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How to Delete Duplicate Files Using Microsoft Excel

There was a time when a 40 megabyte hard disk was considered luxuriously big, but with today’s consumption of digital media and common file sizes in the gigabytes, modern terabyte hard drives can fill up fast. By filling up our space we don’t only cause a file management headache, if let get out of control it can even harm system performance.

One way we can keep our storage clean and uncluttered is to keep an eye on duplicates. By storing only unique files we can at least know we are not wasting any precious space.

Finding duplicates is not always easy, plus the solution often requires downloading a tool to do it. Well, good news. We have developed a tiny Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that can do the job for you!

Using the Spreadsheet

First, download the spreadsheet from here. You will see there are three tabs. The first lists the files, next we have a backup of the formulas just in case. Last we have these instructions.

  1. CTRL+SHIFT+L to list all the files on your “C:” hard drive in the ‘List of files’ tab.List of files
  2. Once the files are listed and the related data is in place, you can use Excel’s filter function to show files that appear more than once. Column C (labeled ‘how many times this file appears’) shows the count for the number of appearances for the file. Filter the sheet to show rows only where column C is greater than 1 to get a list of just the duplicate files.
  3. Use the standard Excel filter to show all the rows except those with 1 in column C.
  4. When only duplicate files are showing, sort the entire sheet on the filename column (B). You can also find duplicate files for a specific file extension by filtering all other file extensions (column D)
  5. Finally, if you want to delete or rename a file, select the full file path on column A and press CTRL+SHIFT+SDelete a file


Once you start digging into what Microsoft Excel can do you might be amazed. We hope this little tool will help you keep your digital life that bit more organized!

About the author

Yoav is the CEO of Cogniview, a company that creates PDF to XLS conversion software.

Prior to that, Yoav Ezer was the CEO of Nocturnus, a technology-centered software solution company.

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