Removing Duplicates at a Reduced Precision Level

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 10, 2022)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Tanya has a worksheet that contains registration data for her company. One of the data columns indicates the results of a formula derived from equipment registration measurements. The data is precise out to 5 decimal places, though the format shows only 2 decimal places on-screen. Tanya would like to remove duplicate rows where, at 2 decimal places, the data is identical. She knows she could use the Remove Duplicates tool, but it compares out to 5 decimal places instead of just the 2 decimal places she desires. So, Tanya is searching for the easiest way to remove the duplicates.

The simplest approach is to modify the formula that shows the results in your column—simply wrap the existing formula in the ROUND function. For instance, let's say that the existing formula is very simple, such as =A1+B1. To wrap this existing formula in the ROUND function, you would change the formula to this:

=ROUND(A1+B1,2)

This rounds the results of your formula to 2 decimal places, which matches what you are displaying on-screen. You can now use the Remove Duplicates tool to get rid of the data you don't need.

If you prefer to use a helper column (so you don't modify the original formula), the formula in the helper column would be this, assuming the original five-decimal-place formula is in column D:

=ROUND(D1,2)

One you remove the duplicates based on the helper column, you could then delete the helper column as it is no longer needed.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12972) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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