Find duplicate or unique rows in one Google sheet

Use the Remove Duplicates add-on for Google Sheets to deal with duplicated data in your table. Find, delete, move, copy, or clear duplicate or unique rows in your spreadsheet.

Video: How to remove duplicates in Google Sheets

Before you start

We care about your data and suggest you always create backup copies of your spreadsheets. A special option of the add-on will do that for you if you select it.

Please bear in mind that Google Sheets limits the total number of possible cells in your file up to 2 million cells.

Tip. This add-on will help you find identical or unique rows in your table.

If your task is to compare two sheets or tables for duplicates or uniques, take advantage of the Compare columns or sheets tool instead.

To look for dupes or uniques in all single cells all over an entire spreadsheet, Find duplicate or unique cells is what you should use.

How to use the Remove Duplicates add-on

Start Remove Duplicates

Open the Add-ons menu, find Remove Duplicates, and click on the Find duplicate or unique rows tool:
Find Remove Duplicates in the Google Sheets menu.

Tip. You can also find Remove Duplicates in the Dedupe & Compare group of Power Tools:

  1. Access Dedupe & Compare from the corresponding Google Sheets menu:
    Find the add-on in Power Tools.
  2. And click the Remove duplicate rows icon on the Power Tools sidebar:
    The Remove Duplicates icon in Power Tools.

Step 1: Select your data

Here you can select the range with the data you want to search in:
Select the range to look for duplicates within.
By default, the add-on highlights the entire table in the sheet of your choice.

Note. If you want to delete duplicates rather than just find and mark them, it's best to select the whole table so that the add-on removes entire rows avoiding data corruption.

You can alter the range by entering the needed address in the Select the range with your table field or by clicking the Select range icon. The latter will open a dialog box and allow you to pick the necessary cells:
A dialog window for you to highlight the necessary cells.

Tip. Use the Auto select button to detect the range with all data you have automatically.

You can choose to back up your original table by selecting the checkbox Create a backup copy of the sheet.

Click Next to proceed to the second step.

Step 2: Choose what to find

The add-on lets you check your table for 4 types of data:
Choose Duplicates to find the replicated data.

  • Pick Duplicates to get rid of any repeating rows in your table. The add-on will keep unique records and the first entries of any duplicates you have. Your dataset will become clear of any extra replicates:
    Find Duplicates.
  • Select Duplicates + 1st occurrences to see the original entries as well as their copies:
    Find Duplicates and 1st occurrences.
  • Choose the Uniques option to find only those rows that don't have any duplicates in the sheet:
    Find Uniques.
  • The Uniques + 1st occurrences option lets you find everything except for the duplicates. The add-on will look for the first entries of duplicated data in addition to unique records:
    Find Uniques + 1st occurrences.

You can return to step 1 by clicking Back.

Click Next to go on to the next step.

Step 3: Pick the columns to check

Here you will see a list of columns in your table - tick off those you want to check for duplicates:
Choose columns you want to search in.

Note. If you check more than one column, a row will be considered duplicate if the values in all the selected columns are the same.
Tip. If you want to look for complete row duplicates, tick off all columns at once by using the top checkbox in the header row.
  • You can tick off the Skip empty cells option to ignore duplicated blanks in the selected columns. Otherwise, blank matches will be considered duplicates.
  • If you have header rows, make sure to check My table has headers to see your column titles. If you don't have headers, unselect this box to display column names.
    Tip. Take advantage of the 1st row content fields to see what kind of data you have in each column.
  • Use the Case sensitive option to treat the records that differ only in case as uniques.
    Tip. Leading and trailing spaces in cell values are ignored by default.

Click Next to proceed to the last step.

Step 4: Decide what to do with the found values

The add-on allows you to choose one of six ways to deal with the found records:
Color, copy, or remove duplicates from your sheet.
Select the radio button next to the action you'd like to apply:

  • Highlight the rows with the found entries by picking the Fill with color option. Click on the arrow next to it to pick the hue you'd like to use.
  • Choose to Add a status column to identify the rows of interest in a separate column.
    Tip. You can make use of this additional column later to sort the data.
  • The Copy to another location option lets you review search results in another sheet, spreadsheet, or a range of your choice.
  • Cut and paste the found records to another sheet, spreadsheet, or a specific place in the document with the Move to another location option.
  • Decide to Clear values to delete the found entries in the selected key columns and leave all other data intact.
  • You can also remove all lines with the detected values using the Delete rows within selection option.

Click Finish to find duplicate or unique values.

See the result

Once the add-on completes the search, you will see the summary of the results with the number of found values and the action that was applied:
See the summary with the number of found values.

Tip. If you'd like to run the add-on again, click on the Start over button.

To save these settings and use them in the future, click Save scenario.

How to work with scenarios

If you work with the add-on often, it's most likely you have to deal with going over the steps and choosing the same options over and over again. Scenarios will help you reduce the number of your mouse-clicks drastically.

What is scenario

Once the data is processed and you get the final message, save the options the add-on has used just now into a new scenario. In the future, run this scenario and it will initiate the search with the same settings right away.

Isn't this marvellous? 🙂

Save scenario

To save settings into a scenario, click the corresponding option under the result message:
Save the settings you've just used into the new scenario.
You will see the window with the summary of settings. Look through it to make some adjustments for the future scenario if necessary:

Brush the scenario before saving it.

  1. Give your scenario a name that will help you understand what it does at a glance.
  2. Set the sheet for the scenario to process:
    • Choose [Selected sheet] and the add-on will work with the tab that is active when running the scenario.
    • Pick any sheet from the list and the add-on will always deal with it, no matter from what tab you start the scenario.
  3. Specify what data range should be scanned:
    • If you choose [Selected range], the scenario will be applied to the range you select manually.
    • [All data] signals the scenario to use the entire used range for work.
    • You can also enter an exact range for the add-on to always handle the same cells.
  4. Check if other options you've just selected on steps 2-4 are correct.
    Note. These options cannot be modified. If you'd like to change something here, please restart the add-on to pick the correct settings.

