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How to compare two columns and count differences in Excel?

If there are two columns, which are include duplicate values, how can you compare the columns and count the different values only in Excel? Here article, I will introduce the methods to count the differences by cells or rows between two columns/ranges.

Compare and count differences between two columns by cells
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Compare and count differences between two ranges by rows good idea3
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Compare and count differences between two columns by cells

Method 1 Conditional Formatting and Filter functions

To compare two columns and count differences by cells, you can use the Conditional Formatting function to highlight the duplicates first, then use the Filter function to count the total differences.

1. Select the column you want to count the differences, click Home > Conditional Formatting > New Rule.
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2. In the New Formatting Rule dialog, select Use a formula to determine which cells to format in the Select a Rule Type section, then type this formula =countif($C:$C, $A1) into the Format values where this formula is true textbox.
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3. Click Format, under Fill tab, select a color for the duplicates.
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4. Click OK > OK, now the duplicates have been highlighted with a specific background color.
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5. Select the column which you have highlight some cells, click Data > Filter, and then click the Filter icon to select Filter by Color > No Fill.
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Now the differences in this column have been filtered. Select the filtered data and go to the Status bar, you can see the count.
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Tip: In the formula =countif($C:$C, $A1), A1 is the first cell of the column you want to count differences, column C is the another column you want to compare with.

Method 2 Select Same & Different Cells

If you have Kutools for Excel installed, you can use it’s Select Same & Different Cells utility to quickly count the differences by cells or rows between two columns with 3 steps.

Kutools for Excel, with more than 200 handy Excel functions, enhance your working efficiency and save your working time.

After free installing Kutools for Excel, please do as below:

1. Click Kutools > Select > Select Same & Different Cells.
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2. In the Select Same & Different Cells dialog, select the two columns without headers into Find values in and According to textboxes, check Single cell and Different Values options.
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3. Click Ok, a dialog pops out to tell you the number of difference in the column.
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Compare and count differences between two ranges by rows

After free installing Kutools for Excel, please do as below:

1. Click Kutools > Select > Select Same & Different Cells.
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2. In the Select Same & Different Cells dialog, select the two columns without headers intoFind values in and According to textboxes, check Each row and Different Values options.
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3. Click Ok, the different rows in the column (which in Find values in textbox) have been selected, and the number of count is displayed in the popping dialog.
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