How to compare two columns and find differences in Excel

Updated: 05/16/2020 by Computer Hope
Microsoft Excel.

To find the differences between two columns of data in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, select your version of Excel, and follow the instructions.

Microsoft Excel for Office 365

  1. Open the Excel spreadsheet that contains the data you would like to compare.
  2. Select all the cells in both columns that contain the data to be compared.
  1. In the Ribbon, on the Home tab, find the Editing section and click on Find & Select.
  2. In the drop-down menu, select Go To Special.

Microsoft Excel - Go To Special for data comparison

  1. In the Go To Special pop-up window, click on Row differences, then click OK. Excel selects the differences between the two columns.

Microsoft Excel - Go To Special for data comparison

  1. To highlight these differences, leave them selected, and click the paint bucket icon in the font menu and select the color you want to use. Similarly, you can right-click and select the paint bucket to highlight the cells.
Tip

You can use the shortcut Ctrl+G, then click Special to open the Go To menu. Alternatively, press the F5 key, then click Special on the pop-up screen.

Microsoft Excel 2007 & 2010

  1. Open the Excel spreadsheet that contains the data you would like to compare.
  2. Select all the cells in both columns that contain the data to be compared.
  1. In the Ribbon, on the Home tab, go to Find & Select, then click on Go To.
  2. In the Go To pop-up window, click on Row differences, then click OK. Excel selects the difference between the two columns.
  3. To highlight these differences, leave them selected, and click the paint bucket icon in the font menu and select the color you want to use. Similarly, you can right-click and select the paint bucket to highlight the cells.

Microsoft Excel 2003

  1. Open the Excel spreadsheet that contains the data you would like to compare.
  2. Select all the cells in both columns that contain the data to be compared.
  1. In the file menu at the top of the program window, click Edit and select Go To.
  2. In the Go To Special pop-up window, click on Row differences, then click OK. Excel selects the difference between the two columns.
  3. To highlight these differences, leave them selected, and click the paint bucket icon in the font menu and select the color you want to use. Similarly, you can right-click and select the paint bucket to highlight the cells.