by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 19, 2019)
Kris knows how to filter information in a worksheet by color. The filtering tools allows him to select which color of text or background he wants to display. Kris wonders if there is a way to filter so that multiple colors are displayed. If he is filtering by cell contents, he can easily pick multiple matching items to be displayed but cannot figure out how to do it for colors.
There are two ways you can go about this. The first approach doesn't rely on filtering at all. Instead, sort your data by color. If you do two (or more) sorting passes, you should be able to get the desired colors all next to each other. Then, select the remaining rows (the one using colors you don't want to see) and hide those rows.
Again, this is just a workaround, and it can work fine for relatively short lists of data. The second approach is to use a helper column. All you need to do is to enter, in each cell of the helper column, the name of the color in that row—i.e., red, orange, yellow, green, etc. You can then filter by that column and thereby display multiple colors in your filtered results.
If your data table is too long, typing all those colors could get monotonous and be prone to errors. You could, if desired, create two very short user-defined functions that would simply return the color of a specific cell. This UDF returns the color of the text itself:
Function FColor(cell) FColor = cell.Font.ColorIndex End Function
The following is a variation that returns the interior color of the cell itself:
Function IColor(cell) IColor = cell.Interior.ColorIndex End Function
In your helper column, enter a formula that relies on the desired UDF. For instance, if you want to filter by the interior color in column A, you would enter this formula in the helper column of row 1:
The cell should now contain the color number. Copy this cell down as far as necessary, and then filter by the contents of this column. Since you can select multiple numeric values to appear in your filtered data, you effectively end up with multiple colors in the results.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (13611) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365.
Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!
When you print out a filtered worksheet, you may want some sort of printed record as to what filtering was applied to the ...Discover More
Filtering is a great tool when dealing with large data sets. Knowing how to apply a filter, though, can be a bit tricky ...Discover More
The filtering capabilities of Excel are indispensable when working with large sets of data. When you create a filtered ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
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.