How to Add Filter and Sort In Excel

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How to Add Filter and Sort In Excel

Excel is a powerful tool for managing and analyzing data. One of the key features that make Excel so useful is its ability to filter and sort data efficiently.Filtering allows you to display only the rows that meet certain criteria, while sorting enables you to arrange data in a specific order.In this article, we will walk through the significance of filtering and sorting in Excel, and provide a detailed, step-by-step guide on how to add filter and sort in excel.

Significance of Filtering and Sorting in Excel

  1. Improved Data Analysis:

Filtering and sorting are essential for data analysis as they help you focus on specific subsets of data. This can reveal trends, patterns, and outliers that might not be immediately apparent in an unorganized dataset.

  1. Enhanced Data Management:

Large datasets can be overwhelming and hard to navigate. Sorting helps in organizing data systematically, while filtering allows you to narrow down the data to the most relevant entries, making it easier to manage.

  1. Time Efficiency:

Instead of manually searching through data, filtering and sorting enable quick access to specific information, saving valuable time.

  1. Accuracy in Reporting:

By sorting and filtering data, you can ensure that your reports and analyses are based on accurate and relevant data, leading to better decision-making.

Step-by-Step Guide to Adding Filters in Excel

  1. Applying a Filter

Step 1: Select the Data Range

Click on any cell within the range of data you want to filter. Alternatively, if you want to filter the entire sheet, select the whole sheet by clicking the triangle in the top-left corner.

Step 2: Enable Filters

Go to the “Data” tab on the Ribbon.

Click on the “Filter” button in the “Sort & Filter” group. This will add drop-down arrows to the header of each column in your selected range.

Step 3: Use the Drop-down Arrows

Click on the drop-down arrow in the column you want to filter.

A menu will appear with filter options.

Step 4: Choose Filter Criteria

Select the criteria by which you want to filter your data. You can filter by values, color, or custom criteria.

For example, to filter for rows that contain a specific text, you can choose “Text Filters” and then select an appropriate condition like “Contains” or “Begins With.”

Step 5: Apply the Filter

After selecting your criteria, click “OK.” Excel will hide rows that do not meet the criteria, showing only the filtered data.

  1. Customizing Filters

Step 1: Filter by Text, Number, or Date

Excel allows specific filters for text, numbers, and dates. For text, you can filter using conditions like “Equals,” “Contains,” “Begins With,” etc.

For numbers, you can filter using conditions like “Greater Than,” “Less Than,” “Between,” etc.

For dates, you can filter using conditions like “Before,” “After,” “Between,” etc.

Step 2: Filter by Cell Color or Font Color

Click the filter drop-down arrow.

Choose “Filter by Color,” and then select either “Cell Color” or “Font Color.”

Choose the color by which you want to filter your data.

Step-by-Step Guide to Sorting in Excel

  1. Basic Sorting

Step 1: Select the Data Range

Highlight the range of data you want to sort. Ensure the range includes column headers.

Step 2: Access the Sort Function

Go to the “Data” tab on the Ribbon.

Click on the “Sort A to Z” button for an ascending sort or “Sort Z to A” button for a descending sort. Excel will sort the selected column in the chosen order.

Step 3: Sort by Multiple Columns

Click on the “Sort” button to open the Sort dialog box.

In the “Sort by” dropdown, select the first column by which you want to sort.

Click “Add Level” to add another column to sort by.

Select the next column and choose the sort order. Repeat as necessary for additional columns.

Click “OK” to apply the sort.

  1. Custom Sorting

Step 1: Open the Sort Dialog Box

Go to the “Data” tab.

Click on the “Sort” button to open the Sort dialog box.

Step2: Specify Sort Order

In the “Sort by” dropdown, select the column you want to sort.

In the “Sort On” dropdown, choose to sort by “Values,” “Cell Color,” “Font Color,” or “Cell Icon.”

In the “Order” dropdown, specify the order (e.g., A to Z, Z to A, Custom List).

Step 3: Add More Levels

Click “Add Level” to sort by additional columns.

Specify the sort criteria for each level.

Click “OK” to apply the sort.

Practical Examples

Example 1: Sorting Sales Data

Suppose you have a sales dataset with columns for “Date,” “Salesperson,” “Product,” and “Sales Amount.” You can sort this data to see the highest sales first:

Select the data range.

Go to “Data” > “Sort.”

Choose “Sales Amount” in the “Sort by” dropdown and select “Largest to Smallest.”

Click “OK.”

Example 2: Filtering Customer Feedback

You have a feedback dataset with columns for “Customer Name,” “Date,” “Feedback,” and “Rating.” To view only positive feedback:

Select the data range.

Click on the filter drop-down arrow in the “Rating” column.

Select only the positive ratings (e.g., 4 and 5 stars).

Click “OK.”

Tips and Best Practices

  1. Ensure Data Consistency:

Make sure the data in each column is consistent (e.g., all dates in the date column, all numbers in the number column). This helps in accurate filtering and sorting.

  1. Use Named Ranges:

For large datasets, consider using named ranges. This makes it easier to apply filters and sorts.

  1. Clear Filters and Sorts:

To clear a filter, go to the “Data” tab and click the “Clear” button in the “Sort & Filter” group. To clear sorting, reapply the default sort order.

  1. Save Your Work:

Always save your work before applying complex filters or sorts, especially if you are dealing with large datasets, to avoid losing data.

  1. Use Subtotals and PivotTables:

For advanced data analysis, consider using Subtotals and PivotTables, which allow for more complex sorting and filtering operations.


  • Filtering and sorting are fundamental features in Excel that enhance data analysis and management. By mastering these tools, you can efficiently organize, analyze, and draw insights from your data.
  • Whether you are managing a small list or a large dataset, understanding how to filter and sort in Excel is an invaluable skill. With this guide, you are now equipped to apply these techniques and improve your productivity and accuracy in handling data in Excel.

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