Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 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

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 19, 2020)

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 Office 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

Document Shows as 'In Use' by Another User

Word tries to constantly track who is using various documents, in order to prevent two users from clashing in their edits ...

Discover More

Linking Comments to Multiple Cells

In Excel, single comments are associated with single cells. If you want to have a comment be linked to multiple cells, ...

Discover More

Limiting which File Types You See in Drive

Overwhelmed with the number of files displayed on your screen when using Drive? Here's a handy way you can limit what is ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

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

Sorting Letters and Numbers

Sorting information in a worksheet can be confusing when Excel applies sorting rules of which you are unaware. This is ...

Discover More

Understanding Ascending and Descending Sorts

When you sort information, Excel follows a set pattern of how your data is organized. This tip illuminates the burning ...

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 3 - 0?

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.