Compare lists in Excel cell by cell

In this video tutorial, we show how to compare two Excel files cell by cell with the Compare Two Sheets utility.

There are three comparing modes for three types of Excel worksheets.

The Cell-by-cell mode is designed for sheets with the same layout and size, like balance sheets or year-to-year reports.

Video: How to compare sheets cell by cell

Video transcript

In this video, we will learn how to compare two Excel reports and highlight differences. The Ablebits Compare Two Sheets tool will help us.

Here are my balance reports, two worksheets with the same structure and layout. I want to find and highlight all cells that have different values in these sheets.

I find the Ablebits Data tab in the ribbon. Here is the Merge group and the tool we need - Compare Two Sheets.

First, you will see the requirements and limitations. Here we ask you to make sure the sheets you compare are not protected, are saved, and have no merged cells. Also, the files should have the same structure, namely groping, filtering, and sorting. You can tick this box to never see this text again and click Agree to get to the first step of the wizard.

Let's select the sheets to compare. They can be in the same file or in two different books.

There are three comparing modes for different types of documents. As we are comparing two reports and need to find different cells, we pick the Cell-by-cell mode.

In this mode, the tool does not search for matching rows and does not compare them, but compares each cell in Sheet 1 with the same cell in Sheet 2. So, if you have an extra row in any of the sheets, you may get an absolutely wrong result of the comparison. That is why it is so important that the sheets have the same layout and size.

We click Next and get right to the final step. Here you can tune the comparison options and select the way to mark different cells and the color to highlight them. I leave all the settings as they are and my different cells will get a new background color.

Look, here we can pick the color. As we've selected the Cell-by-cell comparing mode, the differences will be marked only with the color we select here - no unique rows will be highlighted, only different cells. Select the hue you want to use in your sheets and hit Compare!

Our sheets are placed side by side in a special review differences mode. All the cells that have different values are colored in green.

You can navigate between the colored cells using these buttons. Also, you can copy the values, delete them, or ignore the difference marks.

To exit the review differences mode, click here and select the option that suits you the best.

Thank you for watching this video! I hope it has helped you understand how to work with the Cell-by-cell matching mode. If you still have any questions or issues with Compare Two Sheets, please contact us right away.

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