A filter is often referred to as the process of a liquid or gas passing through a porous material like cloth or paper with the intention of removing suspended impurities or recovering solids. However, filter or filtering is applicable on a business and technological level. This includes image editing, data manipulation, computer programming, and the web.

Filters in Image Editing

Filters in image editing refer to the changing of an image’s appearance through the alteration of shades and colors of its pixels. Oftentimes, filters are used to either smooth images or enhance and detect edges in an image.

Some popular image editing software includes:

Filters in Data Manipulation

Filters in terms of data manipulation refers to the process of isolating a smaller part of one’s entire data set and using it for viewing and analysis. Filtering data can help exclude erroneous observations such as those that are biased.

Some of the data filters one can apply to large sets of data include:

  • Time periods
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Income
  • Location

Filters in Computing Programming

In computer programming, a filter is a section of code or program that is created to analyze every input and output request. The next step in the process is determined by whether or not the requests contain certain qualifying criteria, hence the program is “filtering” the data request.

Programs like these help identify the subsets of data that are appropriate to use for certain calculations. They are especially useful if one needs to comb through large amounts of data, like data based on geographic locations.

Web Filtering

Web filtering is the process that prevents users from viewing specific websites or URLs. This is usually done by preventing browsers from being able to load the pages from their websites. Oftentimes, parents and schools use web filters to prevent offensive and inappropriate content from being shown, and businesses use them to prevent malware infection and access to sites that are not relevant to the company. There are two common types of website filters including:

  • Block list & Allow List Filters—Websites are manually entered as appropriate or inappropriate
  • Keyword and Content Filters—Filters out websites based on keywords or predefined content, like violence 

Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal is a freelance business and technology writer covering Internet technologies and online business since the late '90s.

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