Sorting Data

The Excel sort function is useful for rearranging data. When working in Excel sorting data can quickly reorganize content too.

Basic sorting

Video: Sorting Data in Excel 2010

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Sorting is a common task that allows you to change or customize the order of your spreadsheet data. For example, you could organize an office birthday list by employee, birthdate, or department, making it easier to find what you're looking for. Custom sorting takes it a step further, giving you the ability to sort multiple levels—such as department first, then birthdate—to group birthdates by department.

Optional: You can download this example for extra practice.

To sort in alphabetical order:

  1. Select a cell in the column you want to sort by. In this example, we'll sort by Last Name.
    Selecting a column to sortSelecting a column to sort
  2. Select the Data tab, then locate the Sort and Filter group.
  3. Click the ascending command sort ascending to Sort A to Z or the descending command sort ascending to Sort Z to A.
    Sorting in ascending alphabetical orderSorting in ascending alphabetical order
  4. The data in the spreadsheet will be organized alphabetically.
    Sorted by last name, from A to ZSorted by last name, from A to Z

Sorting options can also be found on the Home tab, condensed into the Sort & Filter command.

To sort in numerical order:

  1. Select a cell in the column you want to sort by.
    Selecting a column to sortSelecting a column to sort
  2. From the Data tab, click the ascending command sort ascending to Sort Smallest to Largest or the descending command sort ascending to Sort Largest to Smallest.
  3. The data in the spreadsheet will be organized numerically.
    Sorted by homeroom number, from smallest to largestSorted by homeroom number, from smallest to largest

To sort by date or time:

  1. Select a cell in the column you want to sort by.
    Selecting a column to sortSelecting a column to sort
  2. From the Data tab, click the ascending command sort ascending to Sort Oldest to Newest or the descending command sort ascending to Sort Newest to Oldest.
  3. The data in the spreadsheet will be organized by date or time.
    Sorted by payment date, from oldest to newestSorted by payment date, from oldest to newest