How to Remove Duplicates in Google Sheets Without Shifting Cells

Removing duplicates in Google Sheets without shifting cells is a straightforward yet essential task, especially if you want to clean up your data without altering its structure. By using tools like conditional formatting, filtering, and Google Sheets’ built-in functions, you can efficiently identify and eliminate duplicate entries. Below, we’ll dive into a step-by-step guide to help you achieve this.

How to Remove Duplicates in Google Sheets Without Shifting Cells

This guide will help you identify and remove duplicates in Google Sheets without causing disruptions to the rest of your data. By following these steps, you’ll maintain the structure of your dataset while ensuring that only unique entries remain.

Step 1: Open Your Google Sheet

Open your Google Sheet where you want to remove duplicates.

Make sure your data is properly laid out in columns and rows. It’s easier to manage duplicates when your data is well-organized.

Step 2: Highlight the Range

Select the range of cells where you want to find duplicates.

Click and drag over the cells or use Shift + arrow keys to highlight them. This range will be the focus for finding duplicates.

Step 3: Use Conditional Formatting

Navigate to Format and select Conditional Formatting.

In the sidebar, choose “Custom formula is” and input =countif(A:A, A1)>1 (adjust the range as needed).

Step 4: Apply the Rule

Select a formatting style like a color fill to highlight duplicates.

This visual cue will make it easy to spot duplicates without shifting cells. Apply the rule to see duplicates marked in your selected range.

Step 5: Filter the Data

Click on Data and select Create a filter.

This will add filter icons to your column headers. Use these filters to show only the highlighted duplicate cells.

Step 6: Delete Duplicates

Manually delete the duplicate rows while applying the filter.

Be careful to only delete the rows highlighted by your conditional formatting to avoid removing unique entries.

After completing these steps, your Google Sheet will be free of duplicates, and the cell structure will remain intact. You’ll have a cleaner dataset without having shifted any cells.

Tips for Removing Duplicates in Google Sheets Without Shifting Cells

  • Use Conditional Formatting: This is a great way to visually identify duplicates without moving any cells around.
  • Double-Check Your Range: Always ensure you’ve selected the correct range of cells before applying any formatting or filtering.
  • Utilize Filters: Filters can help you isolate and view only the duplicates, making it easier to manage deletions.
  • Backup Your Data: Always create a copy of your sheet before making significant changes, just in case.
  • Know Your Formulas: Familiarize yourself with formulas like COUNTIF to enhance your data management skills.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I remove duplicates without using conditional formatting?

Yes, you can use the Remove Duplicates feature under the Data menu, but it will shift cells. Conditional formatting is better for maintaining structure.

Will deleting duplicates manually mess up my data?

No, as long as you follow the steps and only delete highlighted duplicates, your data should remain intact.

Is there an automatic way to remove duplicates?

Google Sheets’ Remove Duplicates tool can automate this, but it will shift cells. Manual methods are safer for preserving structure.

Can I undo the removal if I make a mistake?

Yes, you can use the Undo button or press Ctrl + Z immediately after deleting.

Do I need to know formulas to remove duplicates?

No, but knowing basic formulas like COUNTIF can help you identify duplicates more efficiently.


  1. Open your Google Sheet.
  2. Highlight the range.
  3. Use Conditional Formatting.
  4. Apply the rule.
  5. Filter the data.
  6. Delete duplicates.


Removing duplicates in Google Sheets without shifting cells might seem intimidating, but with the right approach, it’s quite manageable. By leveraging tools like conditional formatting and filters, you can keep your data pristine and organized. Remember to always back up your data before making major changes and familiarize yourself with some basic formulas to make the process smoother.

This guide should provide you with a clear understanding of how to remove duplicates efficiently. For further reading, explore more on Google Sheets functions and data management techniques. Now that you’ve mastered this skill, you can ensure your data is always clean and accurate. Happy spreadsheeting!