Often you may want to generate unique identifiers for values in a dataset in Excel.

The following example shows exactly how to do so.

**Example: Generate Unique Identifiers in Excel**

Suppose we have the following list of basketball team names in Excel:

Suppose we would like to create a unique identifier value for each team.

To do so, we can choose the first unique identifier to be any value we’d like.

For example, we could use the value **1** for the first team:

Next, we can type the following formula into cell **B3**:

=IF(ISNA(MATCH(A3,A2:$A$2,0)),MAX(B2:$B$2)+1,VLOOKUP(A3,A2:$B$2,2,FALSE))

We can then click and drag this formula down to each remaining cell in column B:

Column B now contains a unique ID value for each team.

For example, we can see:

- Each team with the name “Mavs” has an ID value of
**1** - Each team with the name “Lakers” has an ID value of
**2** - Each team with the name “Hawks” has an ID value of
**3**

And so on.

If you would instead like to be able to differentiate between the players on the same team, you could type the following formula into cell **B2** to generate a unique ID that contains the first three letters of the team name along with a numeric value to indicate the occurrence of the team:

=LEFT(A2,3)&"-"&COUNTIF($A$2:A2,A2)*1

You can then click and drag this formula down to each remaining cell in column B:

Column B now contains a unique ID for each row.

**Additional Resources**

The following tutorials explain how to perform other common tasks in Excel:

Excel: How to Count Unique Names

Excel: How to Count Unique Values by Group

Excel: How to Count Unique Values Based on Multiple Criteria