Have you ever been frustrated staring at two lists trying to find the differences between them? Well if you have those lists in Excel it’s a simple job. If both lists are numbers you don’t even need to know any special functions, just subtract the number in one column from the number in the other column and copy your formulas down. Obviously, everything that equals zero is a match. But that wouldn’t be much of a tip so let’s look at a function that works on numbers or text.

The EXACT() function is really simple to use. Just list the two cells you want to compare in the parentheses, separated by a comma. To compare cell B2 to cell C2, simply go to an empty cell and enter =EXACT(B2,C2). Now copy that formula down the length of your list. Every line that matches will show TRUE and every line that doesn’t match will show FALSE. EXACT() will work on any data type but you are limited to comparing two cells.

I love that I don’t have to remember any complicated syntax to use EXACT() but every situation is different and there are many ways to approach this task. So also consider the Go To command, conditional formatting, IF() or, in case the two lists are sorted differently, VLOOKUP().