SC: Filtering and Sorting

Purpose: Explain how to find and use a few spreadsheet commands.
Level: Beginner
Format: Step-by-step tutorial


Filtering determines which Matches (rows) of the spreadsheet are displayed based on filters that are applied to one or more columns in the spreadsheet. Filtering does not reorder the data, and does not delete any of the data, so you can always reset the filter(s) and display all of the Matches again.

Use AncestryDNA groups and filtering to display subsets of clusters in your tree (e.g. paternal, maternal, paternal-paternal, brick walls). If you are frustrated that you can’t read the diagram when zoomed at 25% to see the entire diagram, try filtering!

Filtering is applied to one or more columns. So you can apply criteria like:

  • Shared Centimorgans > 32
  • Shared Centimorgans < 200 AND Shared Centimorgans > 32
  • Starred
  • not Starred
  • member of Group Paternal
  • member of Group Brickwall
  • member of Brickwall AND Starred
  • Note contains “John Doe”

In the above examples, Paternal and Brickwall are AncestryDNA groups you could create; Starred is the built-in group. The Starred column is only created in the diagram if you have at least one Starred match in the diagram.

The Filter command appears in the Ribbon under:

Home tab > Sort & Filter group
Data tab > Sort & Filter group

  1. In the Sort & Filter group, select Filter (so that it is checked).
  1. You should now see a column header arrow at the bottom of each cell in the first row. If you do not see the column header arrows, try step 1 again.
  2. Click one or more column header arrows and configure the filter(s). Note that the column header arrow changes appearance to indicate there is a filter set.
  3. To modify or remove a filter, click on the column header arrow again. There is a Clear Filter button at the bottom of the column header arrow menu.

Here is Microsoft’s more detailed article on filtering.

Sorting – Ascending or Descending Order

Sorting a Shared Clustering diagram is a bad idea, as
Matches are sorted into a specific order to display the

But there are occasions we may want to, including one
tutorial in this supplement.

The Sort commands appear in the Ribbon under:

Home tab > Sort & Filter group
Data tab > Sort & Filter group

  1. Select a cell in the column you want to sort.
  2. In the Sort & Filter group, do one of the following:

To quick sort in ascending order, click Sort A to Z to sort A to Z or smallest number to largest.

To quick sort in descending order, click Sort Z to A to sort Z to A or largest number to smallest.