How to filter IMPORTRANGE

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There are many reasons to filter IMPORTRANGE results. You may want to share only some data and not an entire spreadsheet. You may need to transfer information to carry out an analysis. Whatever the case, this post will teach just how to combine these two functions.

Read on to learn how to use Google Sheets FILTER on data from another sheet.

Spreadsheets are just the start

Understanding IMPORTRANGE

The IMPORTRANGE function in Google Sheets allows you to import a range of cells from one spreadsheet into another.

This is particularly useful for sharing specific data across different sheets or with different users without giving access to the entire document.

This function is pretty straightforward. All you need is the URL of the source spreadsheet and the range within it that you want to import. Keep in mind that both of these things have to be expressed in quotation marks.

=IMPORTRANGE(spreadsheet_url, range_string)

If you want to know the ins and outs of this function, check out our detailed guide on IMPORTRANGE.

Basics of the FILTER Function

The FILTER function in Google Sheets allows you to return cells within a certain range that match a certain condition. This function is great for data analysis, as it lets you work with specific subsets of data.

You can use FILTER to display only the rows where a certain column meets a specific criterion. For example, you could use it to show only sales data for a particular region.

To use the FILTER you have to determine the data range to be filtered and one or more conditions to evaluate. 

=FILTER(range, condition1, [condition2, …])

To learn more about this function, check out our in-depth post on how to use FILTER.


There are three basic ways to work with these two functions and filter importrange results with multiple criteria. Let’s go over each one and talk about their pros and cons.

As clearly stated in Google Sheets documentation, it’s better to filter data on the source spreadsheet before importing it. We will start out with that approach and will work our way towards alternatives.

Filter first, import later

This is the best way to go about using these functions in tandem. First filter in the source spreadsheet, then import the data to the destination spreadsheet.

Think about this like having to return books to the library. It is a lot more efficient to select the books you have to return and then go to the library. Naturally, you wouldn’t take all the books you find in your house to return only some of them.

Likewise, filtering and then importing greatly reduces the processing load and will help your spreadsheets run smoothly.

However, there are cases where this isn’t an option. For example, if you only have view access to the data source. And this is where the next options will work best.

Import and filter at the same time

You could use IMPORTRANGE and FILTER within a single formula to transfer only the information you need. The basic formula would look like this:

=FILTER(IMPORTRANGE(spreadsheet_url, range_string), condition1)

When doing this, within FILTER you have to use IMPORTRANGE both for the range and for the conditions. This would be a sample formula which imports sales data and filters it to bring only items which cost more than $20.

=FILTER(IMPORTRANGE(“10-nOeSObSzpWmXhsBnCRHr3yQOr4-z9R2SMb6jD1vWE”, “sales_data!A:F”), IMPORTRANGE(“10-nOeSObSzpWmXhsBnCRHr3yQOr4-z9R2SMb6jD1vWE”, “sales_data!A:A”) > 20))

Since you have to use IMPORTRANGE for every condition, this approach can slow down the time it takes to get results.

Another issue with this approach is that you will filter out the header in the process. To solve that you could import that one line above the filtered results. Alternatively, if the source spreadsheet isn’t likely to change you could just copy-paste it.

Import first, filter later

The previous approach results in complicated formulas that are hard to keep track of. This can be easily solved by importing data to one sheet within your file and then filtering it on another one.

Common use cases

Using IMPORTRANGE and FILTER together can optimize various Google Sheets tasks. Here are some common use cases:

  • Departmental Reports: Import and display only the necessary information for each department.
  • Sales Data Analysis: Import sales data from different sheets into a central dashboard, then use FILTER to analyze data based on specific criteria.
  • Project Management: Import task data from various team spreadsheets and filter it to show only pending tasks.

These are just some of the scenarios where this combination of functions can be really helpful.

Sheetgo as an alternative solution

Using the IMPORTRANGE and FILTER functions in Google Sheets can be useful but often results in slow and cumbersome spreadsheets, especially with large datasets.

Sheetgo offers a streamlined alternative that allows you to transfer and filter data efficiently, without the hassle of managing complex formulas.

Benefits of Using Sheetgo:

  • Efficiency: Import and filter data simultaneously without performance issues.
  • Flexibility: Automate data transfers as often as needed, ensuring up-to-date information.
  • Ease of Use: User-friendly interface with no need for complex formulas.

For a detailed step-by-step guide on how to import and filter data using Sheetgo, please refer to our comprehensive tutorial.

Make your data work together


IMPORTRANGE and FILTER functions can work well together for certain tasks. But they often lead to performance issues and unnecessary complexity.

Sheetgo offers an efficient and user-friendly alternative, enabling you to import and filter data seamlessly, without the hassle of managing intricate formulas or experiencing slow spreadsheet performance.

For more advanced techniques on managing data in Google Sheets, check out our post on how to combine QUERY with IMPORTRANGE in Google Sheets.

Ready to streamline your spreadsheet data?

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