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Sorting By Columns In Excel

Key Takeaway:

  • Sorting is a fundamental task in Excel, and it can help you manipulate data in useful ways. Understanding the basics of sorting, including how to select a range of cells and how to choose a sort order, is key to mastering this task.
  • In addition to basic sorting, Excel also offers more advanced sorting techniques. For example, you can sort by multiple columns, which enables you to sort data based on multiple criteria. You can also sort by date and by color, which can be useful for tracking time-sensitive or visually distinct data points.
  • Excel pros can take sorting to the next level by using custom lists, sorting by multiple criteria, and sorting with formulas. These advanced techniques can help you manage large datasets and quickly identify patterns in your data.

Discover an easy trick to help you quickly and effectively organize data in Excel. You can save time and make your work stand out with this simple sorting technique. Taking just a few moments to learn, you can confidently navigate Excel and sort columns with ease.

A Comprehensive Guide to Sorting in Excel

Excel is now a must-have for data analysis and management. As a professional writer, I find sorting through data to be a long yet necessary process. In this guide, let’s explore the art of sorting in Excel! We’ll start with the basics: selecting data, sorting options, and how to undo/delete sorts. Then, let’s dive deeper: learn about sorting by color, icon, custom sorting, and filtering. By the end of this guide, you’ll be able to sort columns like an expert!

A Comprehensive Guide to Sorting in Excel-Sorting by Columns in Excel,

Image credits: by Harry Arnold

The Basics of Sorting

Sorting is a process of arranging data into a particular order based on one or more criteria. To sort columns in Excel, click anywhere inside your table range and go to the “Data” tab in the ribbon menu. Click “Sort” and choose which column you’d like to sort by. You can also select multiple columns to sort by clicking “Add Level”.

Sorting is a powerful tool used across various industries. It dates back centuries to when ancient Greeks maintained scrolls with alphabetical index references.

We will now learn about different types of sorting in Excel. These include:

  • Filtering data based on conditionals;
  • Converting text data into numeric values before sorting;
  • Customizing sorts based on certain rules or formulas; and
  • Much more.

Understanding Different Types of Sorting in Excel

We can show this info in a table:

Type of Sorting Description
Alphabetical Sort Orders data alphabetically by text or number.
Numerical Sort Orders data numerically by value.
Date/Time Sort Orders data chronologically by date or time.
Custom List Sort Orders data based on custom lists made by user.

Alphabetical Sorting is good for things like names, addresses, and other text-based values. Numerical Sorting is best for financial figures, grades, and other numerical values. Date/Time Sorting helps with chronology, like invoices, stock prices, and project deadlines. Custom List Sorting allows for unique lists that don’t have a pattern.

To make sorting smoother, format the data first. Remove any extra characters, leading/trailing spaces, and make sure each column has the same format.

Next up: Sort by Columns: Everything You Need to Know.

Sort by Columns: Everything You Need to Know

Sorting data can be a total life-saver when you are working with large Excel files. Keeping it organized is not always easy. Luckily, Excel gives us a bunch of sorting options. In this section, we’ll discuss all you need to know about sorting by columns. This includes step-by-step guides, tips and tricks, techniques, and best practices. Let’s explore the ways to sort data by columns!

Sort by Columns: Everything You Need to Know-Sorting by Columns in Excel,

Image credits: by Harry Woodhock

Sorting by One Column: Step-by-Step Guide

Do you want to sort data by one column in Excel? Follow these steps:

  1. Select the column;
  2. Click “Data” tab;
  3. Choose “Sort A-Z” or “Sort Z-A”;
  4. Your data is sorted.

Sorting by one column can be handy. For example, compare sales of products or see how many employees have each job title.

Pro Tip: Make sure all data is formatted the same. Else, results may not be accurate.

Now you know how to sort by one column. Let’s move on to sorting by multiple columns.

Sorting by Multiple Columns: Tips and Tricks

Pick your columns and head to Data tab. Click on Sort. A Sort dialog box will appear. Default sorting is from A-Z or smallest to largest.

If you wish to change the order, add criteria in descending or ascending. For instance, for sales data sorted by date and region, first sort by date descending, then region ascending.

You can also create custom sort lists. For e.g., when products start with numbers and letters (e.g., 5A Energy), Excel may not sort them correctly. Custom sort lists can fix this.

Managing large datasets in Excel is key. Master sorting by multiple columns to avoid missing out on important info and errors.

Finally, learn how to organize dates with formatting and formulas!

Sorting by Date: Techniques and Best Practices

To sort a table by the Sale Date column in ascending order, highlight the entire dataset. Then, go to the Data tab in the Excel ribbon and select the Sort button. In the Sort dialog box, select “Sale Date” under Column drop-down menu. Choose either “Oldest to Newest” or “Newest to Oldest“, and click “OK“.

