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When you work with a PivotTable, you'll often find that you want to locate data that contains a particular string of characters. For example, if you have monthly data, you might want to look for data that only occurs in the months of June and July. Because both of those months have the characters J-U next to each other, you can create a filter that looks for exactly those characters. This is a new capability in Excel 2010 and is called a search filter. To create a search filter, you go over to the PivotTable Field List task pane, and then you move your mouse-pointer over the field name that you want to filter.
In this case, we'll filter by Month, then click the downward-pointing black triangle that appears and then type the character string that you want to search for in the Search box. In this case, I'm looking for the characters J and U, and when I type that in, you'll see that Excel indicates the values that would be selected if we were to apply this filter. So right now, we have June and July. When I click OK, Excel applies the filter to the PivotTable.
Let's say that I'm interested in June, July, but also August. I can create a second search filter that adds on to the filter that I've already created. To do that I'll go back into the Filter menu for the Month field and then in the Search box I will type AU. And all the characters I have typed so far occur at the beginning of the month name, JU for June and July and AU for August. But the search string that I type in can occur anywhere within the field name. So for example, if I were to type in ER, then I would get December, October, November and so on.
So I have typed in AU and August is displayed. If I check the Add current selection to filter box and then click OK, Excel adds the month of August to the filter. If I want to remove the filter, I can click the Month header's down-arrow and click Clear Filter From Month and when I do, Excel removes the filter. The filters I have created so far using the Search capability are the equivalent of what is called a contains filter. In other words, we're looking for values that contain the letters JU in that order.
If you want to create the inverse of this type of filter, you can create a does not contain filter. So let's say that I want to exclude any month that has the characters ER in its name. To do that, I can click the Month header's down arrow, point to Label Filter, because I'm filtering based on values in the label area, and then in the list of filters that are available, I can click Does Not Contain. Now, I can type in the characters ER, and again they can occur anywhere in the Month name, click OK, and Excel lists the data based on that filter.
Again, to remove the filter, just click the Month header's down arrow and click Clear Filter From Month. Search filters help you limit the data in your PivotTable to those values that contain a specific text string. If you find you want to exclude items that contain a common text string, you can also create a Does Not Contain filter to limit your data that way.
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