This is a guest post by Yoav Ezer
If you have two lists to merge together that were created in Microsoft Excel, and in the end you only want unique entries, how would you do it?
Many people would either start planning some complicated formula or macro solution, and the rest of us might throw our hands up in defeat. In fact there is a quick and easy way as we will see.
Imagine you are a teacher taking students on a field trip. You are taking pupils from both the Math and English classes, but you can not just combine the class register lists because you find out that some students are taking both classes. What you need is a merged list but without duplicates, making sure each student only appears once in your final output.
Our solution is so pain-free compared to other ways you might achieve the same result. Our final list is compiled by copying and appending the first list to the bottom of the second, and then we use the Advanced Filter feature options to filter the combined list in place, leaving our unique records only.
Choose the option to "filter in place" and select "unique records only" and the result will be your lists merged and made unique.
With Excel, like any powerful software platform, it is so tempting to over-engineer a solution, but here you can see the built-in features often have elegant and pain-free ways to produce the result we want. Have a play with the filter options to see what they can do for you!
About the author
Yoav Ezer co-authors the technology and productivity blog Codswallop. He is also the CEO of a company that produces PDF to Excel conversion software.