How to Filter by Date in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Filtering by date in Excel is a handy skill that helps you quickly find specific data within large datasets. Here’s a quick overview: to filter by date in Excel, select your dataset, use the "Filter" option in the "Data" tab, and then customize the filter to show only the dates you’re interested in. Simple, right? Now, let’s dive into the details.

Step-by-Step Tutorial: How to Filter by Date in Excel

We’ll guide you through each step so that by the end, you’ll be a pro at filtering dates in Excel. Ready? Let’s start!

Step 1: Open Your Excel File

First, open the Excel file that contains the data you want to filter by date.

Make sure your data is organized in a table format, with headers for each column. This setup will make filtering easier.

Step 2: Select Your Data Range

Click and drag to select the range of cells that includes the dates you want to filter.

Including the entire dataset, including headers, ensures that your filter options will work correctly without missing any data.

Step 3: Go to the Data Tab

Navigate to the "Data" tab on the Excel ribbon at the top of your screen.

In the "Data" tab, you’ll find various options for sorting and filtering your data. The "Filter" button is what we’re after.

Step 4: Click the Filter Button

Click the "Filter" button, which looks like a small funnel icon.

This action will add drop-down arrows to the headers of your selected columns, enabling you to filter them easily.

Step 5: Click the Drop-Down Arrow on the Date Column

Click the drop-down arrow in the header of the column containing your dates.

A menu will appear, giving you various filter options, including sorting, filtering by specific dates, or even by date ranges.

Step 6: Choose Date Filters

Hover over "Date Filters" and select the filter option that suits your needs, like "Between," "Before," or "After."

Depending on your choice, you’ll be prompted to enter specific dates to narrow down your data. This helps you zoom in on the info you need.

Step 7: Apply the Filter

Enter the dates you’re interested in and click "OK" to apply the filter.

Excel will now display only the rows that match your chosen date criteria, hiding the rest.

Once you’ve completed these steps, your Excel sheet will only show the data that fits within your specified date range. This makes it a breeze to analyze time-specific information.

Tips for How to Filter by Date in Excel

  • Always ensure your date column is correctly formatted as a date. This prevents errors when filtering.
  • Use the "Clear Filter" option to remove any applied filters and view the entire dataset again.
  • Combine date filters with other criteria for more precise filtering.
  • Save your work before applying complex filters to avoid losing data.
  • Familiarize yourself with different date filter options for more flexibility in your data analysis.

Frequently Asked Questions: How to Filter by Date in Excel

How do I format my column as a date?

Select the column, right-click, choose "Format Cells," and pick "Date" from the list of options.

Can I filter by date ranges?

Yes, use the "Between" option under "Date Filters" to specify a range.

Why is my filter not working?

Ensure your dates are correctly formatted and that no cells are empty within your selected range.

How do I reset the filter?

Click the drop-down arrow again and select "Clear Filter" to reset.

Can I filter by months or years?

Yes, you can customize your filter to show specific months or years by using the "Date Filters" menu.


  1. Open your Excel file.
  2. Select your data range.
  3. Go to the Data tab.
  4. Click the Filter button.
  5. Click the drop-down arrow on the date column.
  6. Choose date filters.
  7. Apply the filter.


Filtering by date in Excel is a powerful tool that can transform how you handle large datasets. By following the steps we’ve outlined, you can easily pinpoint the information you need, making your data analysis more effective and efficient. Whether you’re a student, a professional, or just someone looking to organize data better, mastering this skill is a game-changer. If you’re interested in learning more about Excel functions, consider exploring other helpful features, like PivotTables or VLOOKUP. Happy filtering!

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