Quick Ways to Compare Data in Excel

One of the common things we do when working with Excel data is comparing two strings of text. There are several ways to do this, and in this post, I’ll share some quick ways to compare data in Excel. These are ones that I frequently use and hope you find use for them in your daily work.

Quick Ways to Compare Data in Excel

Use the True or False Option

Let’s say that in this instance, you have two lists of data List 1 and List 2 and you want to check that the two lists are in the same order. To do this, in a blank cell type =. Then select the first item in List 1 and enter the = sign again. Then select the first item in List 2 and press Enter. Drag the corner of the resultant cell to compare the rest of the data. If the result is True, then it is an exact match, if the result is False, the data are not matched.

true or false option



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This is by far the easiest way to compare two Excel lists as you don’t have to remember any formula.

Use the Exact Function

This is similar to the previous option and lets you compare two strings of text for similarities using the Exact function. Click the link to see how to use the Exact function option.

Use Conditional Formatting

Not my favorite way to do it, nevertheless, you can follow these steps to compare data too!

1. Select the two columns that you want to compare.

2. On the Home tab, in the Styles group, select Conditional Formatting and then choose Highlight Cells Rules –>Duplicate Values.

conditional formatting for duplicate cells

3. In the Duplicate Values dialog box, select a formatting style and click OK.

highlight duplicate cells - Compare Data in Excel

Use the Go To Dialog box

This method works when you want to compare one or more columns of data with the first column of data.

1. Select the columns that you want to compare.

2. Press Crtl+G or the F5 key.

3. In the Go To dialog box, click Special.

go to button

4. In the Go To Special dialog box, select Row Differences and click OK.

go to special

The cells that don’t match the data in columns B, C …. are highlighted in column A. The trouble with this method is that it provides a quick look at the discrepancies. If you click inside the sheet, the highlights are lost.

comapre excel data

Hope you find these techniques useful when working with Excel data. If you know a method to compare Excel data, be sure to share it with us in the comments section.

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  • Updated December 26, 2015
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Adeline is a tech enthusiast who loves exploring the latest tools and applications in the marketplace. She also loves her Android and spends time reviewing apps and playing games when she has the time.