Increasing the AutoFilter Drop-Down Limit

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 14, 2014)

If you use the AutoFilter feature of Excel, the drop-down list that appears at the top of a filtered column lists the unique entries in the filtered column. If there are many, many unique entries, then Excel lists only the first 1,000 unique entries in the drop-down list. If you have lists with lots of data, you may wonder if there is a way to increase the number of unique entries that appear.

Unfortunately, there is no way to increase this limit--it is hard-coded into Excel. There are, however, third-party solutions that allow you to count unique records from a list of records. If these are of interest, check www.ozgrid.com for their utilities, or check the following page at Chip Pearson's site:

http://www.cpearson.com/excel/duplicat.htm#CountingUnique

Also, you might consider rethinking how you do filtering on the list. The whole idea behind AutoFiltering is to create small lists from large ones, and it can be reasonably argued that over a thousand records is not a small list.

Instead, you may want to use secondary lists. For instance, if you want to filter by last name, you might add a column that contains only the first letter of each last name. That would result in up to 26 unique items; choose one of the letters, then you can further refine the selection by choosing from the filtered last names within that letter. The "trouble" of clicking twice is offset by the overall data being much more manageable.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2403) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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