Dynamic Excel Filters in Microsoft Excel

Remember that complicated home renovation and/or furniture assembly project you convinced yourself to work on independent of expert help?

If you’re anything like the average human being:

  • Any instructions appeared to be presented in every possible language except one(s) you could understand.
  • You had to make at least three trips to the hardware store to obtain the correct tools before you even opened a box.
  • At least one component was assembled incorrectly throughout the process. This resulted in you telling your significant other you were just practicing and had planned to reassemble that part later anyway.
  • You considered bribing the mail carrier with pizza and beer to come help.
  • Additional renovation projects were created by the sheer force with which you accidentally damaged completely unrelated things around the household. This may or may not include your ego.
  • Ten hours had passed and you somehow found yourself more knowledgeable of the latest origami fads and avocado toast recipes.
  • You became acutely aware there are at least three-hundred and seven different levels of frustration, each of which you distinctly named after high school bullies, demagogues, reality television shows, and in-laws.

When tasked with complicated endeavors, don’t be an average human being. Be an exceptional human being and ensure you’re set up with expert knowledge and expert help, especially if you’re attempting to create dynamically filtered dropdown lists within Microsoft Excel.

So, What Exactly Are Dynamically Filtered Dropdown Lists?

Dynamically filtered dropdown lists are dropdown lists that automatically filter based on the selections in other dropdown lists. This functionality can be extremely helpful when attempting to isolate subsets of data from large data sets that are characterized in multiple ways.

For example, imagine you have a list of thousands of food items and are tasked with creating a list of all the food items that are considered fruits and are red in color. Dynamically filtered dropdown functionality would allow you to select a food type and color categorization (in any order) to isolate a list of food items that meet the selected specifications.

So, What Knowledge Do I Need to Create This Functionality?

  • Table Structuring
    To get started with creating dynamically filterable dropdown lists, data needs to be structured in a way that allows Excel to easily identify and characterize each item. A flat structure usually works well for this.
  • Pivot Tables
    Once data has been structured, Excel pivot table functionality can be leveraged to generate unique filters and lists of each characterization/parameter.
  • Dynamic Named Ranges
    After unique lists have been generated, dynamic named ranges should be set up to encompass each unique list.
  • Data Validation Dropdowns
    To set up the dropdown lists, data validation can be added to a cell and linked to the dynamic named ranges to display a dropdown list of items.
  • Excel VBA
    The last piece of this puzzle is event-driven and VBA functionality in Excel. An Excel VBA procedure can be set up to capture changes in dropdown selections and automatically apply parameter selections to the pivot table filters. Once parameter selections have been applied to the pivot table filters, the unique list of items will update, pass through the dynamic named ranges, and display in the data validation dropdowns.

Contact Us for A Free Consultation

If dynamic dropdown list functionality would be beneficial to your Excel processes, contact us for a free consultation by calling 1-800-682-0882 or submitting an inquiry at ExcelHelp.com. After all, the latest origami fads and avocado toast recipes deserve your full attention.