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Table of contents
What is Excel?
Data Preprocessing
Steps in Data Preprocessing
Collection of the Data
Cleaning of the Data
Handling Missing Values
Removing Duplicates
Standardizing Formats
Filtering and Sorting
Example of Data Preprocessing
Advantages of Data Preprocessing
Disadvantages of Data Preprocessing
Frequently Asked Questions
What do you mean by data preprocessing in Excel?
What is the way to remove duplicate values in Excel?
Is it possible to filter and sort the data in Excel?
Can we handle outliers in Excel?
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

Data Preprocessing in Excel

Author Ravi Khorwal
Master Python: Predicting weather forecasts
Ashwin Goyal
Product Manager @


Nowadays, data analysis is one of the most important factors for the success of any organization or individual. In data analysis, data preprocessing is one of the important processes. There are so many tools available on the internet for data preprocessing, but still, Excel is one of the most used applications. 

Data Preprocessing in Excel

In this blog, we will learn about data preprocessing in Excel. We will discuss how we can preprocess the data in Excel. We will see various steps that are required in preprocessing. Before moving forward, let us understand what Excel is.

What is Excel?

Nowadays, data is everything for an individual or an organization. Microsoft introduced a software called Excel. It is a spreadsheet software. We can use Excel for many tasks, such as data analysis, data visualization, and data management. 


Excel works on different kinds of operating systems(OSs) such as Windows, macOS, etc. It is one of the most used software if we talk about handling or performing some operations on data. 

It provides various features:

  • Provides various functions and formulas,
  • Data visualization,
  • Provides data import and export features,
  • Data Preprocessing,
  • Data Security and a lot more.

As we discussed, some of the features that are provided by Excel, and data preprocessing is one of the features of it. Let us understand what data preprocessing is.

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Data Preprocessing

Data preprocessing is a kind of process in data analysis. It is used to clean and transform raw data into useful information that can be used by computers. Before analyzing the data, we need to make sure that the data should be clean and useful. Data preprocessing helps to improve the quality of data, consistency of the data, and compatibility. 

Data Preprocessing helps in many ways:

  • It helps in eliminating errors.
  • It helps in handling the missing values.
  • It helps in removing duplicates.
  • It helps in standardizing formats.

Now you might have a doubt here about what the steps are in data preprocessing. Let us discuss them.

Steps in Data Preprocessing

There are several steps that are followed in doing data preprocessing:

Collection of the Data

In this step, we need to collect the raw data. We can collect this data from various sources such as spreadsheets, online repositories, etc.

Cleaning of the Data

In this step, we need to clean the data before using it. We have to identify and address data quality issues. Excel provides functions like Find and ReplaceText to Columns, and conditional formatting to clean the data.

Handling Missing Values

In this step, we need to handle the missing values. If a value is missing, it can create a major problem in transforming the data. We can identify and handle missing values using some functions:

  • IF

We can choose all those rows which are having missing values. We can also replace them with appropriate substitutes.

Removing Duplicates

In this step, we need to remove the duplicates from the data. Duplicates can lead us to skewed analysis results. Excel offers a simple way to remove duplicates. First, we need to select the data range and go to the Data tab. Then click on the Remove Duplicates button. Then we can choose the columns to check for duplicates. Excel will remove duplicate rows, keeping only unique values.

Standardizing Formats

In this step, we need to standardize the formats. Inconsistent data formats can create some challenges for us during analysis. That’s why Excel allows you to standardize formats. We can use the features of Excel like cell formatting, text functions (e.g., PROPER, UPPER, LOWER), and data validation rules.

Filtering and Sorting

In this step, we need to filter and sort the data. Excel's filtering and sorting capabilities help explore and organize large datasets. The Filter function allows you to display specific subsets of data based on criteria. Sorting data in ascending or descending order can be done using the Sort function.

Now, you might get confused here about how this all is happening. Don’t worry. Let us understand these steps with the help of an example.

