How to find differences between 2 columns in Excel

Use Conditional Formatting to Differentiate and Highlight Values

Say you have two lists of data (List 1 and List2) in your excel worksheet. You want to compare them to find out whether they have some common data, or highlight the different data sets. How would you do it? Here’s one way you can use to compare two lists and identify the different or duplicate data.

  1. Select the two columns that you want to compare
  2. In the Home tab, click “Conditional Formatting”. You will get a drop-down menu.
  3. Click on “Highlight Cell Rules,” and then go straight to “More Rules” and click on it.
  4. Here you will find many options. Depending upon your preference choose one of them. For instance, say you want to highlight all the data that’s different in the both the columns. First select “Format only unique or duplicate values.“, then, choose “Format only unique”. Alternatively, if you want to format only duplicate values, select “Duplicate values”.
  5. Now Click the “Format” button and set the font, border and fill options to highlight the cells you want.
  6. Click “OK” to confirm the changes.

Reference 1


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