Sorting and Filtering

Sorting and filtering offer two different ways to customize the view of data in your sheet. You can't do both at the same time so it's best to determine in advance which option will help more.

Sorting lets you organize all or part of your data in ascending or descending order. Note that you cannot undo a sort after it has been saved so you'll want to make sure that all of your rows in your sheet, including parent rows in a hierarchy, are ordered the way you want before saving.

Filters allow you to show or hide information on your sheet based on selected criteria. They're useful because they don't change the overall layout of your sheet. You can also save filters and share them with anyone who is shared to the sheet. You can even set default filters on your sheet so that when shared users open that sheet, they see the the same view.

Follow the step-by-step instructions to learn how to sort information on your sheet.

Sort Rows to Organize Your Data

To organize your data in ascending or descending order, use the Sort Row command. When you sort, you have two choices about the amount of data you want to work with: you can sort all rows in your sheet or only a selection of them.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you sort:

  • Applying a sort will impact the existing rows in the sheet. When new rows are added, you'll need to sort again to incorporate the newly added rows.
  • You cannot undo a sort after the sheet has been saved. Make sure the rows in your sheet are ordered as desired before you save it.
  • Although Editors can sort a sheet, they can't sort locked rows. If the Sort Rows option appears unavailable, and you're shared to the sheet with Editor permissions (see Sharing Permission Levels for details), deselect any locked rows before attempting to sort.
  • The Sort Rows command will be unavailable if a filter is applied to your sheet. Before you sort, you'll first need to ensure that filters are not applied. To clear a filter (stop applying it to the sheet), select Filter Off from the Filter menu. For more information on filtering sheet data, check out our article on Using Filters to Show or Hide Sheet Data.

    Sort All Rows

    1. Right-click on a column header and select Sort Rows.

      The Sort form appears.

      sort-rows
       
    2. Enter sort criteria and then click OK.

    Sort a Selection of Rows

    1. Highlight the rows by holding down the Shift key and clicking on the row numbers you want to sort.
    2. Right-click on the selected area and select Sort Rows.
    3. In the Sort form, enter your sort criteria and click OK.

      How Different Data Types Are Sorted

      The type of data you sort will influence the result. Here are a few examples:

      • Hierarchy: If you’ve created sub-items, the sub-items will be sorted but kept beneath their parent row. The parent rows will also be sorted but their sub-items will move with them.
      • Data created with a Dropdown list: If you sort on a column that is a Dropdown List type, items will be sorted using the order of the drop-down list values. Double-click on a column header and select Edit Column Properties to view/edit these values or to change their order.
      • Harvey Ball values: When sorted in ascending order, the values will be ordered as Empty > Quarter > Half >Three-Quarters > Full > Blank.
      • Red-Yellow-Green values: When sorted in ascending order, the values will be ordered as Red > Yellow > Green > Blank.
      • Mixed letters and numbers: Values that start with a letter and include a number will be sorted first in alphabetical order then in numerical order starting from the leftmost digit. For example, the values Q1, Q2, Q3, Q12, will be sorted as Q1, Q12, Q2, Q3.

        NOTE: When sorting in ascending or descending order, blank rows will be sorted below rows with values.

      Sort Behavior in Reports

      When you sort a report, items will be sorted in ascending or descending order. If you sort on a column that is a Dropdown List type in the source sheet, items won’t sort based on the predetermined dropdown values in the included source sheets. 

      A report can pull from multiple sheets and will consolidate columns with the same name and column type. If the dropdown list columns have different values across sheets (for example: a,b,c,d in one sheet and 1,2,3,4 in another), the report will be unable to determine which sort to honor in the consolidated column. 

      Follow the step-by-step instructions to learn how to create and share sheet filters.

      Create a Filter to Show or Hide Data

      With the appropriate permissions, you can create filters for your own use or to share with others. Need a quick overview? See Filter Basics.

      Create a shared Current User filter, for example, for all collaborators on your sheet to be able to quickly see tasks assigned to them. For details on creating a shared Current User filter, see our article on Viewing Your Assigned Tasks.  

      NOTE: The Shared Filters functionality discussed here is included with Business and Enterprise plans. For more information about plans and pricing, including which features are included with which plans, please see our Pricing page.

      In this article:

      Create and Use Filters

      Tips for Working with Conditions

       

      Required Permissions for Working with Filters

      What you can do with filters in a sheet will depend on the sharing permissions you have for that sheet.

