Sorting and Filtering Records

When working in Access sort data to make it easier to work with. In Access filter data as well so you see only what you want to see.

About sorting and filtering

Video: Sorting and Filtering in Access 2010

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Essentially, sorting and filtering are tools that let you organize your data. When you sort data, you are putting it in order. Filtering data lets you hide unimportant data and focus only on the data you're interested in.

Sorting records

When you sort records, you are putting them into a logical order, with similar data grouped together. As a result, sorted data is often simpler to read and understand than unsorted data. By default, Access sorts records by their ID numbers. However, there are many other ways records can be sorted. For example, the information in a database belonging to a bakery could be sorted in several ways:

You can sort both text and numbers in two ways: in ascending order and descending order. Ascending means going up, so an ascending sort will arrange numbers from smallest to largest and text from A to Z. Descending means going down, or largest to smallest for numbers and Z to A for text. The default ID number sort that appears in your tables is an ascending sort, which is why the lowest ID numbers appear first.

In our example, we will be performing a sort on a table. However, you can sort records in any Access object. The procedure is largely the same.

To sort records:

  1. Select a field in the cell you want to sort by. In this example, we will sort by customers' last names.
    Selecting a field by clicking on its titleSelecting a field by clicking on its title
  2. Click the Home tab on the Ribbon, and locate the Sort & Filter group.
  3. Sort the field by selecting the Ascending or Descending command.


    • Select Ascending to sort text A to Z or to sort numbers from smallest to largest. We will select this in our example because we want the last names to be in A-to-Z order.
    • Select Descending to sort text Z to A or to sort numbers from largest to smallest.
    The Ascending and Descending Sort commandsThe Ascending and Descending Sort commands
  4. The table will now be sorted by the selected field.
    The same table, with an ascending sort applied to the Last Name fieldThe same table, with an ascending sort applied to the Last Name field
  5. To save the new sort, click the Save command on the Quick Access toolbar.
    Saving the sortSaving the sort

After you save the sort, the records will stay sorted that way until you perform another sort or remove the current one. To remove a sort, simply click the Remove Sort command.

Removing the sortRemoving the sort