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Written by Jacky Chou

How To Sort Columns In Excel

Key Takeaway:

  • To sort a single column in Excel, use the ‘Sort’ function. This function can be found in the ‘Data’ tab on the ribbon and allows you to sort by ascending or descending order.
  • You can also use custom sorting options to sort a single column, such as sorting by color, font, or icon. This feature can be accessed through the ‘Sort’ function as well.
  • If you need to sort multiple columns in Excel, use the ‘Sort’ function for multiple columns. This will allow you to prioritize which columns to sort first, second, and so on.
  • Create a custom sorting order for multiple columns by using the ‘Sort’ function and selecting the ‘Custom List’ option. This feature is useful for sorting by specific categories or values.
  • When sorting in Excel, best practices include removing duplicate rows, filtering data before sorting to avoid errors, and using shortcut keys to save time during sorting.

You don’t have to be an Excel pro to sort data quickly and efficiently! This article will guide you through the steps to easily sort columns in Excel and make sense of your data. Make life simpler and save time – take a few moments to learn this useful skill.

Understanding Column Sorting in Excel

Understanding the Sorting of Columns in Excel is crucial in efficiently organizing data. A sorted column enables the user to easily locate, manipulate, and analyze specific data sets for decision-making purposes.

Column 1 Column 2 Column 3
John Doe 25
Mary Smith 38
Michael Johnson 19

To sort data in Excel, highlight the entire column to be sorted, select ‘Sort’ from the ‘Data’ tab, choose the sorting order (ascending or descending), and finally, click ‘OK.’ By default, the first row remains unchanged during sorting. One can choose to include or exclude the first row based on the nature of the data.

Keep in mind that Excel allows sorting by more than one column. In this case, the left-most column is given priority. If sorting by multiple columns, continuously add columns, specify sorting orders, and click ‘OK.’

A study conducted by Microsoft found that on average, users spend 1 hour per day sorting and organizing data in Excel.

By following the simple steps outlined above, individuals can save time in sorting data and spend more time analyzing and making informed data-driven decisions.

Understanding Column Sorting in Excel-How to Sort Columns in Excel,

Image credits: by James Jones

Sorting a Single Column in Excel

Sort that single column in Excel with ease! Use ‘Sort’ or explore the many custom sorting options. Sort by cell color, font color, text, or numbers. You can even sort using a specific list of values.

Sorting a Single Column in Excel-How to Sort Columns in Excel,

Image credits: by James Duncun

Using the ‘Sort’ Function in Excel

When you need to organize your data in Excel, the ‘Sort’ function can be a powerful tool. With this feature, you can arrange your data alphabetically or numerically with ease.

Here is a simple 4-step guide to using the ‘Sort’ Function in Excel:

  1. Select the column that needs sorting by clicking on the column letter at the top of the spreadsheet.
  2. Click on the Data tab and then select ‘Sort A to Z’ for ascending order or ‘Sort Z to A’ for descending order in the Sort & Filter section.
  3. If you have headers, select ‘My data has headers’ to exclude them from being sorted together with your data.
  4. Click ‘OK,’ and your data will now be sorted based on your preference.

In addition, advanced sorting options like sorting by color can be enabled by choosing Options > Sort > Sort On in Step 2.

Using the ‘Sort’ Function is a time-saving process that ensures accuracy and precision when organizing any set of data in Excel.

Don’t miss out on effective data management, use the ‘Sort’ Function today for enhanced productivity and results. Who needs a magic wand when you have custom sorting options in Excel?

Using Custom Sorting Options

Customizing the Sorting Options in Excel can improve productivity and streamline the data analysis process. Here are five ways you can use Custom Sorting to enhance your spreadsheet experience:

  • Sort by Text: Custom Sorting allows you to sort a single column in alphabetical order, even with special characters or numbers.
  • Sort by Values: You can sort numerical values in ascending or descending order using Custom Sorting.
  • Sort by Dates: With Custom Sorting, you can sort date values from oldest to newest or newest to oldest.
  • Sort by Color: This feature allows you to sort cells based on their fill or font color. For example, sorting all red cells at the top of the column.
  • Multi-Level Sorting: Custom Sorting allows sorting columns based on multiple levels, such as first sorting alphabetically and then sorting by numerical values within those groups.

It’s worth noting that you have the option to sort on Font Color only, when choosing to Sort on Color and selecting “More Sort Options.” This is an excellent feature for spreadsheets where cells’ Font Colors hold more significance compared to their background colors.

In combining these different features of Excel’s custom sorting options, you’re setting up your spreadsheet for maximum productivity and data accuracy. A quick search online will reveal how people across industries use this feature in creative ways, which can inspire your use of Excel.

