When you have a large sheet full of data, using the Google Sheets filter and sort features can help you find what you need. If you use color to make data pop, you can filter or sort using that color.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve added color manually or set up a conditional formatting rule. You can use both the filter and sort features based on the colors in your sheet. What’s even better is that you can use the fill color for a cell or font color for text.

Filter by Color in Google Sheets

If you want to filter data, meaning only see data that meets your color criteria, start by selecting the cells.

RELATED: How to Filter in Google Sheets

Go Data > Create a Filter in the menu or click the Create a Filter button in the toolbar.

Create a filter in Google Sheets

This places a filter button in your column header. Click that button to apply the filter.

Filter button in a column header

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Move your cursor to Filter by Color. In the pop-out menu, go to Fill Color or Text Color and choose the color. You’ll only see the colors used in your sheet as available options.

Filter by color options in Google Sheets

You’ll then see your data update to only show those cells containing either the fill or text color you select.

Filtered by color

When you finish, you can choose a different filter option using the button in the header. Alternatively, turn off the filter by selecting Data > Remove Filter in the menu or by clicking the Remove Filter button in the toolbar.

Remove a filter

Sort by Color in Google Sheets

Maybe you don’t want to filter out data but see it all only sorted. You can sort data by color using the Filter tool as well.

RELATED: How to Sort in Google Sheets

Before you add a filter, be sure to select all the data that you want to sort. For instance, if you have two columns as in our example, you’ll want to select them both. If you only select the one column containing colors, the sort only applies to that column. This causes a mismatch of the data.

Apply a filter as described above to display the filter buttons in the column headers.

Create a filter to sort by color

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Click the button for the column you want to sort by and move your cursor to Sort by Color. Go to Fill Color or Text Color in the pop-out menu and then pick the color. Again, only the colors used in your sheet are available options.

Sort by color options

You’ll see your data update and sorted by the column and color you chose.

Sorted by color

When you finish, remove the filter as explained above. You can choose Data > Remove Filter in the menu or the Remove Filter button in the toolbar. Keep in mind that your data remains sorted this way unless you sort it again.

Colors are useful for more than making data stand out in your spreadsheet. You can use those colors to filter or sort your data as needed. For more, take a look at how to apply a color scale based on value in Google Sheets.

Profile Photo for Sandy Writtenhouse Sandy Writtenhouse
With her B.S. in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She learned how technology can enrich both professional and personal lives by using the right tools. And, she has shared those suggestions and how-tos on many websites over time. With thousands of articles under her belt, Sandy strives to help others use technology to their advantage.
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