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: Showing Filter Criteria on a Printout.

Showing Filter Criteria on a Printout

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 8, 2017)

Microsoft Excel includes some great tools that help you filter large data tables to include only the information you want displayed. In effect, the filters allow you to "slice and dice" your data until you get just what you want.

When printing out filtered data, you might want to know what slicing and dicing was done to the original data. There are several ways you can go about displaying your filtering criteria. One simple way is to use the advanced filtering capabilities of Excel, which require that you set up a small criteria table for your data. If the criteria table is made part of what you print, then you can see your filtering criteria quite easily.

If you use AutoFilter, then you need to use a different approach. One such approach is detailed at John Walkenbach's site:

This solution uses a user-defined function to return any filtering criteria in use in the current column. The function can be used in a cell, in that column, to display the criteria. If you are using advanced filtering, then the macro approach is a bit more complex. The following macros (there are two of them in the listing) examine what advanced criteria are in play, and then places the criteria in the left portion of the header.

Sub AddFilterCriteria()
    Dim strCriteria As String

    strCriteria = FilterCriteria()
    If strCriteria = "" Then
        strCriteria = "No Filtering Criteria"
        strCriteria = "Filter Criteria:" & Chr(10) & strCriteria
    End If

'   add Criteria string to Header/Footer
    With ActiveSheet.PageSetup
        .LeftHeader = strCriteria
    End With
End Sub

Function FilterCriteria() As String
    Dim rngCriteria As Range, col As Range, cel As Range
    Dim strCriteria As String, r As Integer, c As Integer
    Const strCriteriaRange As String = "Criteria"

    FilterCriteria = ""

    On Error Resume Next
    'Set Criteria-Range reference
    Set rngCriteria = Range(strCriteriaRange)
    If Err <> 0 Then Exit Function
    On Error GoTo 0

'   Create Criteria String
    c = 0
    For Each col In rngCriteria.Columns
        c = c + 1     ' CriteriaRange Columns
        r = 1         ' CriteriaRange Rows
        For Each cel In col.Cells
            If r = 1 Then
                strCriteria = strCriteria & "Criteria" _
                  & c & " (" & cel.Value & ") = "
                strCriteria = strCriteria & "'" & cel.Value & "'"
                If IsEmpty(cel.Offset(1, 0)) Then
                    'Add New row Char if not Last Criteria Column
                    If c < rngCriteria.Columns.Count Then
                        strCriteria = strCriteria & Chr(10)
                    End If
                    Exit For
                End If
                strCriteria = strCriteria & "  "
            End If
            r = r + 1
        Next cel    ' next criteria row
    Next col        ' next criteria column

    FilterCriteria = strCriteria
End Function

To use the macro, just run the AddFilterCriteria macro, after you have your advanced filtering set up. The macro reads the criteria table and puts together the criteria into a string that is placed in the left header.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3248) 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: Showing Filter Criteria on a Printout.

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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