django-filter – Data Filtering in Django and How to use it

Django is a powerful web framework that makes it easy to create web applications with complex data models. One common requirement in web development is ability to filter and search for specific data in a database. While Django provides a rich set of tools for working with databases, filtering data can still be bit of a challenge, especially when dealing with complex querysets. This is where django-filter comes to the rescue.

Django-filter is a third-party library that simplifies the process of filtering data in Django applications. In this blog post, we’ll explore what django-filter is, how it works, and how it can make your life easier as a Django developer.

What is django-filter?

Django-filter is an open-source library that provides a high-level, user-friendly API for filtering querysets in Django applications. It allows you to create powerful, customizable filters for your data models with minimal code. Django-filter provides a way to generate filter forms and apply filter criteria to querysets, making it much easier to implement search and filtering functionality in your web applications.

Key Features of django-filter:

  1. Filtering by Fields: With django-filter, you can easily create filters based on the fields of your model. You can filter by text, numbers, dates, and more, using various lookup types.
  2. Custom Filters: You can define custom filters that go beyond the basic field lookups This allows you to implement complex filtering logic tailored to your application’s needs.
  3. Combining Filters: Django-filter allows you to combine multiple filters and apply them to a queryset, making it easy to create complex filter forms with various criteria.
  4. Integration with Django Forms: django-filter seamlessly integrates with Django forms, which means you can use form handling techniques for rendering and processing filter forms.
  5. Support for REST APIs: If you’re building RESTful APIs with Django, django-filter provides integration with Django REST framework, making it easy to expose filtering options to API clients.

Getting Started with django-filter

Let’s dive into a simple example to get a better understanding of how django-filter works. Suppose you have a Django model representing books and you want to implement a search feature to filter books by title and author.

  1. Installation: First, install django-filter using pip:
   pip install django-filter
  1. Define a Filter Class: Create a filter class that defines the filtering options for your model. This class should inherit from django_filters.FilterSet. Here’s a basic example:
   import django_filters

   from .models import Book

   class BookFilter(django_filters.FilterSet):
       title = django_filters.CharFilter(lookup_expr='icontains')
       author = django_filters.CharFilter(lookup_expr='icontains')

       class Meta:
           model = Book
           fields = []

In this example, we define two filters, title and author, and use the ‘icontains’ lookup type, which performs a case-insensitive partial match.

  1. Apply Filters in a View: In your view, create an instance of your filter class and apply it to a queryset of books. Then, pass the filtered queryset to your template:
   from django.shortcuts import render
   import django_filters

   from .models import Book
   from .filters import BookFilter

   def book_list(request):
       queryset = Book.objects.all()
       book_filter = BookFilter(request.GET, queryset=queryset)
       return render(request, 'books/book_list.html', {'filter': book_filter})
  1. Create a Template: In your template, render the filter form and display the filtered results:
   <form method="get">
       {{ filter.form.as_p }}
       <input type="submit" value="Filter">

       {% for book in filter.qs %}
           <li>{{ book.title }} by {{ }}</li>
       {% endfor %}

By following these steps you have a fully functional filtering system for your books. Users can search for books by title and author using the filter form, and the results will be displayed accordingly.

Customization and Advanced Features

Django-filter provides many customization options and advanced features for building complex filters. Here are some advanced features you can explore:

  1. Custom Filters: You can create custom filters by defining methods in your filter class. This allows you to implement unique filtering logic tailored to your application’s needs.
  2. Combining Filters: You can combine multiple filters and apply them to a queryset. For example, you can create a filter form with both ‘AND’ and ‘OR’ logic, allowing users to refine their search criteria.
  3. Form Integration: Integrate your filter forms with Django forms for a seamless user experience. This includes form validation, CSRF protection, and more.
  4. Django REST Framework Integration: If you’re building APIs, django-filter integrates seamlessly with Django REST framework, allowing you to expose filtering options to API clients.


Django-filter is powerful library that simplifies data filtering in Django applications. Whether you’re building web applications with complex data models or RESTful APIs, django-filter can save you a significant amount of development time and effort. It provides a user-friendly API, supports custom filters, and seamlessly integrates with Django forms and Django REST framework, making it a valuable tool for Django developers.

By incorporating django-filter into your projects, you can provide your users with efficient search and filtering capabilities, enhancing the usability and functionality of your Django applications.