Excel formula for Beginners – How to find Distinct values in Excel

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(Excel examples for Beginners)

In this end-to-end excel example, you will learn – Excel formula for Beginners – How to find Distinct values in Excel.


Excel formula for Beginners – How to find Distinct values in Excel

Generic formula



To extract a list of distinct values from a set of data (i.e. values that appear just once), you can use the UNIQUE function. In the example shown, the formula in D5 is:


which outputs the 2 distinct values in the data, “purple”, and “gray”.


This example uses the UNIQUE function. With default settings, UNIQUE will output a list of unique values, i.e. values that appear one or more times in the source data. However, UNIQUE has an optional third argument, called “occurs_once” that, when set to TRUE, will cause UNIQUE to return only values that appear once in the data.

In the example shown, UNIQUE’s arguments are configures like this:

  • array – B5:B16
  • by_col – FALSE
  • occurs_once – TRUE

Because occurs_once is set to TRUE, UNIQUE outputs the 2 values in the data that appear just once: “purple”, and “gray”.

Notice the by_col argument is optional and defaults to FALSE, so it can be omitted:


TRUE and FALSE can also be replaced with 1 and zero like this:


Excel formula for Beginners – How to find Distinct values in Excel


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