Filtering Data

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 18, 2014)

Filtering information in a spreadsheet means to limit what is shown based upon whatever criteria you desire. You provide the criteria you want used by the filter, and then Sheets displays only those rows of the spreadsheet that match the criteria. Filtering is especially useful if you have a large list and you want to work with only a subset of the records in the list.

Fortunately, Sheets makes it very easy to filter your data. All you need to do is make sure you have a cell in the data selected, and then click the Filter tool on the toolbar. (The Filter tool looks like a funnel; it is located near the right side of the toolbar.) Sheets adds drop-down arrows at the right of the first cell in each column of your data. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Turning on filtering add drop-down arrows to the first row of data.

If you click on one of these pull-down arrows, Excel displays various criteria by which you can filter the data. The options presented depend on the characteristics of the data in the column. If you modify the criteria, Sheets adjusts the rows displayed and changes the drop-down arrow to a green funnel. (This lets you easily see that a filter has been applied in that column.) (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. If a filter is applied, the drop-down arrow turns to a green funnel.

The easiest way to get rid of filtering (so you can see all of the data instead of a subset) is to once again click the Filter tool on the toolbar. The drop-down arrows are removed and your data is fully displayed.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Ignoring Other Applications

Do you want Excel to ignore other applications that may be running on your computer? You can configure the program to do ...

Discover More

Using Text Boxes

Text boxes are handy for placing information in a container that can "float" over your worksheet. This tip explains what ...

Discover More

Flush Left and Flush Right On the Same Line

Need to have some text at the left margin and some at the right, all on the same line? It's easy to do if you use your ...

Discover More
More DriveTips

Adding Stock Information

Adding stock information to a spreadsheet is a common need. Rather than enter information manually, why not let Sheets ...

Discover More

Creating a Named Range

Named ranges can be a great boon in creating easily understandable formulas. Here's what they are an how to define them.

Discover More

Adding Borders

Adding borders to a cell (or range of cells) is a common way to draw attention to the cell contents. Sheets provides a ...

Discover More
Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is seven more than 3?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)