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How to remove duplicates but keep first instance in Excel?

Let’s say, there is a list of values in your worksheet which contains some duplicates, now, you need to remove the duplicates but keep the first row where the duplicated value is found. In this article, we will show you two methods of removing duplicates but keep first instance in Excel.

Remove duplicates but keep first instance with VBA code

Remove duplicates but keep first instance with Kutools for Excel


Easily highlight all duplicate or unique values in a list

With Kutools for Excel's Select Duplicate & Unique Cells utility, you can quickly highlight all duplicate or uqique values in a list in Excel.

Kutools for Excel includes more than 300 handy Excel tools. Free to try with no limitation in 60 days. Download the free trial now

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Remove duplicates but keep first instance with VBA code


You can run the below VBA code to remove duplicates but keep first instance in a column.

1. Press Alt + F11 to open the Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications dialog box.

2. In the Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications dialog box, click Insert > Module. Then copy and paste the below code into the code window.

VBA code: remove duplicates but keep first instance

Sub TrimExcessSpaces()
	Dim Rng As Range
	Dim WorkRng As Range
	Dim dic As Variant
	Set dic = CreateObject("Scripting.Dictionary")
	On Error Resume Next
	xTitleId = "KutoolsforExcel"
	Set WorkRng = Application.Selection
	Set WorkRng = Application.InputBox("Range", xTitleId, WorkRng.Address, Type: = 8)
	Set WorkRng = WorkRng.Columns(1)
	For Each Rng In WorkRng.Cells
		dic(Rng.Value) = ""
	Next
	WorkRng.ClearContents
	WorkRng.Range("A1").Resize(UBound(dic.Keys) + 1, 1) = Application.WorksheetFunction.Transpose(dic.Keys)
End Sub

3. Press F5 key to run the code. In the popping up KutoolsforExcel dialog box, select the range you want to remove duplicates, and then click the OK button. See screenshot:

Now you can see all duplicate rows except the first records are removed from the selected column range. See screenshot:


Remove duplicates but keep first instance with Kutools for Excel

Beside the VBA code, you can use the Select Duplicate & Unique Cells utility of Kutools for Excel add-in to easily remove duplicates but keep the first instances in Excel.

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

1. Select the range you want to remove duplicates but keep first instances. Then click Kutools > Select > Select Duplicate & Unique Cells. See screenshot:

2. In the Select Duplicate & Unique Cells dialog box, select the Duplicates (Except 1st one) option, and then click the OK button. See screenshot:

doc remove duplicates1

3. In the following Select Duplicate & Unique Cells dialog box, click OK.

doc remove duplicates1

4. Now the duplicates are selected except the first instances, please press the Delete key to remove the selected duplicates.

Note: If you want to delete the duplicate rows, you just need to check Select entire rows option in the Select Duplicate & Unique Cells dialog box, and then apply the Delete command of the right click menu to remove the entire duplicate rows.

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.


Remove duplicates but keep first instance with Kutools for Excel

Kutools for Excel includes more than 300 handy Excel tools. Free to try with no limitation in 60 days. Download the free trial now!


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    lelouch · 2 years ago
    I am trying to do something similar but not quite. I am trying to take the following where I indicates the next cell

    John I Red
    John I Blue
    John I Yellow

    Joe I Red
    Joe I Blue
    Joe I Yellow

    and turn it into

    John I Red
    I Blue
    I Yellow

    Joe I Red
    I Blue
    I Yellow

    Can you help on just keeping the first duplicate in a single cell only?