Are you tired of staring into your screen in frustration when Excel filters are not working as smoothly as they should? In managing data, it is a continuous struggle that never ends. Don’t be concerned; this extensive guide will show you the most recent solutions to Excel filter issues.

The reason why the Excel filters are not working is when there are empty cells in your data. Remove all the blank rows from your data to solve this. But if the problem persists, what methods can you apply?

 This article details that the root cause of the issue might be something else until you need a real solution. Let us discuss in depth all the possible solutions to solve your problem

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Causes of Excel filters not working: Origins & Fixes

Some of the causes of excel filters not working are:

Remove the extra blank rows

One of the main reasons Excel filters not working is because of blank rows in the worksheet. With cells that have empty spaces at the top, filters do not function properly. 


Choose the cells you wish to filter before applying the filter to correct this.

If you wish to filter a column, you can decide whether to filter the entire column or only a subset of the data. Before using this, repeat this for other columns. 

Check if you have selected the entire data

Before using the Filter function, you must select the portion of your data set that you want to use the filter or whether there are empty rows or columns in your data set.

If you can not choose the correct section, Excel may select cells from the first empty row or column, which may contain more data.


Be sure to choose all the data you need manually. Additionally, try using the filter feature to eliminate empty rows. To see filter options, click the small arrow in a column.

Return to the filter list and uncheck ‘select all.’ Look for option blanks and press OK. Now, you can view all the rows that do not have any information on them.

Their row numbers are in blue, making them stick out. After selecting rows, please right-click on the blue row numbers to delete them.

When you select delete, all rows will disappear. After finishing, turn the filter option to remove all the rows you eliminated. 

Eliminate blank rows or columns

The method and the abovementioned method remove empty cells, rows, or columns. Therefore, they are relatively comparable. Here is how to go about it:

eliminate blank rows in excel

  1. Select the filtering options filtering option
  2. Choose ‘Select all’ by checking the box, then click the dropdown arrow. Select ‘blanks’ from the menu as you scroll down. Now save blank

You can also manually delete these cells:

  1. Right-click the column or row adjacent to the empty cell.delete rows and columns
  2. Click’ delete‘ To remove the empty rows or columns.’

Watch out for merged cells

If you notice that the Excel filters not working as they should, it might be due to merged cells in your data. To address this, start by unmerging the cells. This action will separate the content of each row and column, making the filtering function operate smoothly.

doc-sort-data-with-merged-cellsYou have to be cautious if your column headers merge. It can prevent you from selecting items while filtering within those columns.

Furthermore, remember that merged rows can create difficulties when using filters. 

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Inspect column labels

Your column titles might be to blame for the filter not working in Excel. Follow the instructions to solve this problem.

  1. Determine which data only has one row or column header.
  2. Change the heading’s first line to span multiple lines.maxresdefault
  3. To add a new line inside the cell, use ALT+Enter.alt+enter

The ‘wrap text’ function is advisable since it helps format the cells. 

Examine the errors of Excel filters not working

Verify if your data is accurate. Use a number filter to filter items like your list’s top 10, above or average, below average values. If you don’t use the filter, an error will show up.

excel filters not working

It is also crucial to use the filter to correct these errors. These are at the bottom of your list. Select the mistake, then click OK. Once you have identified the error, it will become simple to correct or delete it.

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 Separate the sheets

 When you have several sheets grouped, you might encounter an issue with Excel filters not working as expected. It can prevent you from effectively using filters on tables within grouped sheets.

To do this, follow the simple steps:

  1. Right-click on the grouped sheets located at the bottom of Excel.separate excel sheets
  2. Select ‘ungroup sheets‘ to separate them.

 After you ungroup the sheets, you can use filters seamlessly on individual sheets, resolving your problem. 

Remove protection from the sheet

To do this, follow the below steps:

  1. Head over to the Excel review tab. Click on the unprotected sheet button.unprotect-sheet-in-excel
  2. If a window called unprotect sheet pops up, type the password for the worksheet into the box.
  3. Press ok.

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Create fresh filter

If some rows in your table are not filtering, consider making a new filter.


  1. Look for the data
  2. Select the clear button on the sort and filter option.
  3. Use your cursor to choose the entire column range of the table.create fresh filter
  4. Click the filter button located on Excel’s data tab. 


Why some Excel cannot Filter?

If you have hidden rows or columns on your dataset, then Excel won't apply the Filter function on these data cells. You will have to unhide any hidden rows or columns from your sheet.

Why is my advanced filter not working?

To use an advanced filter, the column headers in the data section need to match the column headers in the criteria section. For example, if your column headings are spelled differently in the data section from the criteria section, the advanced filter doesn't work.

Why is sorting not working in Excel?

Wrong Selection. If you select the wrong rows and columns or less than the full cell range that contains the information you want to sort, Microsoft Excel can't arrange your data the way you want to view it. With a partial range of cells selected, only the selection sorts. With empty cells selected, nothing happens.

How do I reset filters in Excel?

If you want to completely remove filters, go to the Data tab and click the Filter button, or use the keyboard shortcut Alt+D+F+F.


That’s all, folks! We are sure that all the methods mentioned above will be effective and that you can solve the problem of incorrect Excel filters. The good thing is Excel has various functions to help you analyze and manage data effectively.

In most cases, difficulties with filtering in Excel can be resolved by re-adding the filters or replacing them with new ones.

Which one of these solutions was most helpful to you in solving the Excel filer issue? You are welcome to share your thoughts and feedback.