, $A$2:$A$20)+(COUNTIF($A$2:$A$20, $A$2:$A$20)<>1
becomes
{TRUE; FALSE; FALSE; TRUE; FALSE; FALSE; TRUE; TRUE; FALSE; TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; FALSE; FALSE; FALSE; TRUE; FALSE; FALSE; FALSE} + {0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0}
and returns
{1;0;0;1;0;0;1;1;0;1;1;1;0;0;0;1;0;0;0}
TRUE is 1 and FALSE is zero. So True + 0 equals 1 and False + 1 equals 1.
Step 4  Find first zero value in array
A zero in the array indicates {1;0;0;1;0;0;1;1;0;1;1;1;0;0;0;1;0;0;0} that the corresponding value is unique and has not yet been displayed in the list.
MATCH(0, COUNTIF(C1:$C$1, $A$2:$A$20)+(COUNTIF($A$2:$A$20, $A$2:$A$20)<>1), 0)
becomes
MATCH(0, {1;0;0;1;0;0;1;1;0;1;1;1;0;0;0;1;0;0;0}, 0)
and returns 2.
Identify the position of a value in an array.
Step 5  Return corresponding value
INDEX($A$2:$A$20, MATCH(0, COUNTIF(C1:$C$1, $A$2:$A$20)+(COUNTIF($A$2:$A$20, $A$2:$A$20)<>1), 0))
becomes
INDEX($A$2:$A$20, 2)
and returns "Djokovic, Novak" in cell C2.
Gets a value in a specific cell range based on a row and column number.
To extract duplicates, see this post:
Extract a list of duplicates from a column
The array formula in cell C2 extracts duplicate values from column A. Only one duplicate of each value is displayed […]
Extract a list of duplicates from a column
Highlight unique values [Conditional Formatting]
The following video shows you how to color unique values using conditional formatting. Remember, it highlights only unique values, in other words values that exist only once in the list.