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. ...

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What is five more than 4?

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!


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