Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Duplicates Revisited

Recently a reader wrote in saying he was combining two large mailing lists and wanted an easy way to remove the duplicates. When it comes to removing unwanted duplicates in a database, users of Excel 2007 and Excel 2010 have it easy. Here is how you accomplish this useful task:

1.  Select the entire database (be careful not to select any self-generating key fields)
2.  Go to the Data tab in the Data Tools group and click Remove Duplicates
3.  Select the columns on which you want to base your removal and click OK
4.  A message will pop up telling you how many (if any) values were found and removed

But what if you are still using Excel 2003? Well, it is not quite as slick, but there is a reasonably quick way to do this with the older software as well (by the way, this also works with the newer versions):

1.  Select the field with the duplicates
2.  Go to Data / Filter / Advanced Filter
3.  Check the box in the lower left that says Unique records only
4.  Put the starting cell of the new range in the Copy to dialogue box
5.  Click OK

Yes, it certainly is easier and more versatile removing duplicates using Excel 2007 or Excel 2010 (one more good reason to upgrade). It truly is easier to do this with the newer software (and Easy is Good!)

Whichever version of Excel you have, this will help you Maintain the Integrity of your database. So, give it a try: Get rid of those Duplicates!

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