When you’re working with lists of data in a spreadsheet, it’s often useful to filter by certain values. This is very easy to do, and helps you analyze data faster. Let’s learn how to filter in Microsoft Excel.
How to Filter in Excel
Consider a list of cities and states. Cities are grouped in one column, and states are grouped in an adjacent column. Imagine that you quickly want to generate a list of cities in Florida only. This is where Excel’s filtering features can help.
To filter, begin by clicking into any of the cells in the top row of the list. These are column headers, and they represent what you want to filter the data by.
Then, go to the Home tab on Excel’s ribbon. Over on the right side of the menu bar, you’ll see the Sort & Filter dropdown. Go ahead and click on it, then choose Filter.
You’ll see dropdown arrows appear in the row that you have selected. To filter by state, click on the dropdown in cell E1. You’ll have some options here. You can specify whether to sort in ascending or descending order, for example.
By default, all variables are selected. Click the box beside Select All, and then click beside the appropriate state that you want to filter by.
Your list will transform, showing only Florida cities. Keep in mind, the other data is merely hidden, not deleted.
To remove the filter, simply click on the dropdown again and choose Clear Filter.
You can also turn filters off entirely by returning to the Sort & Filter dropdown, and unchecking Filter.
As you can see, filters are a quick and easy way to sort datasets in Microsoft Excel. Try them any time you need to group values together in an easy-to-read style.