How to Alphabetize in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Alphabetizing in Excel is a breeze once you get the hang of it. With a few clicks, you can sort your data in ascending or descending order. Whether you’re organizing a list of names, addresses, or any other alphabetical data, Excel has got you covered. Ready to become an Excel alphabetizing pro? Let’s dive in!

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Alphabetize in Excel

Before we begin, let’s understand what we’re aiming to achieve. Following these steps will help you sort your data alphabetically, making it easier to navigate and manage.

Step 1: Select the Data

Click and drag to highlight the cells you want to alphabetize.

Selecting the correct range of cells is crucial. Make sure you include all the data you want to sort but avoid including any headers or unrelated data that shouldn’t be alphabetized.

Step 2: Open the Sort Window

Go to the Data tab and click on the ‘Sort’ button.

This will open the Sort dialog box, where all the magic happens. Here, you can specify how you want your data to be sorted.

Step 3: Choose Your Sort Options

In the Sort dialog box, choose the column you want to sort by and select either ‘A to Z’ or ‘Z to A’.

If your selected data includes a header row, make sure to check the ‘My data has headers’ option to avoid sorting the header.

Step 4: Complete the Sort

Click ‘OK’ to sort your data alphabetically.

Congratulations! You’ve just alphabetized your data in Excel. You should now see your selected cells arranged in the order you specified.

After completing these steps, your data will be neatly organized alphabetically. This can make it much easier to find specific entries or to analyze your data set.

Tips for Alphabetizing in Excel

  • Always double-check the range of cells you’re sorting to avoid any unwanted changes to your data.
  • Utilize the ‘Sort A to Z’ and ‘Sort Z to A’ quick access buttons for simple one-column sorts.
  • Remember that sorting data in Excel is not reversible. Consider making a copy of your data before performing a sort.
  • Use custom sort options for more complex sorting needs, like sorting by last name when your data is in a ‘First Name Last Name’ format.
  • If you’re sorting multiple columns, pay attention to the order in which you add the sort levels to achieve the desired result.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I want to sort by more than one column?

You can add multiple levels in the Sort dialog box to sort by additional columns. Just click on ‘Add Level’ and choose the next column and sort order.

Can I alphabetize while ignoring articles like ‘The’ or ‘A’?

Yes, you’ll need to use a helper column to remove the articles before sorting, then sort using the helper column.

How can I sort a column but keep rows together?

Make sure to select all columns that should move with the sorted column before you start the sort process.

What do I do if my data has headers?

Check the ‘My data has headers’ option in the Sort dialog box to ensure headers are not included in the sort.

Can I undo a sort in Excel?

Sorting can’t be undone using the undo feature, so it’s best to make a copy of your data before sorting.


  1. Select the Data
  2. Open the Sort Window
  3. Choose Your Sort Options
  4. Complete the Sort


Alphabetizing in Excel is a fundamental skill that can significantly streamline your data management process. Whether you’re a student looking to organize research data or a professional managing extensive databases, knowing how to sort alphabetically is essential. Remember to always double-check your selections and consider making a backup before sorting. With practice, these steps will become second nature, and you’ll be handling Excel data like a seasoned pro. So go ahead, give it a try, and watch as your data transforms from a jumbled mess to a beautifully organized masterpiece. After all, who doesn’t love a well-ordered spreadsheet? Happy sorting!

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