The tutorial explains the basics of Excel's Advanced Filter and shows how to use it to find the records that meet one or more complex criteria.
If you had a chance to read our previous tutorial, you know that Excel Filter provides a variety of options for different data types. Those inbuilt filtering options for text, numbers, and dates can handle many scenarios. Many, but not all! When a regular AutoFilter can't do what you want, use the Advanced Filter tool and configure the criteria exactly suited to your needs.
Excel's Advanced Filter is really helpful when it comes to finding data that meets two or more complex criteria such as extracting matches and differences between two columns, filtering rows that match items in another list, finding exact matches including uppercase and lowercase characters, and more.
Advanced Filter is available in all versions of Excel 365 - 2003. Please click on the links below to learn more.
Compared to the basic AutoFilter tool, Advanced Filter works differently in a couple of important ways.
Advanced Filter cannot be applied automatically since it has no pre-defined setup, it requires configuring the list range and criteria range manually.
Using Advanced Filter, you can find rows that meet multiple criteria in multiple columns, and the advanced criteria need to be entered in a separate range on your worksheet.
Below you will find the detailed guidance on how to use Advanced Filter in Excel as well as some useful examples of advanced filters for text and numeric values.
Using Excel Advanced Filter is not as easy as applying AutoFilter (as is the case with many "advanced" things :) but it's definitely worth the effort. To create an advanced filter for your sheet, perform the following steps.
For better results, arrange your data set following these 2 simple rules:
For example, here's how our sample table looks like:
Type your conditions, aka criteria, in a separate range on the worksheet. In theory, the criteria range can reside anywhere in the sheet. In practice, it's more convenient to place it at the top and separate from the data set with one or more blank rows.
Advanced criteria notes:
For example, to filter records for the North region whose Sub-total is greater than or equal to 900, set up the following criteria range:
For the detailed information about the comparison operators, wildcards and formulas that you can use in your criteria, please see Advanced Filter criteria range.
In the criteria range in place, apply an advanced filter in this way:
In Excel 2003, click the Data menu, point to Filter, and then click Advanced Filter….
The Excel Advanced Filter dialog box will appear and you set it up as explained below.
In the Excel Advanced Filter dialog window, specify the following parameters:
Selecting "Filter the list in place" will hide the rows that don't match your criteria.
If you choose "Copy the results to another location", select the upper-left cell of the range where you want to paste the filtered rows. Make sure the destination range has no data anywhere in the columns because all cells below the copied range will be cleared.
If you've selected any cell in your data set before clicking the Advanced button, Excel will pick the entire list range automatically. If Excel got the list range wrong, click the Collapse Dialog icon to the immediate right of the List Range box, and select the desired range using the mouse.
In addition, the check box in the lower-left corner of the Advanced Filter dialog window lets you display unique records only. For instance, this option can help you extract all different (distinct) items in a column.
In this example, we are filtering the list in place, so configure the Excel Advanced Filter parameters in this way:
Finally, click OK, and you will get the following result:
This is great… but the same result can actually be achieved with the normal Excel AutoFilter, right? Anyway, please don't hurry to leave this page, because we have only scratched the surface so you've got the basic idea of how Excel Advanced Filter works. Further on in the article, you will find a few examples that can only be done with advanced filter. To make things easier for you to follow, let's learn more about the Advanced Filter criteria first.
As you have just seen, there is no rocket science in using Advanced Filter in Excel. But once you learn the nitty-gritty details of the Advanced Filter criteria, your options will be almost unlimited!
In the Advanced Filter criteria, you can compare different numeric values using the following comparison operators.
|>=||Greater than or equal to||A1>=B1|
|<=||Less than or equal to||A1<=B1|
|<>||Not equal to||A1<>B1|
The usage of comparison operators with numbers is obvious. In the above example, we already used the numeric criteria >=900 to filter records with Subtotal greater than or equal to 900.
And here's another example. Supposing you want to display the North region records for the month of July with Amount greater than 800. For this, specify the following conditions in the criteria range:
And now, run the Excel Advanced Filter tool, specify the List range (A4:D50) and Criteria range (A2:D2) and you will get the following result:
Note. Regardless of the date format used in your worksheet, you should always specify the full date in the Advanced Filter criteria range in the format that Excel can understand, like 7/1/2016 or 1-Jul-2016.
Apart from numbers and dates, you can also use the logical operators to compare text values. The rules are defined in the table below.
||Filter cells whose values are exactly equal to "text".|
||Filter cells whose contents begin with "text".|
||Filter cells whose values are not exactly equal to "text" (cells containing "text" as part of their contents will be included in the filter).|
||Filter cells whose values are alphabetically ordered after "text".|
||Filter cells whose values are alphabetically ordered before "text".|
As you see, creating an advanced filter for text values has a number of specificities, so let's elaborate more on this.
