Quickly display unique items in an excel list using advanced filters

hacks , Learn Excel , technology - 12 comments

Imagine you have long list of data and you need to quickly identify which of the items are unique. You can use Advanced Filters to do this.

Just select the list of items you want to filter, go to menu > Data > Filter > Advanced filter. You will see a dialog box like this:


Thats all, when you click ok you will see unique items of the selected list. Quick, aint it?

If you want to see all items, go to menu > Data > Filter > show all.

clear filters in excel how to


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12 Responses to “Quickly display unique items in an excel list using advanced filters”

  1. Dulan says:

    Until I switched to Excel 2007, I used an alternate approach - pivot tables. It's probably not as easy as this method, but it achieves the same thing.

    Select the data, create a pivot table and then put the field you want the uniques as the rows - same result, but results in an additional worksheet.

  2. Chandoo says:

    @Dulan: thanks for sharing this idea with our readers, I have used Pivot tables to quickly extract unique items, items with more than certain number of entries etc, when I was processing huge amounts of sales data for monthly reports. Its very fast and easy.

    Welcome to PHD, hope you liked my little site.. 🙂

  3. Dulan says:

    Welcome to PHD, hope you liked my little site..

    Good job with the site - lots of interesting tips and tricks!

  4. Dulan says:

    uh... sorry about that - my html attempt didn't quite work out...

  5. ??? says:


    Even when i moved to Office 2007 i was little confused about new shape - Maybe still, but i must admit, with time, when user get used to it, its much more time saving.


  6. JTS says:

    I use the Advanced filtering and ask for Unique values but it fails multiple times to eliminate one of the two "1"s in the data set of 36 numbers. WHY? "Remove Duplicates" does it flawlessly. What's wrong? I've reentered the data so it's not a lower-case L masquarading as a number 1. It's not a formula.

  7. [...] tables to get unique items in excel > Getting unique items using data filter and formulas > Use advanced data filters to find unique items > Eliminate Duplicate Entries in a List using Formulas > Get Unique items using Excel 2007 [...]

  8. RAB says:

    I think Excel is looking for a "header". Add a column title and include that in the range being filtered.

  9. [...] Quickly display unique items in an excel list using advanced filters (Pointy haired Dilbert) [...]

  10. AShwini says:

    Advanced filter with formula

  11. Uchechi says:

    You will always remain an Admirable Excel Guru of all time haven been in the field such a long time. As the saying goes, experience is the best teacher. You have the experience and that made you the best, and yet humble teacher.

    Yes, the way you respond to other methods proposed by some like you is also adding to the experience we your students gets from you website.


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