Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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 June 13, 2015)


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, and 2013. 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. ...


Controlling How Word Sorts Text

Word has a very orderly way in which it sorts information, but that orderly method may not meet what you need to have ...

Discover More

Accessing Excel through a PDF File

Word and PDF files go together like peanut butter and jelly. (How's that for a metaphor?) If you create PDF files from ...

Discover More

Controlling the View in Drive

Drive lets you organize and work with files that it stores for you. It also gives you control over how you view the files ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA 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

Too Many Formats when Sorting

Sorting is one of the basic operations done in a worksheet. If your sorting won't work and you instead get an error ...

Discover More

Incomplete and Corrupt Sorting

Using the sorting tools, on the toolbar, may result in some unwanted results, such as jumbled data. If this happens to ...

Discover More

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

View most recent newsletter.


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 1 + 5?

2017-01-13 13:40:49



Can a worksheet containing a Pivot table, and additional columns related to this pivot table, be sorted just like a column in the pivot table can be?


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

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.