Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Extracting Targeted Records from a List.

Extracting Targeted Records from a List

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 6, 2019)


In a business environment, it is not unusual to use Excel to help manage the data you need to work with every day. For instance, you may use Excel to "crunch" invoice data, shipping records, or any number of different types of data. When working with that data, you may need to extract different records based upon particular criteria.

This is where the filtering capabilities of Excel come in handy. Consider the scenario where you have several thousand orders, covering customers across the country. You may want to extract the orders that belong to customers in targeted states so that you can process them first. You can do this using the advanced filtering capabilities of Excel. (For these steps, assume that the data you want to filter is in columns A through K.)

  1. Make sure that every column in your data list has a label that describes what is in that column. For instance, the column containing each customer's state could have "State" as a label.
  2. In cell N1, enter the word "State". You are setting up a criteria table in this column, and this label informs Excel which column you want to use in matching criteria. Make this cell bold, and underline it, if desired.
  3. Starting in cell N2, enter the states you want to extract from the main data list. Enter one state per cell in the column.
  4. Select a cell somewhere within columns A through K, in your main data.
  5. Display the Data tab of the ribbon.
  6. Click the Advanced tool in the Sort & Filter group. Excel displays the Advanced Filter dialog box, with the address of your original data table already in the List Range box. (See Figure 1.)
  7. Figure 1. The Advanced Filter dialog box.

  8. Make sure the Copy to Another Location option is selected.
  9. Place the insertion pointer in the Criteria Range box, then select (on the worksheet) the range of cells in column N that comprise the list of states. Make sure you include cell N1, which is the label.
  10. Place the insertion pointer in the Copy To box, then select a cell where you want the records extracted to. You must select a cell in the same worksheet on which the data is located.
  11. If you want to leave out any duplicate records, make sure the Unique Records Only check box is selected.
  12. Click on OK.

That's it—Excel copies those records that have one of your target states to whatever location you specified in step 9, and the original data is left unchanged.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6116) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Extracting Targeted Records from a List.

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. ...


Printing Personalized Copies of a Document

Need to have a series of documents customized for individual users? Mail merge may be overkill, but the macro presented ...

Discover More

Deleting a Bookmark

Create a bookmark and you may, at some future point, need to delete that bookmark. It's easy to do, as described in this tip.

Discover More

Word 2010 Indexes and Special Tables (Table of Contents)

One of the finishing touches used in some types of documents are an index or a special table, such as a table of ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Advanced Filtering

Many people know how to use AutoFilter, but there are times when you need some more filtering muscle. Here's how you can ...

Discover More

Filtering Columns for Unique Values

Given a long list of names, part numbers, or what-have-you, you may need to determine the unique values within the list. ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 8 + 0?

2018-01-10 07:57:39


In addition to sending it to a location within the current worksheet as mentioned in Bullet #10. You can also send the Advanced Filter subset to another worksheet (and perhaps another workbook). Before selecting Advanced Filter go to the sheet (or workbook) that you want the subset to be placed. Then perform the same steps as indicated above for using Advanced Filtering.

2017-02-10 11:23:43

Peter Atherton


See my post for Raghavendra, I;m sure this will also help you

2017-02-10 11:20:57

Peter Atherton


Dependant DropDowns is what you need. Debra Dalgliesh has a brilliant tutorial on her Contextures web site.


2017-02-09 06:39:01

Raghavendra Rao

What if I dont want to use Advanced Filter?
I want to create an excel list, to be used by Data Validation (Drop Downs), which satisfies a certain list.

Example, I have a list of names, of which some are employees, and the rest are clients.

When payments are made to them, I want to be able to, when making payments, and after selecting that I am paying to Employees, for there to be a list of Employees only, and not including the clients.

For that, I want the excel list (By any method including a very long one, but must be automated once done), to create the drop downs for data validation.

Can that be done?

2015-01-12 16:42:14

Debbie Bass

Hi Allen

Wondering if you can help?? I am trying to make up a meal plan. This contains many food types, quantity to eat, calories. I want to be able to drop down say almonds and the quantity and calories filter through. I can get the product but am unable to filter through the quantity and calories list. Have you any tips before I throw my laptop out??

Many thanks


2014-07-08 10:21:48

Glenn Case


You can do that without a macro. After filtering appropriately, select the column or columns you want, then from the Home tab, Editing section, select Find & Select and choose Go To Special and select Visible Cells Only. You can then copy the selection, which will include only the visible cells, and paste (or Paste/Values) the result whenerever you need.

2014-07-08 00:06:08

sam p

Hello Allen,

Enjoyed ready your tip. Any way I can extract a column of hyperlinks from a dynamic range to another worksheet? I believe using VBA would be the way to go as the Advancedfilter feature is limited in this capacity. Unfortunately I'm not well versed in coding.

This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.