How to Filter Microsoft Excel Data Quickly using Keyboard Shortcuts

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated January 23, 2017

Applies to: Microsoft® Excel® 2010, 2013, 2016 and 365 (Windows)

You can turn on filtering (formerly known as auto filtering) for Microsoft Excel lists and tables and easily filter and sort data using a mouse. When you first turn on filtering, arrows appear in the header row for each field with a drop-down menu.

Although most users will use the mouse to apply and remove filtering, you can also use your keyboard.  The shortcuts are available in Excel 2010 and later versions but some will also work in 2007.

Recommended article: How to Enter Data in an Excel Filtered List into Visible Cells [2 Ways]

The following are 10 useful keyboard shortcuts for filtering.

1.  Turn filtering on or off

To turn filtering on or off, ensure a cell in the range is selected and then press Ctrl + Shift + L.

Down arrows will appear beside field names in the header row as follows:

Microsoft Excel filtering arrows when filtering is turned on.

If your data range contains any blank columns or rows, select the entire range of cells first.

If you have converted a list to a table, the Filter menus should automatically appear.

2.  Display the Filter menu

To display the Filter menu for a column:

  1. Select a cell in the header row that contains a Filter arrow.
  2. Press Alt + down arrow to display the Filter menu for the column.

Filter menu in Microsoft Excel.

If your data has been converted to a table, you can press Alt + Shift + down arrow in any cell in the table to display the Filter menu for that column.

3. Select menu items using arrow keys

Once the Filter menu is displayed, you can use your arrow keys to navigate the menu and use Enter and the Spacebar to select and apply filtering:

  • Press the up or down arrow keys to select a command.
  • Press Enter to apply the command.
  • Press the Spacebar to check or uncheck a checkbox.

4. Clear all filters

To clear all filters for all fields in the current filtered range, select a cell in the range and press Alt > A > C.

Don’t press Shift and don’t press these keys at the same time as they access the Ribbon. Simply press Alt, then A, then C.

5. Clear filters in a column

To clear the filters in a column:

  1. Select a cell in the header row and press Alt + down arrow to display the Filter menu for the column.
  2. Type the letter “C” to clear the filter.

6.  Filter by typing underlined characters

Once the Filter menu is displayed, you can type underlined letters to select a filter option. The underlined letters that appear in the menu are the shortcut keys for each command.  For example, typing the letter “F” would display the Text, Number or Date Filters sub-menu. Don’t press Shift while typing these characters.

Note the underlined characters in the menu below:

Microsoft Excel filter menu with underlined characters.

7.  Sort by typing underlined characters

Once the Filter menu is displayed, you can type characters to sort (do not hold down Shift):

  • Type “S” to sort in ascending order.
  • Type “O” to sort in descending order.
  • Type “T” to sort by color.

8. Filter using the Search box

Starting in Excel 2010, a Search box was added to the Filter menu. You can enter search criteria in the Search box and Excel will automatically filter in the column.

To use the Search box:

  1. Select a cell in the header row and press Alt + down arrow to display the Filter menu for the selected column.
  2. Type the letter “E” to jump to the Search box where you can type your criteria.

Note the Search box in the menu below:

Microsoft Excel filter menu with underlined characters.

9. Display the Custom Filter dialog box

When you want to filter using custom criteria, you can display the Custom Filter dialog box:

  1. Select a cell in the header row and press Alt + down arrow to display the Filter menu for the column.
  2. Type the letter “F”.
  3. Type the letter “E” (this displays the Custom Filter dialog box which sets the comparison operator to Equal).
  4. Select options from the menus (such as Equal, Not Equal, etc.) and enter criteria.
  5. Select And or Or.
  6. Press Enter to apply the filter.

Enter criteria in criteria boxes in the Custom Filter (AutoFilter) dialog box below:

Microsoft Excel Custom Filter dialog box.

In the Custom Filter dialog box, you can keep pressing Tab to select different options in the dialog.

10. Filter blanks or non-blanks

To filter to display blank cells in the selected column:

  1. Press Alt + down arrow to display the Filter menu for the column.
  2. Type the letter “F”.
  3. Type the letter “E” (this displays the Custom Filter dialog box which sets the comparison operator to Equal).
  4. Press Enter.

To filter to display non-blank cells in the selected column:

  1. Press Alt + down arrow to display the Filter menu for the column.
  2. Type the letter “F”.
  3. Type the letter “N” (this displays the Custom Filter dialog box which sets the comparison operator to Does Not Equal).
  4. Press Enter.

If you use filtering a lot, these keyboard shortcuts can save you quite a bit of time.

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10 Great Excel Keyboard Shortcuts for Filtering Data
Article Name
10 Great Excel Keyboard Shortcuts for Filtering Data
Description
Try out these great Microsoft Excel shortcuts for filtering lists and tables. Although most users will use the mouse to apply and remove filtering, you can also use your keyboard.
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Avantix Learning

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