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: Sorting a Range of Cells.

Sorting a Range of Cells

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 19, 2020)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


1

Peter asked if it is possible to sort a range of cells, and just that range. In other words, not to sort entire rows or entire columns. The answer is a resounding "yes," Excel allows you to do the sorting rather easily.

As an example, let's assume you want to sort the cells in the range of C10:F40, based on the values in column D. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Select the range of cells.
  2. Display the Data tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the Sort tool. Excel displays the Sort dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Sort dialog box.

  5. Using the Sort By drop down list, choose Column D.
  6. Make sure the My Data Has Headers check box is cleared.
  7. Click on OK.

You can also sort by using the Sort Ascending or Sort Descending tools on the Data tab of the ribbon. The steps you follow are just a bit different:

  1. Select the range of cells.
  2. Press the Tab key to make sure that column D is selected. You can tell when it is selected because one of the cells in column D will appear in white, rather than being shaded.
  3. Click on Sort Ascending or Sort Descending.

Regardless of the technique you use, only the range of selected cells is sorted. All other information in the data table remains unaffected.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11101) 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: Sorting a Range of Cells.

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

Changing the Way Footnotes Are Numbered

Most footnotes in a document start numbering with the number 1 and proceed from there through the rest of your document. ...

Discover More

Automatically Displaying Thumbnails of a Graphic File

If you want to include a large number of images in your worksheet, you may also want a way to automatically add those ...

Discover More

Adding Buttons to Your Worksheet

You can easily add a button to your worksheet that will allow you to run various macros. This tip shows how easy it is.

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Sorting IP Addresses

If you keep track of IP addresses in an Excel worksheet, you probably already know that it is difficult to sort those ...

Discover More

Recognizing a Header Row when Sorting

When you sort data in a worksheet, there are a couple ways you can do it. Using the simple way can result in ...

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 8 + 8?

2020-09-19 05:04:50

Kiwerry

A big THANK YOU for this one Allen. I have often wondered whether there is a quick way of sorting a range by a column other than the leftmost one, and here it is!


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.