Microsoft Excel or MS Excel as popularly known is a spreadsheet application by Microsoft for the operating systems of Windows and Mac OS X. It is normally used for making calculations, presenting numerical data, comparing trends and features of various tools to assist in these purposes. It is often considered the standard application for the spreadsheet software. Not only does it keep the users well organized in their presentation of facts and figures, it is a rather versatile application. Although understanding and learning every feature of the Excel application can be frustrating and intimidating, it does prove to be a boon in the long run.

Instructions to use Autofilter in MS Excel

One of the many important features of Excel is that of the Autofilter which is a very useful tool as it can take a vast spreadsheet and reduce it to only essential data. Following are the instructions to use this facility in MS Excel.

Step 1: Once you are finished with creating your data, look back at it to decide which rows or columns you want to sort out. These rows or columns need to be highlighted and then select the ‘Data’ option from the main menu. After clicking on ‘Data’, select ‘Filter’ from the options and click on ‘Autofilter’.

Step 2: Now in each title box, you would have drop down arrows. To filter your data according to that column, each of those arrows can be clicked. Everything that you would click on will become the only data visible.

Step 3: Now when you go to the required cell and click on the arrow on it, then click on the first option in the list in the ‘Autofilter’ column. This will result in displaying only that data which matches.

Step 4: The arrow in this cell would now be blue, which tells you that the spreadsheet has been filtered by that particular column’s data.

Step 5: Additional filters can now be applied. You can continue the same procedure with other title cells too, and get only that data which is required. All the arrows would change their color to blue, indicating the filtered data.

Step 6: After the filters have been applied, you can now go back to the original data by removing all the autofilters. One way to remove them is to go back to the ‘Data’ option, click on the ‘Filter’ option and remove the check mark by clicking on ‘Autofilter’. This would remove the check boxes and restore all the data. Another way to restore the data is by proceeding with one column at a time, by clicking on the arrow and selecting ‘All’.

An additional thing to be kept in mind is that even if the document is saved as filtered, the data hasn’t been lost. It has merely become invisible and can be restored anytime by following the last step above. The Autofilter option thus proves to be an extremely helpful tool in Excel which filters for only specific data that may otherwise result in wastage of time if searched manually.