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".

Generic formula



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 configured 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:


Dynamic source range

UNIQUE won't automatically change the source range if data is added or deleted. To give UNIQUE a dynamic range that will automatically resize as needed, you can use an Excel Table, or create a dynamic named range with a formula.

UNIQUE is a new function available in Office 365 only.
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Dave Bruns

Hi - I'm Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.