Compare columns in Excel

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When you have partially identical content in two columns in an Excel spreadsheet, you can find the differences with the following formula:

=IF(A3=C3,”same”,”different”)

where you would be comparing columns A and C.  Paste the formula into all cells in a new column.  Each cell in the new column will contain either the word “same” or the word “different” depending on whether the content in columns A and C on that row is the same or different.

To find where the content differs, you can sort the spreadsheet by this new comparison column, or you can apply conditional formatting to that column – for example, to highlight all cells with the word “different” in red.

October 7, 2010, session

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The notes from the October 7, 2010, Technology Tips and Tricks session are now posted on the “HCLTS IT” page of the department iSite at http://isites.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=k7051
Here are deep links to documents:
Notes:
http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic855161.files/tech_tips_and_tricks_2010-10-07_notes.pdf
Cheat Sheet:
http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic855161.files/tech_tips_and_tricks_2010-10-07_cheatsheet.pdf

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