Filter function not working

Copper Contributor



I am trying to filter data from one sheet to another in Excel. I want the range for the formula to include whole columns as I want it to be a living filter. This in the past has resulted in a 0 at the bottom right of the array due to the blank cells it's trying to  which I have been okay with and ignored. 


This time, however, it's populating the other cells in that last row with the 0, with duplicate info from further up the array. I have tried several things to get rid of this, including nesting the filter function in a unique function, for changing the way the filter acts towards blank cells, and nothing has resulted in getting rid of the unwanted row. 


Any suggestions?

3 Replies


It sounds like you are encountering issues with the FILTER function handling blank cells and duplicating information when filtering across entire columns. Here are some steps you can take to troubleshoot and resolve this issue:

Use FILTER with a Condition to Exclude Blanks

Make sure your FILTER function explicitly excludes blank cells. You can do this by adding a condition to the FILTER function.

=FILTER(A:C, (A:A <> "") * (B:B <> ""))

This formula will filter columns A to C and exclude rows where column A or B is blank.

Use UNIQUE to Remove Duplicates

If you are getting duplicates, nesting the FILTER function inside the UNIQUE function should help:

=UNIQUE(FILTER(A:C, (A:A <> "") * (B:B <> "")))

Combine with IF to Handle Blanks More Effectively

If the above does not solve the issue, you can combine FILTER with IF to ensure the last row with zeros is removed:

=IFERROR(FILTER(A:C, (A:A <> "") * (B:B <> "")), "")

This will return an empty result instead of errors, which might help with the unwanted rows at the bottom.

Example Scenario

Assume your data is in columns A, B, and C on Sheet1, and you want to filter it onto Sheet2.


Column A

Column B

Column C











Use the following formula in the target cell (e.g., A1) on Sheet2:

=IFERROR(UNIQUE(FILTER(Sheet1!A:C, (Sheet1!A:A <> "") * (Sheet1!B:B <> ""))), "")

Additional Considerations

  1. Check for Hidden Characters: Sometimes, hidden characters like spaces or non-breaking spaces can cause cells to appear blank when they are not. Use TRIM and CLEAN to remove these:

=IFERROR(UNIQUE(FILTER(Sheet1!A:C, (TRIM(CLEAN(Sheet1!A:A)) <> "") * (TRIM(CLEAN(Sheet1!B:B)) <> ""))), "")

  1. Data Validation: Ensure that your data doesn't have inconsistent data types or hidden formatting issues.
  2. Excel Version: Make sure you are using a version of Excel that supports dynamic arrays and the FILTER function (Excel 365 or Excel 2019).

Debugging Tips

  • Check Intermediate Results: Break down your formula and check intermediate results to see where the issue might be occurring.
  • Formula Auditing: Use Excel's formula auditing tools to trace and evaluate the formula steps.

By following these steps, you should be able to create a dynamic filter that excludes blank cells and avoids duplicating information. The text, steps and functions were created with the help of AI.

All formulas are untested, it is always recommended to make a backup of the existing file in advance before using the above formulas.


My answers are voluntary and without guarantee!


Hope this will help you.

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I had already tried a few of your suggestions, and tried the ones I hadn't and the problem still persists. 


I tried deleting the row that it is duplicating from, but that didn't work either. I tried to make sure there was nothing weird in the cells themselves by reentering the information - didn't work. I had ChatGPT spit out a few things for me to try, and none of those worked. 


Unfortunately, I can't help you there either. What I would recommend is that you add additional information such as Excel version, operating system, storage medium, etc. Attaching a file (without sensitive information) to it would help even more.