How To Compare Two Excel Files

Comparing two Excel files involves opening both files and assessing the differences between them, such as changes in cell values, formulas, formatting, and data structure.

In today’s digital age, Excel has become an indispensable tool for organizing and analyzing data. Whether it is for managing finances, tracking inventory, or conducting research, Excel offers a wide range of features that make it the go-to choice for professionals across industries. However, when working with large datasets or collaborating with others, it can be challenging to keep track of changes and differences between multiple Excel files. This is where the ability to compare two Excel files becomes incredibly useful. In this blog post, we will explore different methods and tools to help you easily compare and identify variations between two Excel files, saving you time and effort in the process.

How To Compare Two Excel Files: Step-by-Step


Step 1: Open Microsoft Excel

To open Microsoft Excel, simply locate and click on the Excel icon on your desktop or search for “Excel” in your computer’s search bar and select the application.

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Step 2: Open the First Excel File

To open an Excel file, go to the top menu and click on “File”, then select “Open”. Navigate to the desired file in your folders and click on “Open” to access it.

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Step 3: Open the Second Excel File

Continue repeating Step 2 as needed to open additional Excel files. This will allow you to have multiple Excel files open simultaneously, each appearing in its own separate window.

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Step 4: Arrange the Excel Windows Side by Side

To view multiple Excel files side by side, go to the “View” tab, click “Arrange All,” and select “Vertical.” The files will be displayed next to each other for convenient comparison and analysis.

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Step 5: Enable “Compare Side by Side” Feature

By clicking “View Side by Side” on the “View” tab, you can conveniently compare data by scrolling through both sheets simultaneously.

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Step 6: Manual Comparison

This manual process of comparing Excel files can be tedious, especially for larger files. Implementing “Conditional Formatting” can help expedite the identification of discrepancies, but it is still time-consuming.

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Step 7: Use an Add-On Comparison Tool

For larger files, try using “Spreadsheet Compare” or “DiffEngineX” add-on tools. They automatically compare Excel files, highlighting differences. Download, install, and follow instructions for file comparison.


In conclusion, comparing two Excel files can be a daunting task, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be made much simpler. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you can effectively compare the data in two Excel files and identify any differences or discrepancies.

Remember to use built-in Excel functions like VLOOKUP or the Compare Files feature to quickly identify differences in values, formulas, or cell formatting. Additionally, third-party software solutions such as Beyond Compare, Excel Compare, or Spreadsheet Compare can provide more advanced comparison capabilities, including comparing multiple worksheets or even entire workbooks.

Regularly comparing Excel files can help ensure data accuracy, identify potential errors, and facilitate efficient data management. It’s a valuable skill to have in any professional setting where Excel files are commonly used.

So whether you’re comparing financial statements, sales reports, or any other type of data, armed with the knowledge and techniques shared in this blog post, you can confidently tackle the challenge of comparing Excel files. Happy comparing!

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