Filter by condition in Google Sheets and work with filters in shared documents

Alexander Trifuntov by , updated on

Filtering huge tables helps focus your attention on the most needed information. Today I'd like to discuss with you the ways of adding filters by condition, even applying a few of them to your data at once. I will also explain why the Google Sheets filter is so useful and important when you work within a shared document.

Filter by condition in Google Sheets

Let's start by applying a basic filter to the Google sheet. If you don't know or don't remember how to do that, please check my previous blog post.

When the corresponding icons are there on column headers, click the one that belongs to the column you want to work with and choose Filter by condition. An additional option field will appear, with the word "None" in it.

Click on it, and you'll see the list of all conditions available to filter in Google Sheets. If none of the existing conditions meets your needs, you're free to create your own one by choosing Custom formula is from the list: All conditions to filter your Google sheet.

Let's look through them together, shall we?

Is not empty

If cells contain numeric values and/or text strings, logical expressions, or any other data including spaces ( ) or empty strings (""), the rows with such cells will be displayed.

You can get the same result using the following formula when selecting the Custom formula is option:


Is empty

This option is completely opposite to the previous one. Only cells that don't have any contents in them will be displayed. Others will be filtered out by Google Sheets.

You can also use this formula:


Text contains

This option shows rows where cells contain specific characters – numeric and/or textual. It doesn't matter whether they are at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of a cell.

You can use wildcard characters to find some specific symbols in different positions within a cell. Asterisk (*) is used to substitute any number of characters while a question mark (?) replaces a single symbol: Use wildcard characters to filter by text.

As you can see, you can achieve the same result by entering various wildcard char combos.

The following formula will also help:


Text does not contain

I believe you already understand that the conditions here can be the same as in the point above, but the result will be the opposite. The value you enter will be filtered out from the Google Sheets view.

As for the custom formula, it can look as follows:


Text starts with

For this condition, enter the first character(s) (one or more) of the value of interest.

Note. Wildcard characters don't work here.

Text ends with

Alternatively, enter the last characters of the entries you need to display.

Note. Wildcard characters also can't be used here.

Text is exactly

Here you need to enter exactly what you want to see, whether it's a number or text. Milk Chocolate, for example. Entries that contain something other than that won't be displayed. Thus, you can't use wildcard characters here.

Note. Please keep in mind that the text case matters for this condition.

If you want to use a formula to search for all records that contain "Milk Chocolate" only, enter the following:

=D:D="Milk Chocolate"

Date is, Date is before, Date is after

These Google Sheets filters allow using dates as conditions. As a result, you'll see the rows that contain an exact date or the date before/after the exact date.

Default options are today, tomorrow, yesterday, in the past week, in the past month, in the past year. You can also enter an exact date: Filter values by an exact date.

Note. When you enter any date, make sure to type it in your regional settings format rather than its format in the table. You can read more about date and time formats here.

Google Sheets filter for numeric values

You can filter numeric data in Google Sheets by the following conditions: greater than, greater than or equal to, less than, less than or equal to, is equal to, is not equal to, is between, is not between.

The last two conditions require two numbers that indicate starting and ending points of the desired interval.

Tip. You can use cell references as conditions considering that cells you refer to contain numbers.

I want to see the rows where numbers in column E are greater than or equal to the value in G1:


Hide values that are less than 100.

Note. If you change the number you refer to (100 in my case), the displayed range won't update automatically. Click the Filter icon on your Google Sheets column and then OK to update the results manually.

The custom formula can be used for this option as well.


Custom formulas to filter by condition in Google Sheets

Each of the aforementioned options can be replaced by custom formulas that return the same result.

Yet, formulas are usually used in Google Sheets filters if the condition is too complex to be covered by default means.

For example, I want to see all the goods that contain the words "Milk" and "Dark" in their names. I need this formula:


Create a custom formula to filter in Google Sheets.

This is not the most advanced way though. There's also Google Sheets FILTER function that allows creating more complex conditions.

So, this is the standard Google Sheets filter with its options and custom formulas.

But let's change the task for a moment.

