When you have applied table formatting to your data set, you can now take full advantage of Excel table´s sneaky built in sort and filter functions. You find these functions by clicking on the small triangles in the headline row of your table. Excel directly offers you only sorting and filter options, that are relevant for the respective cells. So if your cells in a column contain text, Excel shows you the text sort and filter options. Equally, if your cells contain numbers, Excel only offers you sort and filter options for numerical formats.  

Sorting options in Excel

Excel provides you with the following three sorting functions:

  1. Sort by ascending or descending values (that is obviously self-explanatory)
  2. Sort by color comes handy if you apply conditional formatting first. For instance, if you go to Home > Conditional Formatting > Top / Down Rules you can highlight the top 10% in green. Then you apply the sort by color function to bring the top 10% results to the top of your table.
  3. Sort by custom rules enables you to sort by more than one value. However, in order to be able to use custom sort you must first apply conditional formatting as described under point 2.
The custom sort function is a bit hidden in Excel. You first have to select sort by color in order to offered the custom sort option.

The custom sort function is a bit hidden in Excel. You first have to select sort by color in order to be offered the custom sort option.

Filtering options in Excel

filter options in ExcelWith filter options in Excel you hide rows based on the criteria you choose. This is particularly impressive for text filters. For example, if you do a keyword analysis and you only want to see phrases that contain let´s say the term “WordPress”, you can get these results in a blink with the text filter “contains”.

As already mentioned at the beginning, Excel shows different filter options depending on the kind of data in your column. In other words, if you your column contains text, Excel offers you filter options specific to text and if your column contains a numerical value, you are offered the filter options for numbers.

You can also filter by color and custom criteria in the same was as the sort options work.