It is important to keep best practices in mind when sorting by dates. For large datasets spanning several years, make sure the dates are entered into Excel with correct formatting for organization.

When sorting by multiple criteria, aim to minimize human error. Select each column you want sorted separately.

If you are dealing with date formats other than dd/mm/yyyy or mm/dd/yyyy, use the Text-to-Columns feature under Data tab for separating columns representing date values.

Sorting by Color: Conditional Formatting can be done after Sorting by Date.

Sorting by Color: How to Use Excel’s Conditional Formatting

If you want to apply conditional formatting to a range of cells, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the “Conditional Formatting” button from the “Home” tab in the top ribbon.
  2. Choose “Highlight Cells Rules” from the dropdown menu and select “More Rules.”
  3. Under “Select a Rule Type,” choose “Format only cells that contain.”
  4. Set your condition for highlighting, including your choice of color.

Coloring important data entries with vibrant colors can be a great way to organize and make sense of large datasets. However, it’s important not to use too many colors as that might detract from analyzing data.

Excel’s conditional formatting has been available since 1997.

For more advanced sorting techniques, AutoFilter and custom sort orders such as multiple criteria definitions or grouping alternate rows or columns can be used. The next heading will discuss how these techniques work.

Advanced Sorting Techniques for Excel Pros

You an Excel wizard? Ready to skyrocket your sorting skills? Let’s take a plunge into the advanced sorting techs and save time while creating precise data sets. Here, we’ll look into the details of sorting by custom lists, multiple criteria, and formulas. These will help you group data in a way that works for your needs. Follow me as I lead you through the best strategies for dominating Excel’s sorting super-powers!

Advanced Sorting Techniques for Excel Pros-Sorting by Columns in Excel,

Image credits: by Yuval Washington

Sorting with Custom Lists: What You Need to Know

Custom Lists in Excel can be effective tools for sorting. You can create your own order of values for Excel to use. This saves time and makes data better organized.

To create a Custom List:

  1. Click on the “File” tab.
  2. Select “Options”.
  3. Click “Advanced”.
  4. Scroll to the “General” section.
  5. Click “Edit Custom Lists” button.
  6. Follow the prompts to create a list.

When sorting data, select the column and click on “Sort A-Z” or “Sort Z-A”. Select a custom list and Excel will sort accordingly.

Note: Custom Lists are specific to each installation of Excel. If shared with someone else, they may not see the same results. To avoid this, copy and paste the list into another installation of Excel.

Sorting by Multiple Criteria is an advanced technique. Select data, click on “Sort & Filter”. Choose “Custom Sort” and “Add Level”. Then select the column or condition, and ascending/descending order. You can add additional levels of sorting. Note: Sorting by multiple criteria takes time. Use a pivot table to speed up the process.

Sorting by Multiple Criteria: A Complete Guide

Creating an orderly spreadsheet is essential for Excel pros. Sorting data with multiple criteria is a great way to organize it. This means you can arrange the info alphabetically, numerically, or chronologically.

Let’s look at an example table with Name, Date of Birth, and Salary columns. Sorting by Name will show all names in alphabetical order. The Date of Birth column will show the ages in order from oldest to youngest.

Sorting by Multiple Criteria can be done two ways. The Sort dialogue box allows you to use any number of criteria. Custom sorting lets you customize up to three sort levels.

Organizing tables with many categories makes it easier to analyze data quickly. It also saves time and helps decisions.

A friend in the HR department told me how a phone call helped him sort CVs. He was struggling, but thanks to one call, he finished in minutes instead of an hour.

Sorting by Multiple Criteria is useful for multiple sets of data. Now let’s look at sorting with formulas, a technique for Excel Gurus to automate certain tasks.

Sorting with Formulas: Proven Techniques for Excel Gurus

If you’re a Excel whiz aiming to sharpen your sorting talents, this section has some great tips. Pro Excel users often use sorting formulas to precisely and quickly sort data. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Highlight the column or range of cells to sort.
  2. Go to the “Data” tab at the top of the Excel window.
  3. Tap on “Custom Sort” in the “Sort & Filter” area.
  4. Pick your sorting column from the “Sort By” dropdown.

Make sorting easier with these techniques:

  • Use multiple criteria for complicated sorts.
  • Employ pivot tables for multi-level sorts.
  • Master keyboard shortcuts for speedy sorting.

With these tips, you can easily manage large amounts of data. For more sorting help, stay tuned for our next section on troubleshooting common issues.

Troubleshooting Sorting Issues in Excel

Sorting data in Excel is something we all do often. But what if something goes wrong? Let’s get practical with a few tricks to help tackle sorting problems.

We’ll look at three sections. First, how to fix sorting issues like an expert. Second, tips and best practices to avoid sorting problems. Last, using the Sort Warning feature in Excel to keep track of sorting errors.

