# How Do I Sort Data in Excel?

Learning how to sort in Excel is vital in analysing data. In our Excel classes, we will teach the most effective ways to manage and read spreadsheets; the sorting function is vital in this process. In a large worksheet it makes the data easier to read and classify the data allowing the user to arrange the worksheet into a view that is pertinent to their specific tasks.

The worksheet is a brief synopsis of clients who recently had plumbing work completed on their home or office. The Marketing Director would be interested to see how the client heard about the company and would focus on column G. The parts department would want to sort by the warranty date to ensure the parts are covered. The CEO may wish sort by service type to see where the company is making more money. The accounts receivable department would be more interested in sorting by the unpaid invoices that are highlighted in red in column H.

This Excel tutorial offers this example as a means of understanding the practical applications of sorting in Excel.

Data can be sorted in multiple ways within Excel, all of which will be covered in our online Excel courses:

• Text, either from A to Z or from Z to A.
• Numbers, smallest to largest or largest to smallest.
• Custom lists, using categories for example.
• Cell colour.
• Font colour.
• Icon set.
• Using multiple levels of sorting.

Data may be sorted by either using the sorting the entire sheet or selecting a range of cells to sort.

To sort the entire worksheet simply click on the select all button in the top right corner of the worksheet between the Rows and Columns.

Once the worksheet is selected, go to the data tab in the ribbon and click sort to display the sort dialogue box. This box allows you to quickly choose the column you wish to sort by, whether you will be sorting based on values or formatting, the order to sort by and add multiple layers.

## How Do I Sort in Excel For Just A Range of Cells?

Our Excel classes will teach you all manners of sorting your data within a workbook or spreadsheet. Sorting a range of cells within the worksheet is quite similar, but instead of clicking the select all button you will highlight the cells you wish to sort by clicking on a cell and dragging the cursor until all necessary cells are highlighted. Sorting a range of cells is highly useful if you have multiple tables within the worksheet and you only wish to sort one. In the example below, the range H16:I26 was highlighted so that the data could be sorted by balance remaining starting with the highest balance.

The original data table will remain untouched.

This was accomplished by selecting the highlighted area and opening the sort dialogue box the same as sorting the data in an entire worksheet.

• Balance was selected from the sort by menu.
• Sort on was values.
• The order we want the data listed is from largest to smallest.
• Click OK.

Text data either in a range or the entire worksheet can quickly be sorted alphabetically by selecting the data and clicking either the A to Z command or the Z to A command in the data tab in the ribbon. Text data may also be sorted by opening the sort dialogue box and under “order” choosing either A to Z or Z to A. Both methods will yield the same results. It’s just a matter of what is easiest for the user or what you are used to after undertaking Excel training.

## How Do You Sort Dates and Times?

Here you will learn how to sort in Excel based on the date. This is an incredibly handy feature that you can learn more about with further online Excel training. Select the entire worksheet and open the Sort dialogue box. Choose the date column as the sort by and choose the order, either oldest to newest or newest to oldest, then click OK.

## How Can I Sort Custom Lists in Excel?

Custom lists are frequently used for non-numerical measurements. For example, a coffee shop may have a column with sizes small, medium and large. To sort the data, you couldn’t use alphabetical sorting or value sorting, but you could create a custom sort that places the data in the order you designate.

With our example worksheet, let’s say the marketing director wants to sort how the customer heard about the company based on the cost of the marketing. In order from most expensive to least expensive the company’s marketing campaigns are advertising, radio commercial, networking, and then customer referral.

1. Select the entire worksheet by clicking the select all button.
2. In the data tab of the ribbon select sort to open the sort dialogue box.
3. Choose marketing as the column to sort by.
4. Under order select custom list.
5. Make sure new list is highlighted under the custom lists.
6. In the list entries box type the different marketing campaigns as you would like them sorted pressing enter after each entry.
7. Click add to add this list to the custom lists for future sorting or simply click OK if you only want to run this list

7. Click OK to go back to the sort dialogue box.
8. Click OK on the sort dialogue box to sort the column.

The marketing director can now easily view the data to see which avenue of marketing they should invest their money.

## How to Sort in Excel Using Formatting

As mentioned earlier in this Excel lesson, another method is to sort based formatting instead of values. Data may be sorted based on font colour, cell colour or cell icon. In the example, all overdue invoices have been highlighted red in the price column. Assume that the company wishes to sort the data so that these cells are listed first.

1. Select the entire worksheet by clicking the select all button.
2. In the data tab of the ribbon select sort to open the sort dialogue box.
3. Select price as the column to sort by.
4. In the sort on menu choose cell colour.
5. The order options will list all cell colours in the worksheet, choose one colour and then directly to the right decide the order that colour will display in. In this example, we want the red cells listed first or on top.

1. Click OK.

Now, the past due amounts are quickly found, and the accounts receivable department can contact those customers for payment. Follow these same steps to sort by cell icon or font colour by only changing the sort on option.

## How Can I Do Multi-Level Sorting in Excel?

Adding levels of sorting allows you to sort by multiple columns. For instance, the company would like to sort by the type of service the customer received but would also like to sort by the warranty the customer had.

Add your first level by selecting the entire worksheet and opening the sort dialogue box.

The first level is to sort by type, to make it easy just sort it alphabetically from A to Z. However, you could make a custom list if you wanted the data in a specific order.

1. Choose type as the column in which to sort by.
2. Choose the order from A to Z.
3. Now, instead of choosing OK, click add level located at the top left in the dialogue box.
4. You will notice it now says “then by” showing it will first sort by type.
5. Choose warranty as the column to sort by.
6. Choose the same A to Z order.
7. Click OK.

At a quick glance the company can now see that most of the install jobs have a warranty of only 1 year, but most of the maintenance jobs have 5-year warranties. Adding levels when sorting data creates an even deeper understanding and organising of the data.

Note: If data isn’t sorting properly, first check the sort dialogue box to make sure there aren’t levels of sorting turned on that you do not wish to have. You can delete a level by selecting it and clicking delete level and OK.

Now you know how to sort in Excel in several ways; if you need further support, don’t forget to look into getting more Excel training.

## Excel Classes Will Teach You How to Sort Like a Pro

Through our online Excel classes, even the most inexperienced of Excel users can become experts at the program. With enough diligence and time spent learning the finer points of Microsoft Excel, such as sorting the data in your work, anybody can become a pro. If you need help in understanding the details of this segment, it might be time to look into further online Excel courses.

2018-09-19T15:49:49+00:00Excel Classes|