Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Sorting an Entire List.

Sorting an Entire List

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 1, 2017)

Excel allows you to sort list data both quickly and easily. You can sort your data by row using the contents of any column you want. In database terminology, this column (or field) is called the sort key. In Excel it is referred to as the "Sort By" column.

To sort an entire list quickly, start by selecting a cell within the column you want used as the Sort By column. Then, click on the Sort Ascending tool or Sort Descending tool, depending on what you want to do. (These tools are in the Sort & Filter group on the Data tab of the ribbon.) For instance, if you want to sort an inventory list by its Quantity field, all you need to do is select a cell in the Quantity column, and then click on Sort Ascending.

There are a few "gotchas" to be aware of. If your data contains any blank columns or rows, then that can affect what rows or columns Excel actually sorts. You should also know that if your worksheet contains hidden rows, they are not affected when you sort by rows. If you have hidden columns, they are not affected when you sort by columns. After the sort, they will remain in the same position as before the sort.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (7222) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Sorting an Entire List.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Searching for Special Hyphens

Word allows you to use a couple of different types of hyphens in your document, each with a different purpose. If you want to ...

Discover More

Changing the Footnote Continuation Separator

When you add a really long footnote to a document, it could be that the entire footnote might not fit on the page where the ...

Discover More

Ranges on Multiple Worksheets

Referring to a range of cells on the current worksheet is easy. But what if you want to refer to a range on a number of ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Separating Cells Based on Text Color

If the font color used for the data in your worksheet is critical, you may at sometime want to move cells that use a ...

Discover More

Preventing Jumbled Sorts

Click the Sort tool in Excel, and you may be surprised that the data in your worksheet is jumbled. In order to sort ...

Discover More

Sorting Dates and Times

One of the strong features of Excel is its ability to sort information in a worksheet. When it doesn't sort information as ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is seven less than 7?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.