When your scenario is ready, hit Save.

Run scenario

To start the scenario, go to Add-ons > Remove Duplicates > Run scenario and click on the necessary name:
All scenarios can be run from the menu.
This will initiate the work of the add-on with all the necessary settings.

Once it's finished, you will see the result message saying what scenario has been used and what has been found:
The result for your scenario.

Manage scenario

You can view and manage your scenarios anytime from the Google Sheets menu.

Just go to Add-ons > Remove Duplicates > View & manage scenario and click the name of what you want to review:
Manage scenarios.
You will see the same window with the scenario summary and will be able to rename it and change the sheet or the range:
Change the name of your scenario.
Press Save to keep the changes or Delete to get rid of the scenario permanently.

Responses

Hello - I want to buy this.... but what I need to do is to find duplicate words in a column in Google Sheets and export those found duplicate words to another Google sheet without removing them from the original. How do I do this and will this tool do that? Hope so 🙂

Thanks very much,

Garry

Reply

Hi, Garry,

Thank you for your interest in our product!

If I understand your task correctly, our Find Duplicate Cells tool from Remove Duplicates will help you better:
https://www.ablebits.com/docs/howto-find-duplicate-cells/

You'll be able to select your column as a range to search in, and then copy the found dupes to another sheet/spreadsheet.

You can test Remove Duplicates for free for 30 days to make sure it works as you need.
You can also share your spreadsheet with us (gapps.ablebits@gmail.com) with a description of your task. We'll check how your data is stored and see if our software can help.

Reply
Alex Maldonado says:
September 9, 2018 at 7:56 pm

How can I select duplicates across three [3] or more columns?

I am using "remove duplicates" to select duplicates across two columns and copy them to another column.

I am trying to do the same function but across 3 columns.

Does anybody know how to do this?

Thank you for your help!

Reply

Hi Alex,
Thank you for using our product and for your comment.
If I understood you correctly, you need to compare three or more columns and select the values that are found in all the columns. For such a task better use the Compare Columns or Sheets tool.
Unfortunately, there is no way to compare more than two tables at once. Currently, there is only one option that you can use: compare two columns and copy duplicates, and then compare the result with the third column.
There is a workaround for your case, however. You can copy all columns into a single sheet and use the Find Duplicate or Unique Cells tool.

Reply

i paid for the whole year and its charging me again.

Reply

Hello, Megan,

Thank you for contacting us.
I'm really sorry you've encountered this problem with our add-on.

Could you please email us to support@ablebits.com with your order ID and the email address you registered the add-on to?
We'll look into the issue.

Thank you.

Reply

Is there any way of setting the app so that I will run once each day or each hour?

thank you,

Brian

Reply

Thank you for your question, Brian.
 
I'm afraid it's technically impossible to run our add-ons automatically at the moment.
However, since this is a common request, we are already working on a solution that will cut down the number of clicks on the same tasks. 
I can't tell you the exact timing yet but I can contact you back when the functionality is supported.
 
Please let me know if you have any other question.

Reply

Brian,

I'm happy to let you know that recently we've introduced scenarios to our add-on. Now you can automate repetitive tasks and check for duplicates in a click.
Just save the settings you use most often and give this set a name – this is your scenario. Once you run it, your sheet will be processed right away, and you won't need to go over the same steps again. You can view, edit, and delete scenarios quickly anytime.

Feel free to check the detailed instructions on how to work with scenarios in this part of the article:
https://www.ablebits.com/docs/howto-find-duplicate-rows/#use-scenarios

It's a pilot feature, so your feedback is eagerly anticipated and much appreciated. 🙂
If you have any question, please contact us at support@ablebits.com.

Reply
Devin McDonnell says:
December 14, 2018 at 8:48 pm

Hi, moths ago we paid for a lifetime license and were prompted to pay again today. Because we didn't have time to investigate the issue, we paid for another lifetime license in order to get up and running as quickly as possible. However, even after purchasing this second one, its still prompting us to purchase a lifetime license. As of now, we've paid for your service twice and still don't have access

Reply

Hi, Devin,
Thank you for contacting us. I'm really sorry you're having this difficulty with our add-on.

I'll reply to you with all the details via email since the message will contain some personal info about your licenses.
Please check your Inbox for a message from Ablebits support team.

Thank you for your understanding.

Reply

How do you hide formulas in cells on shared google sheet without using importrange?

Reply

Hi Esther,
Thank you for the question.
For us to be able to assist you, please clarify, what do you mean by saying 'hide formulas'? Do you want to make them invisible? Or the task is to prevent other users from editing the formulas? Or maybe something else?

Thank you.

Reply

To prevent others from seeing the formulas.

Hi Esther,
Unfortunately, there is no way to hide formulas in Google Sheets. However, you can try some of the techniques described here.

Hello!

If I buy license, I have the follow questions.

How many users can use the key?
How many google sheets docs can use the key per a person?
If I access for edit other google sheets (not owner). Can I add the software and use my key?

Reply

Hello Yuriy,
Thank you for your questions.

Our subscription is account-based - one key can be used under one Google account at a time.
If the product is going to be used under different accounts at the same time, you need to have several subscriptions, so that there is one for each account.
You can use the add-on in both your spreadsheets and shared ones.

You will find these and other answers regarding our subscriptions on these pages:
Licensing: https://www.ablebits.com/docs/gsuite-add-ons-licensing/
Purchasing: https://www.ablebits.com/docs/gsuite-add-ons-purchasing/

Reply

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