How to Use The Excel FILTER Function

The excel FILTER function simply returns the filtered data from the given range. It is a functional version of simple filtering from the home menu that we have been using for decades in excel. This function helps us filter large databases into smaller chunks that we only need to work on.

For now, this FILTER function is only available to Excel 365 online version. It is unavailable in Excel 2016 and older versions.
Syntax of the FILTER Function


Array : This is the range that you want to filter. It can be an hard-coded array or range reference. It can be an entire database like an Employee database.

Include : It is the column or row by which you want to filter with criteria. For example, the salary column in the employee database with the condition >$10000, etc. It is not necessary to be part of the database. The dimensions of this array should match with the filter Array.

[if_empty] : This is an optional argument. Use this when you want to define what to return if no value is found.

Let’s understand the FILTER function with an example

FILTER Function Example: Return All Records Whose Marks Are Greater Than 90

Here I have a sample data set of students and their obtained marks in a test.

I want to filter all the records whose marks are greater than 90. A simple formula for this problem would be:

=FILTER(A3:C11,C3:C11>90,"No such records")

We have supplied the whole table A3:C11 as the array. Since we want to filter by Score, we give reference of Score range and the criteria C3:C11>90. Finally, if no value matches the given criteria, we return "No such records".

This returns the record and spills into the sheet.

How it works

Think of it as a counting function that returns the count of matched conditions. The only major difference is that the FILTER function returns an entire recordset, not just the count. It can also be used as LOOKUP to return all matched values from the data set as we do in excel 2016 and older.

Filter the Dataset with Multiple Conditions

To filter the dataset with more than one condition we can use * for AND conditions and + for OR logic.

For example, from the above data, if I want to filter a record whose marks are greater than or equal to 90 and roll number is greater than 107 then the formula will be:

=FILTER(A3:C11,(C3:C11>=90)*(B3:B11>107),"No such records")

An example of OR logic: If you want to filter dataset where marks are greater than 90 or less than 70 (just for example). Than the formula will be:

=FILTER(A3:C11,(C3:C11>90)+(C3:C11<70),"No such records")

So yeah guys, this was a quick introduction to the FILTER function of Excel 365. It is not yet available to desktop applications but it is expected to be released with Excel 2019 pro version.

I hope I was explanatory enough. If you have any doubt regarding this function or have any excel/VBA related query, ask it  in the comments section below.

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