Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. 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: Moving Cell Borders when Sorting.

Moving Cell Borders when Sorting

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 26, 2020)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


Frank has a simple two-column table that contains random dates in the first column and the letters A through E in the second column. He formats the cell containing the letter C so it has a background color and a border around the cell. When Frank sorts the table according to what is in the first column, Excel moves the background color with the C cell, but it doesn't move the border. Frank wonders if there is a way to move both the color and border of a cell when sorting.

The solution is to change how you are doing your formatting. Excel provides two types of formatting that can be applied to cells—regular formatting and conditional formatting. If you apply regular formatting, then what moves when you sort can seem rather arbitrary. If you apply conditional formatting, then all the formatting applied by the condition (or conditions) will move with the cell when you sort.

So the answer to the question is to change how you do your formatting in this instance. Just apply a conditional format that modifies the border of the cell, and then you can sort in peace. (The condition you set could easily be one that is always True, and thus the formatting is always applied.)

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8883) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Moving Cell Borders when Sorting.

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

Macro Fails after Filter

When developing a macro that others may use, you might want to test it out to make sure it works properly if a filter is ...

Discover More

Moving a Table Column

Want to move a column in a table very easily? You can do so by using the same editing techniques you are already using.

Discover More

Moving All Headings Down One Level

Do you want to demote all the headings in your document by one level? There are some great tools built into the program ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Controlling Sorting Order

When you sort information in a worksheet, you have control over the order in which that information is sorted. Here's a ...

Discover More

Sorting with Graphics

If you use graphics in a worksheet that are associated with certain cells (perhaps images of parts or icons for worksheet ...

Discover More

Sorting by the Last Digits in Variable Length Data

Excel is great at sorting information in a worksheet. Sometimes it can be a bit confusing as to how to set up the sort ...

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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) 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 3 + 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.