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Setting Up Custom AutoFiltering

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Setting Up Custom AutoFiltering.

When are using Excel's AutoFiltering feature, you may want to display information in your list according to a custom set of criteria.

Excel makes this easy to do. All you need to do is the following:

  1. If AutoFiltering is not already turned on, choose Filter from the Data menu, then click AutoFilter.
  2. Use the drop-down arrow to the right of a column label to select the (Custom...) option. Excel displays the Custom AutoFilter dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Custom AutoFilter dialog box.

  4. Use the controls in the dialog box to set the criteria you want used for filtering your list.
  5. Click on OK.

You can use the Custom AutoFilter dialog box to set any combination of criteria that you need. For instance, you can indicate that you want to see any values below, within, or above any given thresholds you desire. The filtering criteria will even work just fine with text values. For instance, you can cause Excel to display only records that are greater than AE. This means that anything beginning with AA through AE won't be displayed in the filtered list.

You should note that Excel also provides wildcard characters you can use to filter text values. These are the same wildcards you can use in specifying file names at the Windows command prompt. For instance, the question mark matches any single character, and the asterisk matches any number of characters. Thus, if you wanted to only display records that have the letter T in the third character position, you would use the equal sign operator (=) and a value of ??T*. This means the first two characters can be anything, the third character must be a T, and the rest can be anything.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2857) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Setting Up Custom AutoFiltering.

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