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Best Way To Clean Data In Excel: A Complete Guide

Imagine you open up an Excel spreadsheet on your computer and find yourself looking into unorganized and difficult-to-read data.

Well, we all have been there. That’s why it is important to learn the best way to clean data in Excel.

Data cleaning in Excel is one of the most useful and important skills every data analyst must have.

In today’s data-driven world, everything depends on the quality and accuracy of data.

That is why companies and business owners expect the quality and accuracy of data to be of the highest standards.

In this article, I am going to show you some of the best ways to clean data in Excel.

Best Way To Clean Data In Excel

When it comes to data, there are various things that can go wrong such as formatting, blank spaces, duplicates, structure, placement, and so on. 

The important part of data cleaning in Excel is to remove errors, blank spaces, incorrect values, and outdated information from the data.

Let’s now explore some of the best ways to clean data in Excel:

1. Removing Duplicates

Duplicates are like evil twins, they look the same but make it difficult to read data in Excel. 

But need not to worry because removing duplicates is one of the easiest ways to clean data in Excel.

Steps To Remove Duplicates In Excel

  • Step1. Select your data: Select and highlight the range of data you want to check for duplicates.
  • Step2. Remove Duplicates: Go to the “DATA” tab and click on “Remove Duplicates”. 

Excel will ask you to select the columns you want to check for duplicates from the selected range of data. 

  • Step.3: After removing the duplicates from the selected range of data, Excel will show you the number of duplicate values removed from the data. In my case, there were no duplicate values so it showed, “ No duplicate values found.

2. Formatting The Text

Formatting the text in data can be a tricky task as it can contain extra spaces, typing mistakes, and inconsistent casing

All these errors make it difficult to read data.

Here’s how we can fix it:

  • Trim Function: Trim function (=TRIM) can be used to remove any extra spaces from the data. Simply type “=TRIM(A1)” and drag down the formula.
  • Proper Casing: Imagine you have inconsistent casing in the text of your data, in this case, you can use the ‘PROPER’, ‘LOWER’, OR ‘UPPER’ functions to fix those errors.

For Example; To capitalize the first letter of each word in your data, type =PROPER(A1).

  • Find & Replace: To open and access the find & replace dialog box, simply press ‘CTRL + H’ on your keyboard. 

This function is used for fixing typing mistakes & errors as well as for removing outdated terms in your data. 

3. Formatting Data In Excel

Even formatting in Excel is another best way to clean data in Excel. 

Uneven formatting in Excel can make your data look unprofessional.

Formatting in Excel can be as easy and simple as coloring the text and cells in your data. 

You can also use the option conditional formatting from the ‘HOME’ tab to apply a logical condition to your cell.

4. Spell Check 

Misspelled words can affect the accuracy and quality of your data. 

Here’s how you can correct them:

  • Step1. Select the range of data to highlight the cells you want to check for spelling mistakes.
  • Step2. To run the spell check, press ‘F7’ on your keyboard or simply go to the “Review “ tab and click on “Spelling”.

Excel will guide you through the whole process while suggesting corrections. 

  • Step3. Review and correct the suggested corrections and apply them to your data as per your needs.

5. Data Validation

Data validation is another best way to clean data in Excel. Data validation can be used to avoid future mistakes by setting up data validation rules for your data. 

Here’s how you can do it;

  • Step1. Select the cells to highlight the data range where you want to apply data validation.
  • Step2. Go to the “Data” tab and click on “Data Validation,” to set your criteria or rule.  

“Note: Data Validation can be used to create dropdown lists, restrict data to certain values or types (for example; numbers or text only), and more.”

Conclusion

Hurray! You have now learned the best way to clean data in Excel to maintain professionalism while handling data. 

Always remember that clean data not only looks professional but also ensures the quality and accuracy of data. 

Which is important for accurate data analysis and precise decision-making. 

What is the easiest way to clean data?

The easiest way to clean data in Excel:
1. Remove Duplicates
2. Remove Unwanted Spaces
3. Remove Spelling Mistakes
4. Data Validation
5. Formatting Text
6. Formatting Data and so on.

What are data cleaning techniques in Excel?

Data cleaning techniques in Excel are functions that are used to clean data. These data-cleaning techniques are used to perform various tasks such as;

Standardize formats
Remove duplicates
Find and replace
Check for spelling mistakes
Split delimited data
Fill missing values
Even out the casing and remove extra spaces
Extract prefixed and suffixes and so on…

How do I clean a heavy Excel file?

The best way to clean a heavy Excel file is to remove unused data and worksheets that are not in use.

“Note: Only remove the worksheet that doesn’t contain any formula you are using otherwise it will result in an error and data loss. “

This will help you reduce your file size and make it easier to clean heavy Excel files.

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