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Three different ways to find the differences between two Excel worksheets
Part four of a four-part series of blogs

There are a few ways to find the differences between two Excel worksheets. This blog considers 3 methods (using Excel formulae, using Query Editor and using the Inquire add-in).

  1. How to compare two Excel worksheets (three methods)
  2. Comparing two worksheets using Excel formulae
  3. Comparing two worksheets using Query Editor
  4. Compare worksheets using Inquire or Spreadsheet Compare (this blog)

Posted by Andy Brown on 01 June 2017

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Compare worksheets using Inquire or Spreadsheet Compare

For this method you'll either have to load the Inquire add-in within Excel, or run the standalone program called Spreadsheet Compare.

If you're using the Inquire add-in, you will need the Office 365 or ProPlus edition of Excel (see here for more details).

Starting Spreadsheet Compare

You can start this standalone program in the usual way:

Spreadsheet Compare

This is a method for finding the program in Windows 10 - it should be installed automatically with Microsoft Office.


Starting the Inquire Add-in

To enable the Inquire add-in, first choose File:

The FILE menu

Click on the File menu option.

Now choose to show the Excel Options:

Choose Excel Options

Choose this menu option.


Go to your add-ins:

Add-ins menu

Choose this tab in the left-hand menu.


Choose to show your COM add-ins (whatever these may be!):

COM add-ins

Choose the option shown, then click on the Go button.


Tick the Inquire add-in and choose OK:

Inquire add-in

Your list of add-ins may be different.


You should now be able to choose the Inquire tab on your Excel ribbon:

The Inquire tab

Choose this option to use the add-in.


Comparing two worksheets

Whether using the Inquire add-in or Spreadsheet Compare, first open the two worksheets that you want to compare (note that if you've downloaded the example workbook for this blog, you'll have to move one of the two worksheets into a separate file to try this out).

Choose to compare the two worksheets (the button shown below is for Inquire, but it's similar for Spreadsheet Compare):

Comparing files

Choose this option on the Inquire tab of the ribbon.

Choose the files that you want to compare:

Comparing files

Choose the files to compare, and click on Compare.

The add-in will show your changes, in whatever detail you want!

The changes listed

You can choose which sort of changes you want to see, create histograms of the number of differences found ... and much more!

This is truly the Rolls-Royce of spreadsheet comparison techniques! 

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