      Filter ActivityViewerEditorOwner or Admin
      Create an “Unnamed Filter”YesYesYes
      Apply an already created filterYesYesYes
      Name a filter so that it can be reusedNoYesYes
      Specify that a filter should be shared to all sheet collaborators (Team plan or higher)NoNoYes

      For more information about sheet-level sharing permissions, see Sharing Permission Levels.


      Create and Use Filters

      Filter Data with the “Unnamed Filter”

      If you have access to a sheet, you can create an Unnamed Filter to view the sheet data in the a way that's most useful to you. The configuration of the Unnamed Filter will be unique to you.

      1. Click the Filter menu and select New Filter.

        The Create New Filter form will be displayed.
         
      2. In the Create New Filter form, under Show rows that match, select the conditions that you want to apply to the data in the sheet and then click Apply to see the results of the filter.

        Unnamed Filter will appear in the Filter menu to indicate that your data is being filtered according to the conditions you specified.

      Name a Filter to Save or Share

      If you have Editor or higher permissions to a sheet, you can name a filter to save it for later use. If you have Admin permissions to the sheet, you can specify to share the named filter so that anyone on your team with access to the sheet can apply the filter as well.

      New Filter form with 1 next to Name box and 2 next to Share filter checkbox

      1. Use the Name box to give a filter a name.
      2. Select the Share filter checkbox to make the filter available to anyone who has access to the sheet.

      To identify a filter that a sheet Admin has saved to be shared with others, look for the sharing indicator Sharing imagenext to the name of the filter.

      Modify a Filter

      After you’ve created a filter, you can always go back and change the criteria (the conditions that show or hide information in the sheet) later. Here's how to modify a filter:

      1. Apply the filter that you want to modify to the sheet (select it from the Filter menu).

        NOTE: If you don’t have Editor permissions or higher, the only filter that you’ll be able to modify is the Unnamed Filter.
         
      2. From the Filter menu, select Edit Current Filter to open the Edit Filter form.

        TIP: The title of the the form will display the name of the filter that you’re about to modify. Verify the title to ensure that you’re modifying the correct filter.
         
      3. In the Edit Filter form, update the conditions as desired and click Apply.

      The updated filter will be applied to the sheet.

      Remove a Filter

      To clear a filter (stop applying it to the sheet), select Remove Filter filter switch to the left of the filter name.

      Delete a Filter

      To delete a filter (remove it from the sheet and the menu), select it from the Filter menu to apply it to the sheet, and then select Delete Current Filter.

      Tips for Working with Conditions

      As you specify conditions for your filters, you’ll get a feeling for how to set up the criteria that you find the most useful. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

      • Change how criteria is interpreted: To specify that a filter uses all the specified criteria or just one of the criteria, click the link next to Show rows that match to switch between all conditions and at least one condition.
      • Filter for blank cells: Find rows where data might be missing by using the is blank condition.
      • Include Parent Rows: If your sheet uses hierarchy, you can choose to have your filter include parent rows by selecting the Include parent rows checkbox. (For more information about using hierarchy in sheets, see the help article on Using Hierarchy).
      • Filter for tasks assigned to you: Create a Current User filter to allow collaborators to see only the tasks they're assigned to. You can find details on this in our article on Viewing Your Assigned Tasks.
      • Use the Row filter criteria to narrow in on critical path, attachments, comments, and locked rows. See the section below for more information.

      Filter on Critical Path, Attachments, Comments, and Locked Rows

      You can use critical path, attachments, comments, and locked rows as filter criteria to show or hide certain rows. The Row filter criteria can help you narrow down critical path tasks, attachments and comments that you need to action on, and rows that are locked to prevent editing to certain people.

      Select Row in the first dropdown field to see these options.

      row filter

      Isolate Your Critical Path with a Filter

      If you’ve set up your sheet to highlight critical path rows, you can apply a filter with is on critical path or is not on critical path as the criteria to display or hide critical path rows. Steps on how to enable critical path in your sheet are available in Tracking a Project’s Critical Path.

      Filter to Quickly Find Rows that Have Attachments and Comments

      You can create a filter with the Row criteria that shows or hides rows that contain attachments or comments. Use has attachments or has comments as a criteria to isolate only the rows to download attachments or reply to comment threads more quickly. The does not have attachments or does not have comments criteria will hide rows with attachments or comments. 

      More information on working with attachments and comments in your sheets is available in the following help articles:

      Find Locked and Unlocked Rows With a Filter

      Use Row is locked or Row is not locked as filter criteria to show or hide rows that can only be edited by people with Admin sharing permissions on a sheet. This can help people with Editor permissions narrow down on the rows that they’re allowed to edit.

      More information on locked rows can be found in Locking or Unlocking Columns and Rows.