Filtering Data

Filtering in Excel lets you temporarily hide unwanted data. Use filters in Excel to narrow down data in your Excel spreadsheet.

Introduction

If your worksheet contains a lot of content, it can be difficult to find information quickly. Filters can be used to narrow down the data in your worksheet, allowing you to view only the information you need.

Optional: Download our practice workbook.

Watch the video below to learn more about filtering data in Excel.

To filter data:

In our example, we'll apply a filter to an equipment log worksheet to display only the laptops and projectors that are available for checkout.

  1. In order for filtering to work correctly, your worksheet should include a header row, which is used to identify the name of each column. In our example, our worksheet is organized into different columns identified by the header cells in row 1: ID#, Type, Equipment Detail, and so on.
    The header row in a spreadsheet
  2. Select the Data tab, then click the Filter command.
    The Filter button on the Data tab
  3. A drop-down arrow will appear in the header cell for each column.
  4. Click the drop-down arrow for the column you want to filter. In our example, we will filter column B to view only certain types of equipment.
    Dropdown arrows in the header row
  5. The Filter menu will appear.
  6. Uncheck the box next to Select All to quickly deselect all data.
    The dropdown menu for sorting and filtering
  7. Check the boxes next to the data you want to filter, then click OK. In this example, we will check Laptop and Projector to view only these types of equipment.
    Selecting filter categories
  8. The data will be filtered, temporarily hiding any content that doesn't match the criteria. In our example, only laptops and tablets are visible.
    The worksheet is now filtered

Filtering options can also be accessed from the Sort & Filter command on the Home tab.

The Filter menu on the Home tab

To apply multiple filters:

Filters are cumulative, which means you can apply multiple filters to help narrow down your results. In this example, we've already filtered our worksheet to show laptops and projectors, and we'd like to narrow it down further to only show laptops and projectors that were checked out in August.

  1. Click the drop-down arrow for the column you want to filter. In this example, we will add a filter to column D to view information by date.
    Dropdown arrows in the header row
  2. The Filter menu will appear.
  3. Check or uncheck the boxes depending on the data you want to filter, then click OK. In our example, we'll uncheck everything except for August.
    The dropdown menu for sorting and filtering
  4. The new filter will be applied. In our example, the worksheet is now filtered to show only laptops and tablets that were checked out in August.
    The worksheet now has two filters

To clear a filter:

After applying a filter, you may want to remove—or clear—it from your worksheet so you'll be able to filter content in different ways.

  1. Click the drop-down arrow for the filter you want to clear. In our example, we'll clear the filter in column D.
    The dropdown button for the filter applied in this column
  2. The Filter menu will appear.
  3. Choose Clear Filter From [COLUMN NAME] from the Filter menu. In our example, we'll select Clear Filter From "Checked Out".
    The Clear Filter menu option
  4. The filter will be cleared from the column. The previously hidden data will be displayed.
    The filter has been cleared

To remove all filters from your worksheet, click the Filter command on the Data tab.

The Filter button on the Data tab

Advanced filtering

If you need a filter for something specific, basic filtering may not give you enough options. Fortunately, Excel includes many advanced filtering tools, including search, text, date, and number filtering, which can narrow your results to help find exactly what you need.

To filter with search:

Excel allows you to search for data that contains an exact phrase, number, date, and more. In our example, we'll use this feature to show only Saris brand products in our equipment log.

  1. Select the Data tab, then click the Filter command. A drop-down arrow will appear in the header cell for each column. Note: If you've already added filters to your worksheet, you can skip this step.
  2. Click the drop-down arrow for the column you want to filter. In our example, we'll filter column C.
    Dropdown arrows in the header row
  3. The Filter menu will appear. Enter a search term into the search box. Search results will appear automatically below the Text Filters field as you type. In our example, we'll type saris to find all Saris brand equipment. When you're done, click OK.
    Applying a search filter
  4. The worksheet will be filtered according to your search term. In our example, the worksheet is now filtered to show only Saris brand equipment.
    The search filter has been applied to the worksheet

To use advanced text filters:

Advanced text filters can be used to display more specific information, like cells that contain a certain number of characters or data that excludes a specific word or number. In our example, we'd like to exclude any item containing the word laptop.

