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How to conditional format or highlight first occurrence (all unique values) in Excel?

For a list of data, there may occur some duplicate occurrences. In some cases, if you need to highlight or conditional format every first occurrence of each unique entry in a column, how can you achieve it? In this tutorial, we will show you how to conditional format first occurrence in Excel step by step.

Conditional format/highlight first occurrence in Excel

Easily highlight first occurrence (all unique values) with Kutools for Excel


Easily conditional format every nth row in selection in Excel

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Conditional format/highlight first occurrence in Excel


For example, you have a list of data as below screenshot shown. For highlighting every first occurrence of each unique entry, please do as follow.

1. Select the range with the data you want to format.

2. Create a new conditional formatting rule with clicking Conditional Formatting > New Rule under Home tab.

3. In the New Formatting Rule dialog box, you can:

1). Select Use a formula to determine which cells to format in the Select a Rule Type box;

2). Copy and paste the formula =COUNTIF(A$1:A1,A1)=1 (A1 is the start data of your selected column, you can change it to your need)into the Format values where this formula is true box;

3). Click the Format button. See screenshot:

4. In the Format Cells dialog box, specify format as you need, and then click the OK button.

5. Then it returns to the New Formatting Rule dialog box, click the OK button.

Then the conditional formatting is added to every first occurrence of each unique entry in the column. See screenshot:


Easily highlight first occurrence (all unique values) with Kutools for Excel

With Kutools for Excel’s Select Duplicate & Unique Cells utility, you can easily highlight the first occurrence (all unique values) in Excel. Please do as follows.

Kutools for Excel : with more than 300 handy Excel add-ins, free to try with no limitation in 60 days.

1. Select the range with all unique values you want to highlight, and then click Kutools > Select > Select Duplicate & Unique Cells. See screenshot:

doc first occurrence

2. In the Select Duplicate & Unique Cells dialog box, select All unique (Including 1st duplocates) option, check the Fill backcolor box and specify a highlighted color from the drop-down list, and finally click the OK button. In the following popping up dialog box, click the OK button. See screenshot:

doc first occurrence1

Now you can see all first occurrences (all unique values) in selected list are highlighted with specified background color.

Tip.If you want to have a free trial of this utility, please go to download the software freely first, and then go to apply the operation according above steps.


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