Thursday, April 22, 2010

AutoFilter and Beyond!

AutoFilter is a quick and easy tool that allows you to display only the desired rows of data that fit into your defined grouping. By filtering out the rows that do not interest you, your view of your data is instantly enhanced.

To access AutoFilter, go to Data, choose the Filter menu, and click on AutoFilter. AutoFilter Arrows will appear at the top of each column, allowing you to filter on whichever column you choose. Filtering by multiple choices in the columns can be done to narrow your focus on the data.

Now, this is terrific, but wouldn’t it be great to be able to use the functionality of AutoFilter whereby you merely select the value in an active cell for your filter criteria?

Although it is easy to do this in Excel 2007 and the upcoming 2010 versions, (improved functionality), you can use this cool feature in prior versions of Excel versions of Excel as well (if you know where to look).

For instance, in Excel 2003, you should:

1. Click on Tools and go to Customize
2. Choose Data under the Categories and find the “AutoFilter” in Commands
3. Drag the AutoFilter icon to your toolbar

What is confusing is that this flavor of “AutoFilter” is that it works differently than the one you most familiar with! Bear with me, though, as it is worth the bit of extra effort in getting it set up.

Here is what you can do with it:

1. Point to any cell in your table
2. Click on your new “AutoFilter” icon
3. The table will automatically filter according to your selection
4. Cumulative filters can be added by selecting another cell and clicking on the icon again

How absolutely Cool is that?!? Try it out; you will find how truly Amazing AutoFilter can be!

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