Unique Function in Microsoft Excel: How to Identify and Extract Unique Values

Learn how to use the Microsoft Excel UNIQUE function to identify and extract unique values from a dataset. Understand the syntax and arguments of the function and how you can use them to make informed decisions.


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Microsoft Excel is a powerful tool for data analysis and manipulation. One of the many features that Excel offers is the ability to identify and extract unique values from a range or table. This can be done using the UNIQUE function in Excel, which returns a list of distinct values based on a specified criteria.

The syntax for the UNIQUE function is: UNIQUE(array, [by_col], [exact_match]). The array argument is required and should be a range of cells with multiple columns. You can also specify a by_col argument, which tells the function to return only distinct values from a specific column in the array. Finally, you can use the exact_match argument to determine if the values should be matched exactly or not.

In order to better understand how the UNIQUE function works, let’s look at a simple example. Assume we have a spreadsheet with three columns (Name, Age, and City) and 10 rows of data. If we want to identify and extract the list of unique cities from the table, we could use the UNIQUE function with the following syntax: =UNIQUE(A2:C11,3). This will return a list of all the unique cities from the given range.

The UNIQUE function is a great way to quickly identify and extract unique values from a dataset. By understanding how the function works and using it appropriately, you'll be able to efficiently analyze and manipulate data in Excel.


Paresh Deshmukh

Co-Founder, BoloForms

28 Feb, 2023

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