Quickly highlight the differences in two columns – Go to Special

There are many ways to find out the cells in column B which are different from the cells in column A, e.g. using Conditional Formatting, Using formula in column C.  These methods require some knowledge in Formula.  Nevertheless, It could be a headache to many people with “formula-phobia”… ;p

Look at the screenshot below.  The task is to highlight the cells in column B that are different from that in column A.  OMG, is it an eye-test?


No worry.  A few clicks can accomplish it.

1) Select the range for comparison.  A2:B6 in this example

2) “Ctrl G” to open the Go to dialogue box –> Special  –> Row Differences


3) Bingo!  Now simply apply the format you like to highlight the cells selected.


4) Here you go!



  1. As you see, the result is not case-sensitive
  2. If you select more than 2 columns, comparison will be made to cells in the leftmost column.
  3. If you understand Row Differences, you probably understand Column Differences which serves the same purpose in different orientation.

A simple spreadsheet you can manage is better than a sophisticated spreadsheet you need help.


About MF

An Excel nerd who just transition into a role related to data analytics at current company......😊 Recently in love with Power Query and Power BI.😍 Keep learning new Excel and Power BI stuffs and be amazed by all the new discoveries.
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