# Excel Compare Two Lists And Return Differences: A Complete Guide

Saturday, May 13th 2023. | Excel Templates

## Introduction

In today’s world, data is everything. From businesses to individuals, everyone relies on data to make informed decisions. Excel is one of the most popular tools for data management and analysis. However, working with large datasets can be challenging, especially when you need to compare two lists and return differences. In this article, we will discuss how to compare two lists in Excel and return the differences.

## Sample 1: Compare Two Lists Using Conditional Formatting

Conditional formatting is a powerful tool in Excel that allows you to highlight cells based on certain conditions. To compare two lists using conditional formatting, follow these steps: 1. Select the cells that contain the first list. 2. Go to the Home tab and click on Conditional Formatting. 3. Select Highlight Cells Rules and click on Duplicate Values. 4. In the Duplicate Values dialog box, select the formatting style you want to apply to the duplicate values. 5. Click OK. Repeat the above steps for the second list. Once you have highlighted the duplicate values, you can easily identify the differences.

## Sample 2: Compare Two Lists Using VLOOKUP

VLOOKUP is another powerful tool in Excel that allows you to search for a specific value in a table and return a corresponding value. To compare two lists using VLOOKUP, follow these steps: 1. Create a new column next to the first list and enter the formula =VLOOKUP(A1,\$B:\$B,1,FALSE). 2. Copy the formula down to all the cells in the column. 3. Filter the column to show only the #N/A values. Repeat the above steps for the second list. Once you have filtered the #N/A values, you can easily identify the differences.

## Sample 3: Compare Two Lists Using Power Query

Power Query is a powerful tool in Excel that allows you to connect to various data sources, transform the data, and load it into Excel. To compare two lists using Power Query, follow these steps: 1. Import the two lists into Power Query. 2. Merge the two lists using the Merge Queries option. 3. Expand the merged table to show the differences.

## Tips for Comparing Two Lists in Excel

1. Keep the lists sorted: Sorting the lists before comparing them can make the process much easier. 2. Use a unique identifier: If the lists have a unique identifier, such as an ID or code, you can use it to compare the lists more efficiently. 3. Avoid duplicates: Make sure there are no duplicates in the lists before comparing them.

### 1. Can I compare more than two lists in Excel?

Yes, you can compare more than two lists in Excel. You can use the same methods discussed in this article and apply them to multiple lists.

### 2. Can I compare lists with different column structures?

Yes, you can compare lists with different column structures. However, you may need to use a different method, such as Power Query, to merge the lists.

### 3. Can I compare lists with different data types?

Yes, you can compare lists with different data types. However, you may need to convert the data types to a common format before comparing the lists.

### 4. What is the easiest way to compare two lists in Excel?

The easiest way to compare two lists in Excel depends on your specific requirements. However, using conditional formatting or VLOOKUP are two of the most straightforward methods.

### 5. Can I automate the process of comparing two lists in Excel?

Yes, you can automate the process of comparing two lists in Excel using macros or VBA code.

### 6. How do I highlight the differences between two lists in Excel?

You can highlight the differences between two lists in Excel using conditional formatting or by using a formula that returns the differences.

### 7. Can I compare two lists in Excel Online?

Yes, you can compare two lists in Excel Online using the same methods discussed in this article.

## Conclusion

Comparing two lists in Excel can be a daunting task, especially when dealing with large datasets. However, by using the methods discussed in this article, you can easily compare two lists and return the differences. Whether you prefer using conditional formatting, VLOOKUP, or Power Query, Excel has a solution for all your data comparison needs.

## Tags

Excel, Data Management, Data Analysis, Conditional Formatting, VLOOKUP, Power Query, Data Comparison, Tips, FAQs.

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