One of the best things about Google Sheets is that you can edit and share your data with your colleagues in real-time.
But this real-time sharing and editing can get sloppy when it comes to making changes to the data that affect the teammates you are collaborating with.
This is where filter views come in handy.
Filter views allow you to make modifications without affecting the underlying data, and then easily save and re-use these views in the future.
This filter functionality is built into the Google interface and is extremely easy to set up.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about filter views in Google.
Why do you need Filter views?
So you consider yourself familiar with Google Sheets and you’ve gone without filter views up until now, so what exactly have you been missing out on? Filter views are one of the most used functionality in Google Sheets.
You can use Filter views to:
- Save multiple filters as separate views
- Label your filter for easy accessibility
- Enable multiple people to see different filter views simultaneously
- Share different filters with people
- Filter or sort a spreadsheet you don’t have full access to
The next section breaks down each of these use-cases in greater detail.
But, before we learn how to save a filtered view, let’s review how to add filters to our spreadsheets.
How to use filters in Google Sheets
We'll use a randomized Orders table for a brief overview of filtering data in Google Sheets.
1. Select a range of cells
First, we select the column that we want to filter on.
2. In the top menu, click Data -> Create a filter
Then, we add the filter to the column.
3. Click on the Filter icon and preview the sort and filter options
The filter drop-down menu contains a list of common sorting and filtering options.
You can set up filters in one of three ways:
- Filter by condition
- Filter by values
- Filter by color
4. Filter by condition
You can create custom filters by setting up filter conditions. . For this example, we want to see orders that have taken place before May 1st, 2016. As you can see in the gif below, we selected the condition "Date is after" and we specified the value as of May 1st, 2016.
Save multiple filters as filter views
Next, let’s see how we can save multiple filters as filter views.
The end goal of this example is a filtered table of only top-performing states from within 2017. States with more than 30 orders per month qualify as “top-performing” states.
1. Select your table
2. Navigate to the Data tab
3. Create new filter view
Under filter views, click on “Create a new filter view”. At this point, you’ll notice that the rows and column headers turn black. This indicates that you are operating within a specific instance or view, rather than the raw dataset.
4. Add descriptive name
From here, enter the descriptive name for this filter. In our case, the identifying title becomes “Top-performing states for 2017”.
5. Add first filter
Now, let’s apply the filter to the table. When we click on the filter icon in the "Orders" column, we then specify that our table should only include states with monthly sales of more than 30 orders.
6. Add second filter
Then, we filter the “Date” column, to include only dates within 2017. This can be done by choosing the "Filter by condition" option, or by using the "Is between" filter to isolate the data for 2017.
And that’s it! These filters are saved in our specified filter view as a table with top-performing states for 2017.
Access different filter views
Locating and using your saved filter views is just as easy. Just click on the Filter button in the top navigation menu to access and load past filter views.
Share filter views
You can also generate custom links from filter views so collaborators can only see filtered data from that particular filter view - without seeing the underlying data.
Here’s an example using the same Orders data.
Let's assume that your company has sales representatives across many states but company policy states that reps should only have access to their states' sales data.
Filtered views can be used to filter orders by state and analyze them based on a given time period. Then, you can easily share each custom filter view with the associated state representative.
Let’s see it in action.
Here’s is a filter view appropriately named “California sales data” that only contains sales data for California.
Now, as soon as the California sales representative asks for their data, you simply load this filtered view, and copy and paste the new URL link that the filter view generates.
Each filter view has a unique identification code. This code is contained within the generated share link (marked "vid = 35141834" in the example below).
Each of these filtered views gets a unique URL parameter so that you can easily share different pieces of information with your collaborators.
Deleting filter views
Deleting filter views is very straightforward as well.
Follow these simple steps to delete a filter view:
- Open your filter view
- Navigate to the filter icon in the top navbar
- Click on “Filter view options”
- Click Delete
The “Filter view options” gives you three more options:
- Rename filter view - which is self-explanatory
- Duplicate filter view - useful if you want to quickly duplicate previously saved filters, and add new filters on top of them
- Update the range of the filter view - you can use this to update the range where you want your filters to be used.
Thank you for reading this article!
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