Excel is adding a a number to the end of duplicate column headings

New Contributor

Excel is adding a a number to the end of duplicated column headings.  I have years in several columns then have to repeat them.  When I repeat them, Excel is automatically adding a "2" to the end of the year. 




2 Replies
best response confirmed by Janet63 (New Contributor)



Yes. It will do that. Excel does that for a reason: so that there's clarity, rather than confusion, on what the column contains.


Now, I'll grant that 2018 vs 20182 doesn't really offer clarity, but it does differentiate. And differentiating is what you should be doing.


So let's back up to an earlier stage here: what is the nature of the information that you're going to be tracking in the rows underneath these various column headings? What Excel is (awkwardly) prompting you to do is to think about the fundamental design of your database. And that's where we should begin.

  • What kind of data are you tracking? (i.e., what's the input involved here?)
  • What kind of output/report/analysis are you going to be doing with that data?


I have a label in the three merged cells above each "group" of years and that is where I differentiate between the groups. So the first group of 2018, 2019, and 2020 has a label in a merged cell above it called "Employment" and another label called "Sales" above the next group of 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Excel didn't used to include that additional number automatically so I presume it is a new (but slightly annoying) feature.

If I can't get around it then I will adjust each individual label to reflect something like "2018 Employment" versus "2018 Sales". Excel will then see them as distinctly different. Thank you. Janet