How to find duplicates in Google Sheets

Learn how Google Sheets gives you tools to sort ranges, compare cells, and remove duplicates quickly.

Six cells with two rows the same color on a Google Sheet green-color background, with draw arrows that point to the duplicate rows, and word "Duplicates" in white above

Image: TechRepublic/Andy Wolber

Google Sheets offers several ways to compare, identify, and remove duplicate data in cells and rows. These features can help you find cells where data matches, then signal that a difference exists text. Sheets lets you quickly remove rows that contain duplicate data.

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Each of the following methods lets you detect and deal with duplicate Google Sheet cell content. You can combine the first two methods as desired, so you could add a cell that signals that cells are the same and sort your sheet, too. However, the third option (which removes duplicates) deletes data, so use it with care.

In every case, to detect duplicates, you’ll want to open the Google Sheet you want to review. You’ll need edit permissions to use the features below. And, while you can add formulas for cell comparison in the Google Sheets mobile apps, you will need to use Google Sheets in a desktop-class browser (such as Chrome) to sort data or use the remove duplicates feature.

SEE: 10 free alternatives to Microsoft Word and Excel (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

How to sort rows of data by columns you choose in Google Sheets

A sort helps make duplicate data in Google Sheet rows easier to review, since it places rows in alphabetical (or reverse alphabetical) order. You may sort by more than one column. For example, you might sort by a Last Name column, then sort by a First Name column to place rows of data where the last and first name match next to each other. When sorting to detect duplicate customer data, for example, you might also sort by phone numbers or street addresses. You may sort a Google Sheet by any column you choose.

  1. Select the cells you want to sort. One way to…