Example of Data Preprocessing

Suppose we have data of our Ninjas in an Excel spreadsheet, and we want to do data preprocessing; for this, we need to follow the above steps:

Step 1: Data Collection

We have gathered the information about our Ninjas in an Excel spreadsheet.

data collection

Step 2: Data Cleaning

Now, we need to clean the data. Suppose we are using TRIM to remove irregular text spacing and keep single spaces between words.

data cleaning

This will produce the output:

output after trim

Now, we can do the same operation for every row to correct the spacing or we can scroll down the operational column.

trim operation for each row

Step 3: Handling Missing Values

Now, we have to check whether there are some missing values or not. For this, we can use ISBLANK.

handling missing values

This will give the following output after scrolling up to the last row.

ISBLANK on each row

So, we have to fill all those rows that are empty or use some proper substitutes. After filling them, we can move to our next step.

Step 4: Removing duplicates

Now, we have to remove all the duplicates that are present in a spreadsheet. So, we have to select all the data and go to the Data tab and find the Remove Duplicates button.

removing duplicates

After clicking on the button, we will see:

select all to remove duplicates

Now, click on the OK button. Then it will give you

no duplicate found

If you have duplicate values, it will give a message “duplicate values found and removed.”

Step 5: Standardizing formats

Now, we have to standardize the formats so that it cannot create a problem during analysis. Suppose we want to make sure Courses should be in capital letters only. For this, we can use UPPER.

Standardizing formats

This will give after scrolling up to the last row

changing courses to upper case

Step 6: Filtering and sorting

Now, we have to do filtering and sorting. We can do this after selecting a particular column we want to sort

Filtering and sorting

Let's sort this from smallest to largest.

sorting from smallest to largest

Now we have preprocessed data finally in Excel. Now, let us understand the advantages and disadvantages of data preprocessing in Excel.

Advantages of Data Preprocessing

There are several advantages of data preprocessing in Excel:

  • Excel provides a user-friendly interface so that we can easily do data preprocessing and other data analysis tasks.
  • Excel offers a wide range of functions and features that helps in different data preprocessing needs.
  • Excel is widely available, that’s why it is commonly used for data preprocessing.
  • Excel integrates well with other Microsoft Office applications, facilitating seamless data transfer and collaboration.

Disadvantages of Data Preprocessing

Along with the advantages, there are some disadvantages of data preprocessing in Excel:

  • Excel may not be suitable for handling large datasets.
  • Excel's analytical capabilities are robust but may not match those offered by specialized statistical or data analysis software.
  • Data preprocessing tasks in Excel often require manual execution.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you mean by data preprocessing in Excel?

Data preprocessing is a very crucial step in data analysis. In this process, the raw data is cleaned and transformed into a format. This format is used for data analysis and can be used by computers.

What is the way to remove duplicate values in Excel?

You can remove duplicate values in Excel by following some steps. Firstly, you need to select the range of data, and then you need to go to the Data tab and click on the Remove Duplicates button. Then finally, you need to select the columns for checking the duplicates.

Is it possible to filter and sort the data in Excel?

Yes, it is possible to filter and sort the data in Excel. There are two functions in Excel that you can use to filter and sort, i.e., Filter and Sort.

Can we handle outliers in Excel?

Excel provides tools like box plots and scatter plots to visualize data and identify outliers visually. Once identified, you can choose to remove the outliers or replace them with more appropriate values based on the context of the data. 


In this blog, we have discussed data preprocessing in Excel. We have also learned about how to preprocess the data. Data preprocessing is one of the critical steps in data analysis. Excel provides a powerful and accessible platform to do data preprocessing. If you want to explore more blogs like this, you can check out our other blogs:

We hope this blog helps you to get knowledge about data preprocessing in Excel. You can refer to our guided paths on the Codestudio platform. You can check our course to learn more about DSADBMSCompetitive ProgrammingPythonJavaJavaScript, etc. 

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