MVP #76: Time Saving Use Of Advanced Filters In Excel

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Every time you apply filter to a dataset in Excel and then copy out the filtered data, you could have saved yourself time and some mouse-strokes by using advanced filter. And despite the name, advanced filter, it is surprisingly easy to use.

As an example, I have the fictitious sales record for Dhormino's Pizza for June 5, 2016. They sell 16 Pizza types: Meatzaa, Extravaganza , BBQ Chicken, Hot Veggie, BBQ Philly Steak, Chicken Feast, Chicken Suya, Chicken Legend, Beef Suya, Margarita, Italiano, Pepperoni Suya, Veggie Supreme, Hot Pepperoni Feast, Chicken Bali and Pepperoni Feast.

They got a new country manager this March, and one of his strategies is to have four brand managers owning 4 different baskets of the pizza types, like the FMCG companies do. Two of those managers are Michael and Mary. They are to ensure that the brands (pizza types) they own are performing well. They are given the latitude and resources to promote them using whatever promotional mix they want. 

As the company's main business data analyst, you pull out daily sales records and extract the ones for each brand manager. With advanced filter, it will be a piece of cake. You might even hook it to a recorded macro and at a click of button all is done.

Continuing with the example, let's see how to extract for Michael and Mary.

Step 1 is to write out the pizza types Michael and Mary manage, separately. And to help advanced filter know where to look for those pizza names, give them a header that matches that in the sales table. See the screenshot above for what I mean.

Step 2 is to go to Michael's sheet (another Excel sheet where you want to put Michael's). Launch advanced filter from there. It is under Data menu, about the middle of the menu tools.

Set it to "Copy to another location"

Provide the sales data range as the "list range", and Michael's pizza types with the header as the "Criteria range".

Finally, for the "Copy to", go to Michael's sheet and select where the result should be displayed. In this example, I select cell A1.

And voila! We get the results.

Very easy and cool.

And there is more to advanced filter. How about if we have a more detailed sales transaction data that captures sales value for each sales transaction, and we would like to extract sales transactions that generated more that 15,000 naira. That too is very easy with advanced filter.

Just follow me. Below is the snapshot of the detailed sales transaction data.

We have specified that we want greater than 15,000 naira transactions only.

The steps are just like previous ones. Launch the advanced filter and provide both the "List range" and "Criteria range"

Specify where the results should be displayed.

And voila, again! It's done!

Now you should be an expert, like me, at using advanced filter. 


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