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Excel Filter | Microsoft Excel XP

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Learn step-by-step how to use the Excel AutoFilter command. Also learn how to use the Advanced Filter to suit your every needs. Learn to do an Excel filter the easy way.

You can stare at you data for hours on end and still gain nothing for your time.

Spreadsheet data is often not much good unless you can analyze it. If you're familiar with some of the actions that you can perform on a database, managing and analyzing your data in Excel is within your grasp.

And even if you've never even heard of a database, you can still Excel filter lists to your heart's content.

Excel Office Helper What's on this page...
Using AutoFilter
Using Custom AutoFilter
Using Advanced Filter
Using criteria for text

Using criteria for values

You can store information of just about any type in a list.

If you're familiar with the concept of a database table, you'll recognize that a list has many similarities:

Columns correspond to fields.
Rows correspond to records.
The first row of the table should have field names that describe the data in each column.

Using AutoFilter

AutoFilter lets you view only certain rows in your list by hiding rows that do not qualify based on criteria you set. 

To AutoFilter a list, follow these steps:

1. Move the cell pointer anywhere within the list.
2. Choose the Data Filter AutoFilter from the menu bar.

Excel analyzes your list and then adds drop-down arrows to the field names in the header row.
  Excel Filter: AutoFilter example 1
3. Click the arrow on one of these drop-down lists.

The list expands to show the unique items in that column.
  Excel Filter: AutoFilter example 2
  The drop-down list includes five other items:
  ► ALL
Displays all items in the column. Use this to remove filtering for a column.
  ► TOP 10
Filters to display the "top 10" items in the list. Actually, you can display any number of the top (or bottom) values.
Lets you filter the list by multiple items.
Filters the list by showing only rows that contain blank cells in this column.
Filters the list by showing only rows that contain non-blank cells in this column.

Excel hides all rows except those that include the selected item. In other words, the item that you selected filters the list.

Excel Office Helper After you filter the list, the status bar displays a message that tells you how many rows qualified.

In addition, the drop-down arrow changes color to remind you that the list is filtered by a value in that column.

To display the entire list again, select DataFilterShow All from the menu bar.


Choose "All" from the drop-down arrow which has changed color.

Excel Office Helper To get out of the AutoFilter mode and remove the drop-down arrows from the field names,
choose Data ►Filter ►AutoFilter from the menu bar again.
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See also... Using Custom AutoFilter | Using Advanced Filter
Using Criteria for Text | Using Criteria for Values
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