How to Sort in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide for Organizing Data

Sorting data in Excel is a piece of cake once you get the hang of it. In just a few clicks, you can organize your spreadsheet by alphabetical order, numerical value, or even by color. So, if you’re tired of manually sifting through rows and columns to find what you need, sit tight and let’s dive into the world of Excel sorting.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Sort in Excel

Before we jump into the nitty-gritty, let me tell you what we’re about to do. We’re going to take a jumbled Excel spreadsheet and transform it into an organized masterpiece. Ready? Let’s go!

Step 1: Select the Data

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

Selecting the correct data is crucial. If you accidentally skip a column, your data won’t make sense after sorting. Make sure to include the header row if your data has one.

Step 2: Click the Sort Button

Find the ‘Sort & Filter’ button on the toolbar and click it.

This button is your magic wand. You’ll see options to sort A to Z, Z to A, or a custom sort. Choose the one that suits your needs.

Step 3: Choose Your Sort Preferences

If choosing a custom sort, specify the column to sort by and the sort order.

Here’s where you can get fancy. You can sort by multiple columns or even by cell color. Just make sure to check each setting to avoid any sorting mishaps.

After completing these steps, your data will be sorted according to your preferences. You’ll notice how much easier it is to navigate through your spreadsheet. Whether you’re analyzing data or merely trying to make sense of a list, sorting in Excel saves time and headaches.

Tips for Sorting in Excel

  • Always include the header row when sorting to avoid mixing it up with the data.
  • Use the ‘My data has headers’ checkbox in the sort dialog box to ensure Excel recognizes your headers.
  • Remember that sorting data is reversible as long as you don’t save the changes right away. So don’t panic if you make a mistake.
  • Sort numbers and dates separately from text to avoid confusion.
  • Use the ‘Sort by Color’ feature for a visually organized spreadsheet.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I only want to sort one column?

Just select that column and use the ‘Sort & Filter’ button. Your other data won’t be affected.

Can I sort by more than one criterion?

Absolutely! Use the ‘Custom Sort’ option to add levels and sort by multiple columns.

Will sorting change the structure of my data?

No, sorting will only change the order of your rows. The data structure remains intact.

What happens if my data has blanks or errors?

Excel will sort blanks and errors too, so it’s best to clean up your data first.

Can I undo a sort?

Yes, you can either press CTRL + Z to undo or use the ‘Sort & Filter’ button to re-sort.


  1. Select the data.
  2. Click the ‘Sort & Filter’ button.
  3. Choose your sort preferences.


So there you have it, folks. Sorting in Excel is a fundamental skill that can save you a ton of time and make your data analysis a breeze. Whether you’re a student crunching numbers for a project, a small business owner keeping track of inventory, or just someone who loves to be organized, knowing how to sort in Excel is a game-changer.

Remember, the key to a good sort is making sure you’ve selected the right data and chosen the appropriate sorting criteria. And don’t forget those handy tips – they can make a significant difference in your sorting adventures.

Now that you’ve mastered sorting, imagine what else you can do with Excel! The possibilities are endless, and there’s always something new to learn. So go ahead, sort to your heart’s content, and watch your productivity soar. Happy sorting!

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