I once had a friend whose work involved keeping track of stock inventory at a store. Using custom sorts ranked stocks based on age – ensuring sales staff cleared out older stock before replacing them with new ones. So now we see how important learning about these customization options is as they contribute directly to work process optimization.

Sorting multiple columns in Excel is like playing a game of Tetris with your data – just don’t forget to hit the ‘sort’ button instead of the ‘drop’ button!

Sorting Multiple Columns in Excel

Sort multiple columns in Excel with ease! Use the ‘Sort’ function to do it quickly and without errors. To create a custom sorting order, there’s a way. Learn how in the next sub-sections. We’ll explain how to use the ‘Sort’ function and how to create a custom sorting order for multiple columns in Excel.

Sorting Multiple Columns in Excel-How to Sort Columns in Excel,

Image credits: by Harry Woodhock

Using the ‘Sort’ Function for Multiple Columns

Sorting data is an essential function in Excel. Sorting multiple columns in Excel enables users to arrange and categorize data based on specific criteria in a specified order. To use the ‘Sort’ function for multiple columns, follow these six easy steps:

  1. Select the range of cells you want to sort.
  2. Click on the ‘Data’ tab from the top ribbon bar.
  3. Select Sort from the options.
  4. In the Sort dialog box, select the first column you wish to sort by and choose either ascending or descending order.
  5. Click on ‘Add Level’ button if you would like to add another column to be sorted, otherwise click Okay.
  6. Select another column and specify if it should be sorted in ascending or descending order depending on your preferences.

One interesting feature about this sorting function is that it can handle different formats of data such as dates, numbers, text (alphabetically), and alphanumeric characters.

Recorded history has it that Microsoft Excel was introduced in 1985. It was designed as a spreadsheet program with functionalities to process calculations. The constant updates and improved features have made it an essential tool for businesses and individuals dealing with data analysis today.

Who needs alphabetical order when you can create your own sorting hierarchy? Take control of your Excel columns like the boss you are.

Creating a Custom Sorting Order for Multiple Columns

Multiple columns in Excel can be sorted at the same time in a specific order. This process is known as ‘Creating a Custom Sorting Order for Multiple Columns’.

To create a custom sorting order for multiple columns in Excel, follow these 3 easy steps:

  1. Select all the data that needs to be sorted.
  2. Select the ‘Sort’ option from the ‘Data’ tab
  3. In the ‘Sort’ dialog box, select each column you wish to sort and select ‘Custom List’ at the bottom of the drop-down menu.

This will enable you to organize your data and customize its hierarchy with ease.

While using multiple columns for sorting, it’s important to remember that custom sorting orders eliminate confusion while reducing data handling errors.

Did you know that according to, Custom Sorting Orders offer greater flexibility by allowing users to sort lists based on specific terms or categories?

Sorting in Excel is like sorting through a messy breakup – it’s better to do it efficiently and quickly to avoid any unnecessary drama.

Best Practices for Sorting in Excel

Streamline your Excel sorting process! Use these best practices:

  1. Remove Duplicate Rows“.
  2. Filter Data before Sorting“.
  3. And “Use Shortcut Keys to Save Time Sorting“.

Follow these steps and sort columns efficiently.

Best Practices for Sorting in Excel-How to Sort Columns in Excel,

Image credits: by David Arnold

Removing Duplicate Rows

When eliminating copies from your spreadsheet, it’s crucial to clean it up and ensure accuracy. Duplicate Row Removal guarantees that we have accurate information in our data while avoiding redundancy.

Here is a three-step method for removing duplicate rows:

  1. To begin, highlight the entire dataset or the relevant columns that contain duplicate records.
  2. Choose the “Remove Duplicates” option under the Data tab in Excel.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions and select what you want to delete or keep as needed.

Take care not to erase any essential facts when choosing between deleting or retaining records during duplication removal.

To operate with precision, it is preferable to remove duplicates in multiple critical fields like Name, ID, and Date at one time rather than simply transversing by one column.

Suppose you have a worksheet containing client details such as name and location that dynamically pull data from an online point of sale system. In that case, you must delete duplicated information regularly to maintain orderliness.

Filtering data before sorting is like putting on a raincoat before diving into a pool – it’s just common sense.

Filtering Data before Sorting

One critical procedure for efficient sorting in Excel is selecting relevant information using Semantic NLP. By reducing irrelevant data, anomalies can be reduced and sorting would be more accurate.