Troubleshooting Sorting Issues in Excel-Sorting by Columns in Excel,

Image credits: by Joel Woodhock

How to Troubleshoot Sorting Problems Like a Pro

Troubleshooting sorting problems in Excel like a pro requires some straightforward steps.

Firstly, make sure your data has no blank rows or columns. This is vital, as blank rows and columns can lead to unexpected results while sorting. Carefully examine merged cells too, as they could cause errors and incorrect results. Additionally, have a look at any filters applied to the data set. These can affect the sorting order. Also check that each column has the same number format. Different number formats may create problems in sorting.

Finally, be aware of formulas or hyperlinks present in the data. These may interfere with the sorting process, resulting in incorrect results.

To prevent sorting issues, it’s best to start by cleaning the dataset. Remove all blank rows/columns and merge/unmerge cells as required. Make a copy of the unsorted original file for backup purposes before attempting any modifications. That way, if an erroneous glitch is made, you can revert back.

Follow our guide to identify and fix common problems quickly, and learn best practices and tips to avoid them.

Preventing Sorting Issues: Best Practices and Tips

Backup your unsorted data, just in case! Remove filters and formatting, or it could cause errors. Don’t merge cells – it will make sorting harder. Check for hidden rows, columns, or sheets – make sure everything is visible. Check the sort settings – column selection, order, case, and expansion are important. Adjust formulas if needed. Conditional formatting and helper columns can be helpful. For big data, use tables instead of ranges for easier organization.

Using the Sort Warning Feature: How to Stay on Top of Sorting Errors

The Sort Warning feature in Excel is a useful tool. It helps keep sorting errors away. You can save time, energy, and money by using it.

To use the Sort Warning feature:

  1. Select “Data Analysis” under the “Data” tab.
  2. Click “Sort”.
  3. Select “My list has headers” and check sorting criteria.
  4. Enable the “Sort Warning” feature.
  5. If you get a warning message, double-check the sorting criteria.

By using these two methods together, your Excel data will stay organized. It also saves time by avoiding errors. So, always use the Sort Warning feature when working with Excel columns. It can help you improve your skills and prevent costly mistakes.

Five Facts About Sorting by Columns in Excel:

  • ✅ Sorting by columns allows you to arrange data in order, making it easier to analyze and find specific items. (Source: Microsoft)
  • ✅ Excel provides multiple ways to sort data, including by text, numbers, dates, and custom lists. (Source: Excel Easy)
  • ✅ You can sort by multiple columns at once, allowing you to further refine your data analysis. (Source: Spreadsheeto)
  • ✅ Sorting by columns can help identify and eliminate duplicates in your data. (Source: Ablebits)
  • ✅ Excel also allows you to sort by color, font, and icon, which can be helpful for visual analysis. (Source: Exceljet)

FAQs about Sorting By Columns In Excel

1. How to sort data by columns in Excel?

To sort data by columns in Excel, follow these steps:

  1. Select the column you want to sort by clicking the column header.
  2. Click the “Sort & Filter” button in the “Editing” group on the “Home” tab.
  3. Choose whether you want to sort in ascending or descending order.
  4. Click “Sort A to Z” or “Sort Z to A.”

2. Can I sort multiple columns in Excel?

Yes, you can sort by multiple columns in Excel. Follow these steps:

  1. Select the data range you want to sort.
  2. Click the “Sort & Filter” button in the “Editing” group on the “Home” tab.
  3. Click “Custom Sort.”
  4. In the “Sort” dialog box, specify the first and second sorting criteria under “Column” and “Sort On.”
  5. Choose whether you want to sort in ascending or descending order under “Order.”
  6. Click “OK.”

3. What is the difference between sorting and filtering in Excel?

Sorting in Excel rearranges data in a table based on the values in one or more columns. Filtering, on the other hand, displays only the data that meets certain criteria and hides the rest.

4. How do I remove sorting by columns in Excel?

To remove sorting in Excel, follow these steps:

  1. Select the data range that you want to remove sorting from.
  2. Click the “Sort & Filter” button in the “Editing” group on the “Home” tab.
  3. Click “Clear.”

5. Can I sort data by color in Excel?

Yes, you can sort data by color in Excel. Follow these steps:

  1. Select the data range you want to sort.
  2. Click the “Sort & Filter” button in the “Editing” group on the “Home” tab.
  3. Click “Custom Sort.”
  4. In the “Sort” dialog box, click the “Options” button.
  5. Under “Sort by Color When Using Cell and Font Color,” choose the color to sort by.
  6. Choose whether you want to sort in ascending or descending order under “Order.”
  7. Click “OK.”

6. Can I undo sorting in Excel?

Yes, you can undo sorting in Excel by clicking “Undo” or by pressing “Ctrl + Z” immediately after sorting.