So generally when using the remove duplicates function in Excel the oldest record will be kept - and that's exactly what I want to happen!

But recently when running Remove Duplicates, it is automatically deleting the oldest entry and keeping the new one -- which is messing up my data collection.

Please can you advise how to get Excel to keep only the oldest entry?

  • Can anyone assist with this, as all I can find it that Excel should work as standard the way I want it to but its doing the opposite! – Becci Nov 4 '15 at 10:47
  • Can you provide an example of what it's doing to your data? Maybe provide before and after screenshots? I'm at a loss if it's really doing what you claim. – Excellll Nov 4 '15 at 15:53
  • I cannot provide screenshots for data protection reasons, however I assure you I would not be posting this question if this wasn't happening. – Becci Nov 4 '15 at 15:57

Remove Duplicates keeps/removes records based on their position in the column. For each unique value, the record that appears first (highest up) in the column will be kept and any subsequent duplicates will be deleted.

I suspect the first time you used this, your data was sorted by date from oldest to most recent, so it behaved as you wanted. Sometime after that, your data for whatever reason was no longer sorted by date.

To make sure Remove Duplicates works as you want it to, just be sure to sort your data by date from oldest to most recent before using Remove Duplicates.

  • I do not have dates in my spreadsheet - it is all text and numbers. The order of the data is from oldest to newest and I want the oldest record to remain as it previously did. Now it keeps the lowest record and deletes those higher up the spreadsheet which is a problem – Becci Nov 3 '15 at 21:50

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