How to Create Drop-down Filter in Excel – Excel Drop-down Filter

  • Home
  • / How to Create Drop-down Filter in Excel – Excel Drop-down Filter

Have you ever used a drop-down filter in Excel?

Microsoft Excel has many features that work individually or mutually in combination with other features. Using Excel drop down filter makes you work faster. In a worksheet data, you may use a filter to narrow down or expand the data. Here you will get to know how to add drop down filter in Excel easily.

Significance of Excel Filter Drop Down List

In the world of spreadsheets, finding specific information can be akin to searching for a needle in a haystack. This is where drop-down filters wield their magic. They serve as gatekeepers, allowing users to swiftly narrow down data based on predefined criteria. Whether you’re managing inventory, analyzing sales figures, or scrutinizing survey responses, drop-down filters offer a streamlined approach to accessing pertinent information.

You can extract rows or columns of data with an Excel drop down list filter that usually returns the rows to a separate section in the worksheet. You have to be careful while executing this function, such as:

  • Make a unique list of items that are displayed in the drop-down list
  • Make the drop-down list to filter the data
  • Make the filter with helper columns having formulas to extract the data

 Make a Unique List of Items

You have to underline items that need to be in the drop-down list.

Now, copy and paste the list into another section on the sheet. Make sure to remove the duplicates when it is completed. Choose the list to be pasted and click on the Data option from the Ribbon and then open the Data Tools option. Now, open the Remove Duplicates option.

Press OK and click OK once again to remove the duplicates. Now, you have a unique list of the drop-downs.

Price banner Earn and Excel

Make the Excel Filter DropDown List 

You can make the drop-down list with filters.

For this, choose the cell that needed to be placed in the drop-down. Now, click on the Data option and choose the Data Tools, and then the Data Validation option.

When the Data Validation window opens, you need to select the List in the Allow drop-down and click on the Arrow next to the Source box option.

Choose a cell collection having unique values and press ENTER.

Press OK and close the Data Validation window.

Now, you can select items from the drop-down list.

Benefits of Excel Filter DropDown

  1. Efficiency: Drop down filters in Excel streamline the process of data retrieval, eliminating the need for manual sorting or complex formulas. With just a few clicks, users can isolate relevant data, saving precious time and effort.
  2. Precision: By enabling users to specify criteria, drop down filter Excel ensures precision in data extraction. Whether it’s filtering by category, date range, or any other parameter, users can tailor their selections to exact specifications.
  3. Clarity: Filtering data using drop-down menus enhances clarity by decluttering the spreadsheet and focusing attention on relevant information. This clarity aids in decision-making, analysis, and presentation of insights.
  4. Interactivity: Dropdown filter Excel enhances the interactivity of Excel spreadsheets, allowing users to dynamically explore data without altering the underlying dataset. This interactive element fosters exploration and experimentation, empowering users to uncover valuable insights.

Make Helper Columns and Formulas to Extract the Data

Now, you have to make “helper” columns in the data. For this, add three columns to the right-hand side of the data table and you can name them Helper 1, Helper 2, and Helper 3.

In the Helper column 1, click on the first cell and add in the ROWS formula given below:


Now, copy the formula and put it in the other rows available in the helper column.

Using this formula, every row will be assigned a number that begins from the first data row of the data table. Also, make sure it does not match the row numbers.

In the Helper column 2, choose the first cell and add this formula:


Now, repeat the same procedure as above and copy the formula in all other rows of the helper column.

Using this formula, you can see the row number from the Helper 1 column in case the given value in the list is equal to the value in the same row in column C.

In the Helper 3 column, now choose the first cell and enter the following formula with the IFERROR and SMALL Functions:


Once again repeat the procedure and copy the formula to all the other rows available in the helper column.

Using this formula, you can return the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, etc numbers given in the Helper 2 column on the basis of the row number in the Helper 1 column.

Now, the helper columns are made you need to make a formula in the filter result table. Choose the first cell and enter the following formula with the IFFERROR, INDEX, and COLUMN Function:


Repeat the procedure and copy the formula in all the other cells.

Based on the selected value, the filter results will show results. In the dataset that we have been using in this article, a list of product orders and filtered orders when the product is in the drop-down list is selected.

Now, you are free to make changes in the drop-down list according to your choice.

Your worksheet could be more attractive while being protective in the helper columns. For this right-click on the column and choose the Hide option.

Considerations While Creating a Drop Down Filter to Extract Data Based on Selection

  1. Data Consistency: Ensure consistency in data formatting to avoid discrepancies in filter results. Consistent formatting facilitates accurate filtering and prevents unintended omissions or inclusions.
  2. Dropdown Menu Design: Design dropdown menus with clarity and intuitiveness in mind. Use descriptive labels and organize options logically to aid users in selecting the desired criteria effortlessly.
  3. Data Validation: Implement data validation to restrict dropdown menu options to predefined values or ranges. This prevents input errors and ensures that filtering criteria align with the dataset.
  4. Performance: Consider the performance impact of applying multiple filters, especially with large datasets. Excessive filtering may slow down spreadsheet performance, necessitating optimization strategies such as indexing key columns.
  5. Accessibility: Ensure accessibility by making dropdown filter in Excel compatible with screen readers and keyboard navigation. Design filters with inclusivity in mind to accommodate users with diverse needs.


In the ever-expanding universe of Excel functionalities, Excel dropdown filters shine as indispensable tools for data refinement and analysis. By harnessing their power, users can unlock the full potential of their datasets, transforming raw information into actionable insights with unparalleled efficiency and precision.

So, let the Excel filter by drop down list menus descend, and may your data journey be filled with clarity, insight, and discovery.

Price banner Earn and Excel



Write your comment Here