When you have a list of data in excel, one of the most useful things you could do is to add the autofilter option.  By adding this feature, it enables you to sort and filter the information contained within the table / list.

Below is a quick tutorial showing you how to do this in versions 2003 and 2007 🙂

Excel 2003

Let’s take this example of an invoice list.  The first thing to do is make sure your list has column headers e.g. invoice number, date etc…

Invoice List example 2003

Then, select any cell within the list, click on Data, go to Filter, and select Autofilter…

Data-Filter 2003

You will then notice that drop down arrows have appeared next to each column header, click on one of them and you’ll see that you can sort and filter specific data…

Autofilter 2003

In this example, by clicking on the Paid filter, you can sort the column in ascending or descending order (in this case it would be alphabetically), you can filter it to show only those lines that have paid (by clicking Yes).

You can also create a custom filter, for example, if you click on the filter arrow for Amount, and click on (Custom…)

Custom 2003

…you can then enter your own criteria for the filter e.g. only show amounts less than €200…

Custom Autofilter 2003

Click OK and this will then only show those rows which meet that custom filter.  To remove the filter, just click on the Filter arrow and choose (All).  And that’s it, an easy way to apply filtering to your list in 2003.

Excel 2007

In 2007 onwards, the autofilter feature is a lot more user friendly. Again, click anywhere within the list and you can either…

a) go to Data tab on the ribbon and click Filter


or b) go to the Editing section in the Home tab and click Sort & Filter – Filter.

Home-filter 2007

It doesn’t really make any difference which way you choose 🙂

Click on a filter arrow of one of the columns and you’ll see there are more options for your filtering…


And if the filter option that you want isn’t there, you can still set your own criteria by clicking on Custom Filter…

Personally once I have a list typed out, the first thing I do is apply an autofilter, it just makes the sorting and viewing of data so much quicker and easier.  I hope you find it just as useful too 🙂