How to Use AutoFilter in MS Excel and get the Data you Really Need


When your spreadsheet overflows with data and all you need are a few specific lines based on some criteria, it would be so helpful to actively filter the content quickly. With Excel, you can use the AutoFilter feature to choose the columns and the criteria to filter on. The types of filters available depends on the cell formatting for the table, but either way it is as easy as clicking the checkbox for the data that you need! Magically, the irrelevant rows just disappear from sight. Do not worry though, as your data is still accessible by removing your filter!



As you can see from the table below, all you need to do to apply filters to your data is highlight the relevant data using your cursor and then click on the filter button in the top menu bar. You’ll see that each of your column headers will have an arrowed button appear next to them.


Getting Data image 1



Once the arrow has appeared, click on it and a drop-down menu will appear with a selection of filters and options that you can apply to your data. You’ll see that some of the commands from the top menu (such as sort A-Z) are duplicated within this drop-down. It’s also worth noting that, depending on whether your column contains numerical or text data, you’ll see a few different options within the drop-down.


Getting data image 2



Each of the above filters will allow you to highlight the data you’re looking for at the touch of a button with pre-determined functions. If, however, you’re looking to delve a bit deeper you can create a custom filter and apply more than one the above criteria to your data.



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To find out more about filters in Excel take a look at the online Excel Course from Skillsology. Available for £49.