To display only those cells that are exactly equal to a specific text or character, include the equal sign in the criteria.
For instance, to filter only Banana items, use the following criteria: ="=banana". Microsoft Excel will display the criteria as =banana in a cell, but you can view the entire expression in the formula bar:
As you can see in the screenshot above, the criteria ="=banana" shows only the Banana records with Sub-total greater than or equal to 900, ignoring Green banana and Goldfinger banana.
Note. When filtering numeric values that are exactly equal to a given value, you may or may not use the equal sign in the criteria. For instance, to filter records with subtotal equal to 900, you can utilize any of the following Sub-total criteria: ="=900", =900 or simply 900.
To display all cells whose contents begin with a specified text, just type that text in the criteria range without the equal sign or double quotes.
For example, to filter all "green" items with subtotal greater than or equal to 900, use the following criteria:
To filter text records with partial match, you can use the following wildcard characters in the Advanced Filter criteria:
The following table provides a few criteria range examples with wildcards.
||Filter cells that contain "text".||*banana* finds all cells containing the word "banana", e.g. "green bananas".|
||Filter cells whose contents begin with any two characters, followed by "text".||??banana finds cells containing the word "banana" preceded with any 2 characters, like "1#banana" or "//banana".|
||Filter cells that begin with "text" AND contain a second occurrence of "text" anywhere in the cell.||banana*banana finds cells that begin with the word "banana" and contain another occurrence of "banana" further in the text, e.g. "banana green vs. banana yellow".|
||Filter cells that begin with AND end with "text".||="=banana*banana" finds cells that begin and end with the word "banana", e.g. "banana, tasty banana".|
||Filter cells that begin with "text1", end with "text2", and contain exactly one character in between.||="=banana?orange" finds cells that begin the word "banana", end with the word "orange" and contain any single character in between, e.g. "banana/orange" or "banana*orange".|
||Filter cells that begin with "text", followed by *, followed by any other character(s).||banana~** finds cells that begin with "banana" followed by asterisk, followed any other text, like "banana*green" or "banana*yellow".|
||Filters cells with text values that contain exactly 5 characters.||="=?????" finds cells with any text containing exactly 5 characters, like "apple" or "lemon".|
And here is the simplest wildcard criteria in action (*banana*), which finds all cells containing the word "banana":
To create an advanced filter with more complex conditions, you can use one or more Excel functions in the criteria range. For the formula-based criteria to work correctly, please follow these rules:
For example, to filter rows where August sales (column C) are greater than July sales (column D), use the criteria =D5>C5, where 5 is the first row of data:
Note. If your criteria includes just one formula like in this example, be sure to include at least 2 cells in the criteria range (formula cell and heading cell).
For more complex examples of multiple criteria based on formulas, please see How to use Advanced Filter in Excel - criteria range examples.
As already mentioned in the beginning of this tutorial, Excel Advanced filter can work with AND as well as OR logic depending on how you set up the criteria range:
To make things easier to understand, consider the following examples.
To display records with Sub-total >=900 AND Average >=350, define both criteria on the same row:
To display records with Sub-total >=900 OR Average >=350, place each condition on a separate row:
To display records for the North region with Sub-total greater than or equal to 900 OR Average greater than or equal to 350, set up the criteria range in this way:
To put it differently, the criteria range in this example translates to the following condition:
(Region=North AND Sub-total>=900) OR (Region=North AND Average >=350)
Note. The source table in this example contains only four regions: North, South, East and West, therefore we can safely use North in the criteria range. If there were any other regions containing the word "north" like Northwest or Northeast, then we would use the exact match criteria:
When configuring Advanced Filter so that it copies the results to another location, you can specify which columns to extract.
For instance, to copy the data summary such as Region, Item and Sub-total based on the specified criteria range type the 3 column labels in cells H1:J1 (please see the screenshot below).
As the result, Excel has filtered the rows according to the conditions listed in the criteria range (North region items with Sub-total >=900), and copied the 3 columns to the specified location:
If you open the Advanced Filter tool in the worksheet containing your original data, choose "Copy to another location" option, and select the Copy to range in another sheet, you would end up with the following error message: "You can only copy filtered data to the active sheet".
However, there is a way to copy filtered rows to another worksheet, and you have already got the clue - just start Advanced Filter from the destination sheet, so that it will be your active sheet.
Supposing, your original table is in Sheet1, and you want to copy the filtered data to Sheet2. Here's a super simple way to get it done:
In this example, we are extracting 4 columns to Sheet2, so we typed the corresponding column headings exactly as they appear in Sheet1, and selected the range containing the headings (A1:D1) in the Copy to box:
Basically, this is how you use the Advanced Filter in Excel. In the next tutorial, we will have a closer look at more complex criteria range examples with formulas, so please stay tuned!
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