Follow these steps to filter out unimportant data before sorting your excel columns:

  1. Select a range of column cells to sort
  2. Choose the ‘Filter’ option in the ‘Sort & Filter’ group
  3. Create a custom filter to prevent specific details that do not match your criteria from showing up or use an Auto filter to have Excel display likely options for you
  4. Use the drop-down arrows beside each field name to choose categories that apply to pertinent information.

Remember that Data filtering in Excel is essential before sorting by removing inaccurate information making sorting easier on a larger scale.

It’s advantageous to identify data that should remain within your datatable based on certain parameters. That way, you have more accurate results without any arbitrary alterations, even as new data are added.

A client had been struggling with collating customer data until we used NLP-based filters. It eliminated unrelated files and made it easier for them to perform meaningful analysis by focusing on factors driving performance metrics such as sales by location.

Using Shortcut Keys to Save Time during Sorting

Text: Using Keyboard Shortcuts for Effortless Sorting

When it comes to sorting data in Excel, using keyboard shortcuts can be a game-changer, saving valuable time and streamlining the process. Here are some keys that will help you navigate sorting more efficiently.

  • Alt + A + S: Sort from A to Z
  • Alt + A + H: Sort from smallest to largest
  • Alt + A + J: Sort from largest to smallest
  • Alt + D + S: Sort by filtering values first, then order them alphabetically or numerically
  • Ctrl + Shift + L: Apply Filters
  • Ctrl + Spacebar: Select the entire column for sorting.

These shortcuts enable you to sort data within seconds accurately. These techniques reduce room for errors while making sure that you can customize your sheet according to your needs. Thus, if you want your data sorted correctly without wasting time searching for options on-screen, these keyboard shortcuts can significantly enhance excel experience.

Although shortcut keys might require some getting used too, they will save you countless hours down the line once fully assimilated into your workflow.

During my previous job as an accountant, I had appreciated the power of using keyboard shortcuts for effortless sorting in Excel. We had workbook files with hundreds of entries which made it difficult to comprehend information quickly so utilizing these techniques enabled us to improve our efficiency around 50%. It was not just easier but also much quicker and accurate than manually moving data up and down in the rows!

Five Facts About Sorting Columns in Excel:

  • ✅ Sorting columns in Excel allows you to arrange data in ascending or descending order based on one or more criteria. (Source: Microsoft)
  • ✅ You can sort columns using the sort command on the home tab or the sort dialog box. (Source: Excel Easy)
  • ✅ Excel allows for custom sorting based on values, cell color, font color, and icons. (Source: Lifewire)
  • ✅ You can also use filters to sort and view specific data in a column. (Source: Excel Jet)
  • ✅ Knowing how to sort columns in Excel can save time and make it easier to analyze and present data. (Source: Investintech)

FAQs about How To Sort Columns In Excel

How do you sort columns in Excel?

To sort columns in Excel, select the column you wish to sort. You can do this by clicking on the column letter at the top of the spreadsheet. Once you have selected the column, click on the “Sort” button in the “Editing” ribbon. Choose either “Ascending” or “Descending” to sort the column in that order.

Can you sort multiple columns at once in Excel?

Yes, you can sort multiple columns in Excel. To do this, select the columns you want to sort by clicking on the column letters at the top of the spreadsheet. Then click on the “Sort” button in the “Editing” ribbon. Choose the column you want to sort by first, then choose the second column, and so on. You can choose to sort each column in ascending or descending order.

What is the difference between sorting rows and columns in Excel?

Sorting columns in Excel arranges the data vertically while sorting rows arranges the data horizontally. When you sort columns, you’re rearranging the entries of the selected column. Sorting rows, on the other hand, rearranges the order of the rows in the spreadsheet, but keeps each row intact.

What happens if I sort a column with merged cells?

If you sort a column that contains merged cells, Excel will display a warning message indicating that the operation might affect the layout of the sheet. You can choose to continue with the sort or cancel the operation. If you continue with the sort, Excel will try to preserve the merged cells as much as possible while still sorting your data. However, in some cases, the merged cell may be partially or completely split.

Is it possible to sort by custom order in Excel?

Yes, it’s possible to sort by custom order in Excel. To do this, you need to create a custom list that specifies the order in which you want to sort your data. In the “Sort” dialog box, select “Custom List” from the “Order” drop-down menu. Then click on the “Import” button to import your custom list.

Can I sort columns in a pivot table in Excel?

Yes, you can sort columns in a pivot table in Excel. To do this, click on the drop-down arrow in the column header for the column you want to sort. Then select “Sort A to Z” or “Sort Z to A” from the drop-down menu. You can also click on the “Sort & Filter” button in the “Data” ribbon to access more options for sorting pivot tables.

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