  1. Select the Data tab, then click the Filter command. A drop-down arrow will appear in the header cell for each column. Note: If you've already added filters to your worksheet, you can skip this step.
  2. Click the drop-down arrow for the column you want to filter. In our example, we'll filter column C.
    Dropdown arrows in the header row
  3. The Filter menu will appear. Hover the mouse over Text Filters, then select the desired text filter from the drop-down menu. In our example, we'll choose Does Not Contain to view data that does not contain specific text.
    Adding a custom filter in the dropdown menu
  4. The Custom AutoFilter dialog box will appear. Enter the desired text to the right of the filter, then click OK. In our example, we'll type laptop to exclude any items containing this word.
    The custom filter dialog box
  5. The data will be filtered by the selected text filter. In our example, our worksheet now displays items that do not contain the word laptop.
    The custom filter has been applied to the worksheet

To use advanced number filters:

Advanced number filters allow you to manipulate numbered data in different ways. In this example, we'll display only certain types of equipment based on the range of ID numbers.

  1. Select the Data tab on the Ribbon, then click the Filter command. A drop-down arrow will appear in the header cell for each column. Note: If you've already added filters to your worksheet, you can skip this step.
  2. Click the drop-down arrow for the column you want to filter. In our example, we'll filter column A to view only a certain range of ID numbers.
    Dropdown arrows in the header row
  3. The Filter menu will appear. Hover the mouse over Number Filters, then select the desired number filter from the drop-down menu. In our example, we'll choose Between to view ID numbers between a specific number range.
    Adding a number filter in the dropdown menu
  4. The Custom AutoFilter dialog box will appear. Enter the desired number(s) to the right of each filter, then click OK. In our example, we want to filter for ID numbers greater than or equal to 3000 but less than or equal to 6000, which will display ID numbers in the 3000-6000 range.
    The number filter dialog box
  5. The data will be filtered by the selected number filter. In our example, only items with an ID number between 3000 and 6000 are visible.
    The number filter has been applied to the worksheet

To use advanced date filters:

Advanced date filters can be used to view information from a certain time period, such as last year, next quarter, or between two dates. In this example, we'll use advanced date filters to view only equipment that has been checked out between July 15 and August 15.

  1. Select the Data tab, then click the Filter command. A drop-down arrow will appear in the header cell for each column. Note: If you've already added filters to your worksheet, you can skip this step.
  2. Click the drop-down arrow for the column you want to filter. In our example, we'll filter column D to view only a certain range of dates.
    Dropdown arrows in the header row
  3. The Filter menu will appear. Hover the mouse over Date Filters, then select the desired date filter from the drop-down menu. In our example, we'll select Between to view equipment that has been checked out between July 15 and August 15.
    Adding a date filter in the dropdown menu
  4. The Custom AutoFilter dialog box will appear. Enter the desired date(s) to the right of each filter, then click OK. In our example, we want to filter for dates after or equal to July 15, 2015, and before or equal to August 15, 2015, which will display a range between these dates.
    The date filter dialog box
  5. The worksheet will be filtered by the selected date filter. In our example, we can now see which items have been checked out between July 15 and August 15.
    The date filter has been applied to the worksheet

Challenge!

  1. Open our practice workbook.
  2. Click the Challenge tab in the bottom-left of the workbook.
  3. Apply a filter to show only Electronics and Instruments.
  4. Use the Search feature to filter item descriptions that contain the word Sansei. After you do this, you should have six entries showing.
  5. Clear the Item Description filter.
  6. Using a number filter, show loan amounts greater than or equal to $100.
  7. Filter to show only items that have deadlines in 2016.
  8. When you're finished, your workbook should look like this:

    Filtering Challenge