I have an Excel spreadsheet that has a list of names in column A. What I'd like to do is parse out all the names in the column that I don't know and their rows. For example, in a spreadsheet of 100 names, let's say I know 39 of them and their row data. I don't need to see them in the spreadsheet - what I need to see are the remaining 61 that I don't know and their rows.

Hope that makes sense, and that something like this is possible!


  • Straightforward but you should provide us with your data layout, ie.e where are the names stored that you do know? – brettdj Aug 30 '12 at 0:11
  • Thanks for the fast response! Where should the names be stored? I can easily store them in the same spreadsheet, in a separate text file, or I can enter them directly in a formula, whichever is most flexible. – user1631862 Aug 30 '12 at 0:24
  • It depends whether this is a one off (put them inside the spreadsheet), or repetitive. And whether the known names change or stay stable – brettdj Aug 30 '12 at 0:32

Throw the names you do know in a separate sheet in the same workbook, then do a vlookup in the first worksheet to determine if the names are known or not known, and filter on that?

You'll get much better answers, I'm sure, but that's what I do, ad hoc.

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  • I rethought this a little, and realized that you also want the row number. If you can sort your known names in alpha order, to get the row, you can use match. I tried to add more details about this, but now I'm called away, and I can't delete this, for some reason. Anyway, look into the Match function in Excel; it would return the row number, assuming the range that it's searching is in alpha order. – Julie Sep 1 '12 at 2:22

Yea, like julie said - this is a very basic use of vlookup.

Vlookup Example

You can then sort on the "Do we Know?" column - to put all the ones we don't "know" to the top.

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