What if every employee required seeing only his/her sales? They would need to apply several filters in the same Google Sheets.

Is there a way to do that onle once, without recreating all over again?

Google Sheets Filter views will deal with the problem.

Google Sheets Filter views – create, name, save, and delete

Google Sheets Filter views help save filters for later in order to avoid recreating them again. They can be used by different users without interfering with each other.

Since I already created a standard Google Sheets filter that I want to save for later, I click Data > Filter views > Save as filter view. Save as filter view

An additional black bar appears with the Options icon on its right. There you'll find the options to rename your filter in Google Sheets, update the range, duplicate it, or delete it completely. To save & close any Google Sheets filter view, click the Close icon at the upper right corner of the bar. Rename, change, copy, and remove filter views in Google Sheets.

You can access and apply saved filters in Google Sheets anytime. I have only two of them: See and apply available filter views.

One of the main advantages of Google Sheets is the possibility for several people to work with tables simultaneously. Now, imagine what may happen if different people wish to see different pieces of data.

As soon as one user applies a filter in his/her Google Sheets, other users will see the changes immediately, meaning the data they work with will become partially hidden.

To solve the problem, Filter Views option was created. It works on each user's side, so they could apply Google Sheets filters just for themselves without interfering with other's work.

To create a Google Sheets filter view, click Data > Filter views > Create new filter view. Then set the conditions for your data and name the view by clicking the "Name" field (or use the Options icon to rename it). Rename filter views

All the changes are saved automatically upon closing Filter Views. If they are no longer needed, remove them by clicking Options > Delete on the black bar.

Tip. If the spreadsheet owner permitted you to edit the file, all other users will be able to see and use filters created by you in Google Sheets.

Note. If all you can do is view the Google spreadsheet, you'll be able to create and apply Filter Views for yourself, but nothing will be saved upon closing the file. For that, you need permissions to edit the spreadsheet.

Easy way to create advanced filter in Google Sheets (without formulas)

Filter in Google Sheets is one of the easiest features. Sadly, the number of conditions you can apply to one column at a time is scarcely enough to cover most of the tasks.

Custom formulas could provide a way out, but even they can be tricky to build correctly, especially for dates and time or with OR/AND logic.

Luckily, there’s a better solution – a special add-on for Google Sheets called Multiple VLOOKUP Matches. It filters multiple rows and columns, each with lots of criteria applied. The extension is user-friendly, so you won’t have to doubt your own actions. But even if you do, the tool won’t alter your source data at all – it will copy and paste the filtered range wherever you decide. As a pleasant bonus, the add-on will deliver you from learning that scary Google Sheets VLOOKUP function ;)

Tip. Feel free to jump to the bottom of the page to see a video about the tool right away.

Once you install the add-on, you will find it under the Extensions tab in Google Sheets. The first step you’ll see is the only one there is: Multiple VLOOKUP Matches.

  1. Let’s use the add-on to filter my Google Sheets table of sales (A1:F69): Select the range.
  2. The columns I’m really interested in are Date, Region, Product, and Total Sales, so I choose only them as the ones to return: Set the number of rows and columns to return.
  3. Now it’s time to compose the conditions. Let’s try and get all sales of milk and hazelnut chocolate for September 2022: Define the conditions.
  4. While you thread your criteria, the formula from the preview area at the bottom of the tool will modify itself accordingly. Click Preview result to peep at the found matches: Preview the result and the formula.
  5. Select the upper leftmost cells for the future filtered range and hit either Paste result (to return found matches as values) or Insert formula (to insert a formula with its outcome): How to filter in Google Sheets with a special add-on.

If you'd like to get to know Multiple VLOOKUP Matches better, I encourage you to install it from the Google Workspace Marketplace or learn more about it on its home page.

Video: Advanced Google Sheets filters the easy way

Multiple VLOOKUp Matches is the best and the easiest way there is to filter your data in Google Sheets. Watch this demo video to learn all the benefits of owning the tool:

If you have any questions or you'd like to share some thoughts on filters in Google Sheets, feel free to leave a comment down below.

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