Limits to Filtering

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 7, 2015)

1

Jim asked if there is a way to increase the number of items that can be shown in the AutoFilter drop-down list. Jim is referring to the fact that when AutoFilter is turned on, the drop-down list at the top of each column is limited in what it can display; it will only show the first 1,000 unique items in the column.

There is no way to increase this limit in the current versions of Excel; it is hard-wired. If you want to do more complex filtering, you will need to use the advanced filtering tools in Excel. (They aren't that hard to use, and can provide some very interesting ways of examining your data.)

If you prefer to use AutoFilter, you might look at how your data is organized in your table. For instance, let's say you have a huge list of customer transactions, and you want to filter the data by customer name. The trouble is, you have more than 1,000 unique customers, so you can't see all the customer names in the AutoFilter drop-down list.

The solution is to add another column, perhaps just to the left of your customer name column. Use a formula in the column that pulls out the first letter of the customer's last name. You now have a list of single alphabetic letters. It is much easier to AutoFilter on this column; all 26 letters appear quite nicely in the drop-down list. Select a letter, and this filters your data so that only those customers whose last names begin with that letter are displayed. You can then use the drop-down list in the customer name column to select from all the customers in the pared-down list.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2914) 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

A Real AutoSave

When you enable AutoSave in Word, it doesn't really save your document; it just saves a temporary file that allows your ...

Discover More

Turning Off Highlighter Display

You can use the highlighter tool to add all sorts of color to your document. If you want to turn off those colors so that ...

Discover More

Tracking Changes to Templates

Wouldn't it be great to be able to track what changes are made to a template, over time? Unfortunately, Word doesn't include ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Turning Off AutoFiltering

After you apply a filter to your data, you may wonder how to get rid of it so that you can once again see all your data. Use ...

Discover More

Setting Up Custom AutoFiltering

The filtering capabilities of Excel are very helpful when you are working with large sets of data. You can create a custom ...

Discover More

Quickly Identifying Applied AutoFilters

Apply an AutoFilter to a worksheet, and you can quickly forget exactly what that AutoFilter entailed. Here are a couple of ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 8Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 7 - 0?

2015-03-10 09:00:51

Michele ODonnell

Instead of creating a new column - just use Text Filter.

1. Click on the down arrow on your column filter
2. Select Text Filters
3. Select Begins With
4. Type the letter
5. Click OK

While it's true you would have to go through those steps for each letter you would like to filter by, it is a quick and easy way to filter the data by the first letter.


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.