Sorting Data

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

Sorting multiple levels

Another feature of custom sorting—sorting multiple levels—allows you to identify which columns to sort by and when, giving you more control over the organization of your data. For example, you could sort by more than one cell color—such as red, then yellow, then green, to indicate different levels of priority—or, as seen below, you could sort students by homeroom number, then by last name.

To add a level:

  1. From the Data tab, click the Sort command to open the Sort dialog box.
  2. Identify the first item you want to Sort by. In this example, we will sort Homeroom # from Smallest to Largest.
  3. Click Add Level to add another item.
    Adding a levelAdding a level
  4. Identify the item you want to sort by next. We will sort Last Name from A to Z.
    Choosing criteria for a second levelChoosing criteria for a second level
  5. Click OK.
  6. The spreadsheet will be sorted so homeroom numbers are in order, and within each homeroom, that students are listed alphabetically by last name.
    Sorted by multiple levelsSorted by multiple levels

Copy Level will add a level by duplicating the one you have selected and allowing you to modify the sorting criteria. This is useful if you need to sort multiple levels that share some criteria, such as the same Column, Sort On, or Order.

To change the sorting priority:

  1. From the Data tab, click the Sort command to open the Custom Sort dialog box.
  2. Select the level you want to reorder.
  3. Use the Move Up or Move Down arrows. The higher the level is on the list, the higher its priority.
    Changing the sorting priorityChanging the sorting priority
  4. Click OK.