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Slicer Vs Filter In Google Sheets (Which Should You Use)

Slicers are like magic buttons that help you easily understand your data. They are way cooler than regular filters because they let you play with your data in a fun and easy way. You can use them to make awesome reports and dashboards that people will love.

This tutorial will show you everything you need to know about Slicer vs filter in Google Sheets. We’ll explain what they are, how they work, and how to use them step by step with a practice database. It’s going to be a breeze. 

Slicer in Google Sheets: What Exactly Does It Mean?

A Slicer in Google Sheets, also known as a Data Slicer, is like a supercharged filter tool that makes working with your data a breeze, especially if you’re new to spreadsheets. Imagine it as a colorful and easy-to-use control panel for your data.

Here’s how it works: Instead of fiddling with complicated filter settings one by one, a Slicer allows you to pick multiple filters at once, all with a simple click. Each filter option is like a different button on your control panel, and they can be color-coded and clearly marked so you can see exactly what filters are active.

Now, where does the name “Slicer” come from? Think of it as a magical slicing tool that lets you cut through your data to focus on a specific piece. It’s like you have a big pizza of data, and the Slicer helps you grab just one delicious slice.

And here’s the best part: Slicers work not only with regular tables but also with pivot tables and charts right on the same worksheet. This means you can zoom in on just the data you need, making your spreadsheet work more efficiently and less overwhelming, especially when you’re dealing with lots of information. 

Slicer vs Filter in Google Sheets: A Comparative Analysis

Before we jump into the practical aspect of today’s guide, let’s quickly review the differences between slicers and filters in Google Sheets.

Filters: Filters in Google Sheets are sophisticated data manipulation tools. They allow users to selectively display or conceal specific data points in a dataset according to predetermined criteria. Filters operate discreetly, modifying the data’s visibility while retaining its original format and structure. Think of filters as analytical agents that work behind the scenes to refine data presentation.

Slicers: In contrast, Slicers in Google Sheets offer a highly interactive and user-friendly approach to data analysis. They provide a graphical interface, often resembling buttons or dropdown menus, which enable users to instantly and intuitively filter data.

Slicers refine data visibility and enhance the user experience by simplifying the process. They are particularly valuable for creating dynamic, interactive reports and dashboards.

To summarize:

  • Filters are data refinement tools that operate discreetly and are ideal for fine-tuning data presentation.
  • Slicers are user-centric, interactive components that simplify data filtering and are instrumental in creating engaging, interactive, data-driven reports.

How to Use Slicer in Google Sheets

Having provided some background on slicer vs filter in Google Sheets, let’s quickly look at how to use slicer in Google Sheets. 

But before we break down the step-by-step process, let’s quickly look at a use case/scenario for some context: 

Scenario/Use Case

Imagine you’re a sales manager at an electronics store, responsible for tracking product performance and generating monthly reports. You have a huge spreadsheet filled with a year’s worth of sales data, and it feels overwhelming. You need a way to dive into this data, extract insights, and make sense of it all.

Enter the Slicer:

In Google Sheets, a Slicer acts like a control panel. Instead of dealing with complex filters individually, it lets you pick multiple filters with a single click. Each filter is like a colorful button on your control panel, making it easy to manage your data. 

Think of it as a dashboard for your sales data. This Slicer helps you focus on specific products, timeframes, or regions, just like a magic pizza cutter slicing through the data jungle to find the information you need. 

Plus, it works seamlessly with different data formats, from tables to charts, all in the same worksheet. 

Whether you’re identifying top-selling products, comparing sales over months, or exploring regional trends, Slicers are your trusty companions for making sense of your sales data.

To demonstrate how slicers work in Google Sheets, we will use the following sample data: 

Now that we have our data sorted out, let’s get down to business. 

Step 1: Select Your Data 

Let’s begin by selecting the data range we want to filter using a slicer. For this example, we will highlight the entire data set in our spreadsheet.

Step 2: Data > Slicer

Having selected the range of data you want to add a slicer to in your spreadsheet, navigate to the Data menu. From the option available, select Slicer. 

If you followed the steps we detailed above, your spreadsheet should look something like this: 

Step 3: Customize the Slicer

After selecting the option for Slicer, Google Sheets will launch the slicer panel to the extreme right of your spreadsheet. This is where the magic happens. Here, you can customize your Slicer’s appearance and behavior. 

What we want to do here is select the column we want to use as the filter. For this example, let’s choose Region as the column we want to filter. 

With the options for Region now selected, Google Sheets should update the slicer button to reflect these changes. Here, take a look at our spreadsheet. 

Step 4: Test The Slicer

Now that we’ve picked the column we want to work with using the Slicer, let’s try it to see how it functions. In this example, we want to use the Slicer to sort sales data specifically for the East region. 

To make that happen, we’ll do a simple click on the drop-down button near “All,” and we’ll remove the checks from all the other regions so only “East” is left checked.

Once we’ve done that, Google Sheets will automatically adjust our spreadsheet to show only the sales numbers for the East region. 

For a better understanding, you can watch the video below. It’ll show you exactly how it works.

Note: We used this example to demonstrate how Slicers work in Google Sheets to filter your data. Don’t hesitate to try out this handy feature in Google Sheets to organize and filter your data as you need easily. It’s a helpful tool that makes working with data a lot simpler. 

Final Thoughts 

In this beginner-friendly guide on slicer vs filter in Google Sheets, we’ve explored the powerful world of Slicers and filters and how they can make your data management tasks a breeze.

We started off by mentioning that slicers are like magic buttons that help you easily understand your data. They are way cooler than regular filters because they let you play with your data in a fun and easy way. You can use them to make awesome reports and dashboards that people will love.

Whether you’re new to spreadsheets or an experienced user, Slicers are your go-to companions for making sense of your data effortlessly. So, go ahead and explore this unique feature in Google Sheets—it’s sure to make your data-handling experience enjoyable and productive.

Other Related Google Sheets Tutorials

  1. What Is A Slicer In Google Sheets & How to Add/Use One
  2. How to Use the SORTN Function in Google Sheets (With Examples)
  3. How to Use the UNIQUE function in Google Sheets (With Examples)
  4. How to Create & Use a Filter View in Google Sheets
  5. How to Filter Rows & Columns in Google Sheets
  6. How to Sort Pivot Table in Google Sheets
  7. How to Sort by Last Name in Google Sheets
  8. How to Sort Alphabetically in Google Sheets
  9. How to Sort by Number in Google Sheets (Sort by Value)