How to find duplicate values in Google Sheets

by Sanj


Google Sheets is a powerful tool for managing and analyzing data. Whether you're working on a collaborative project, organizing your business data, or simply keeping track of personal information, duplicate entries can be a hindrance. Duplicates can cause errors, confusion, and skew the accuracy of your data analysis. Thankfully, Google Sheets offers a straightforward solution to help you identify and highlight duplicates quickly and effortlessly.

In this guide, we will walk you through the steps to find duplicates in Google Sheets and highlight them using conditional formatting. By the end of this article, you'll be equipped with the knowledge to effectively manage your data and optimize your workflow. So, let's dive in and discover the power of duplicate detection in Google Sheets!

Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Duplicates in Google Sheets

  1. Open the spreadsheet you want to analyze in Google Sheets.

    • Ensure that your data is well-organized with each column having a clear heading. This will make it easier to pinpoint duplicates in specific columns.
  2. Highlight the column you want to search through.

    • Click and drag your cursor to select the entire column that you wish to analyze for duplicates. This will narrow down the search scope and make the process more efficient.
  3. Click Format > Conditional Formatting. The Conditional Formatting menu will appear on the right side of the screen.

    • Conditional Formatting is a powerful feature in Google Sheets that allows you to apply formatting rules based on specific conditions. We will use this feature to highlight duplicate entries.
  4. Confirm that the selected cell range is displayed correctly in the Conditional Formatting menu.

    • Make sure that the cell range displayed matches the column you selected in Step 2. This ensures that the conditional formatting rule is applied to the correct cells.
  5. In the "Format cells if" drop-down menu, select "Custom formula is." A new field will appear below it.

    • By choosing "Custom formula is," you have the flexibility to define the specific condition for highlighting duplicates.
  6. Enter the following formula in the new field, modifying the column letters to match your selected range:

    • =countif(A:A,A1)>1
    • Replace "A:A" with the column range you selected, and "A1" with the first cell in the range. This formula checks if the count of occurrences of a value is greater than 1.
  7. In the "Formatting style" section, choose a fill color for the duplicate cells. For example, you can select red to make them visually distinct.

    • Customizing the formatting style helps you easily identify and differentiate duplicate entries from the rest of your data. Choose a color that stands out to you.
  8. Alternatively, you can change the text color in the duplicate cells instead of filling them with color. To do this, select the text color icon (the "A" in the menu bar) and choose your preferred color.

    • Changing the text color is another effective way to highlight duplicates. Experiment with different options to find the formatting style that suits your preferences and improves readability.
  9. Select "Done" to apply the conditional formatting. All duplicate entries should now be highlighted according to the chosen formatting style.

    • Once you've completed the above steps, the conditional formatting rule will be applied, and any duplicate entries within the selected column will be visually highlighted.

Congratulations! You've successfully identified and highlighted duplicates in your Google Sheets spreadsheet. With this newfound knowledge, you can effortlessly clean up your data and ensure accurate analysis. But before we conclude, let's address some common questions and provide additional insights.


Q1. Can I apply conditional formatting to multiple columns simultaneously?

  • Yes, you can apply conditional formatting to multiple columns by selecting the desired range across multiple columns in Step 2. The conditional formatting rule will then be applied to the entire selected range.

Q2. Is it possible to use conditional formatting to identify duplicates across multiple columns?

  • Yes, you can use a combination of formulas and conditional formatting rules to identify duplicates across multiple columns. Simply modify the formula in Step 6 to include the additional columns you want to search through.

Q3. Can I clear the conditional formatting rules once I'm done with my analysis?

  • Absolutely! To remove the conditional formatting rules, click Format > Conditional Formatting, select the rule you want to remove, and click the trash bin icon next to it. This will clear the formatting and revert the cells to their default appearance.


Streamlining your data analysis process is essential for maximizing productivity and accuracy. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can easily find duplicates in your Google Sheets spreadsheet and highlight them using conditional formatting. Remember, efficient data management leads to more reliable insights and informed decision-making.

Now that you have the knowledge to master duplicate detection in Google Sheets, put it into practice and witness the transformative power of organized and accurate data. Embrace the simplicity and effectiveness of conditional formatting to eliminate duplicates and unlock the full potential of your data analysis endeavors.