How to Filter in Google Sheets?

So you wish to search for specific entries on your Google Sheets file. 2 out of hundreds of articles from many rows below. You can use the “Search” function using “Ctrl + F” to find those articles. Or you can filter out all the rest of the unnecessary articles and zero-in on the article you’re looking for.

You can do this through the app’s native FILTER function. You can find an entry or a whole range of them through sorting them out and filtering them.

How Google Sheet’s FILTER Function Works

You can filter Google Sheets for the sake of finding certain specific entries on your spreadsheet. This way, you won’t have to pore through hundreds or thousands of entries to find what you’re looking for. You can filter out irrelevant entries or focus on specifics.

It depends on how the data is sorted and what types of data you’re working with. Some cells contain formulas or functions while others just have numbers. Still others offer 

You’ll be using the “FILTER” function of Google Sheets. The entries should meet specific criteria in order to get shown or filtered out by the function.

How to Filter in Google Sheets

Step 1: Open a new spreadsheet or make a copy of an existing file to save you the trouble of putting in data from scratch. Here, we’re using an old invoice of mine.

Filter Sheets Step 1 - Open a new sheet or edit an existing sheet

Step 2:  Highlight the data set you wish to filter, including the headers. This will keep irrelevant parts of your spreadsheet from being included in the filtration.

Filter Sheets Step 2 - Select the cells you wish to filter

Step 3: Click on the “Data” menu then select “Create a filter“.

Filter Sheets Step 3A - Click Data. Create a filter.

Alternately, you can also click the “Filter” button on the horizontal toolbar and also select “Create a filter“.

Filter Sheets Step 3B - Click Filter button on horizontal toolbar.

Step 4: Check out the headers. They now have downward arrows that help you sort out every column of data. This indicates that you were successful in applying filters to your table.

Filter Sheets Step 4 - Check the headers. There should be arrows on their low right corners.

Step 5: Go to your filter options by going to one of the headers and clicking the lower-right corner arrows. This will give you specific filter options, including “Filter by value” or “Filter by condition“.

Filter Sheets Step 5A - Click on the down arrow of one of the headers then filter out specific values

By my experience, when you “Filter by value“, you best press “Clear” first then choose a value or values to remain from your filter. All the unchecked ones will then be filtered out.

Filter Sheets Step 5B - Press clear and select the values by checkmark

I say this because when I manually checked and unchecked values, the FILTER function of Google Sheets got wonky and included values like “3500” even though I unchecked that value.

At any rate, once you’re done, press “OK” to apply changes.  The proper results should be like so.

Filter Sheets Step 5C - Filter results for 40 words

Step 6: You can also use “Filter by condition” instead. Again, on the “Number of Words” header, click on “Filter by condition“, select “in between” and put in the values of 40 (words) and 500 (words).

Press “OK” to save your filter settings.

Filter Sheets Step 6A - Filter by conditon

This should result in the table listing out all entries in between 40 words to 500 words. This excludes all articles with a value of above 500 words, such as the ones with 600, 700, 800, all the way to 3,500 words.

Filter Sheets Step 6B - Filter by conditon results

File Example – Make a copy

What Have We Learned?

You can activate the FILTER function by selecting the table or data range you wish to filter and/or sort by clicking on the “Data” menu or the dropdown FILTER icon menu and selecting “Create a filter” on either of them.


  1. Sort & filter your data“, Support, Retrieved June 27, 2022
  2. How to use the FILTER function in Google Sheets“, Blog, Retrieved June 27, 2022
  3. Leila Gharani, “Filter Views – How to Filter Google Sheets Without Affecting Other Users“, YouTube, November 3, 2020

Andy Avery

I really enjoy helping people with their tech problems to make life easier, ​and that’s what I’ve been doing professionally for the past decade.

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