Sorting Records

In Access XP sorting records may seem confusing at first. This free lesson offers step-by-step instructions.

Performing a multi-field sort

Multi-field sorting allows you to define multiple fields in your sort. You specify the column to sort by, (e.g., Last Name), and within that column sort by some other specified field (e.g., First Name). For example, you could sort all of the Brown records by first name.

To sort by multiple fields:

  • Open the desired form or table in Datasheet view.
  • Move the columns to be included in the sort so they are positioned next to each other.

Moving a column in Access is similar to moving a column in Excel. Click in the column heading of one field to highlight the entire column. Then drag the entire column so it sits alongside the other column(s) to be used in the sort.

  • The column to be sorted first should be positioned to the left of the second column to be sorted, and so on.

    Column To Be Included in Sort Moved to New Position
  • Select all fields (columns) involved in the multiple sort process.

    Columns Selected in Multi-Field Sort
  • Click the Ascending or Descending button on the toolbar to sort the records (or choose RecordsSortSort Ascending or Sort Descending from the menu bar).

    Records Displayedin New Sort Order

Multiple field sorts cannot be performed in Columnar or Tabular Form view.