Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Ignoring Selected Words when Sorting.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 26, 2016)
Arn has a need to exclude certain words when sorting a column. For instance, he is trying to exclude "The" when sorting a list of movie titles, so that "Alpha, Charlie, The Bravo" would sort as "Alpha, The Bravo, Charlie."
There is no built-in way to do this. The best solution is to set up an intermediate column for your data. This column can contain the modified movie titles, and you can sort by the contents of the column. For instance, if column A contains your original movie titles, you could fill column B with formulas, such as this:
This formula will strip the word "The" (with its trailing space) from the start of the line. If you want to add the word "The" at the end of the string, then you could modify the formula in the following manner:
=IF(LEFT(A1,4)="The ",MID(A1,5,50),A1) & ", The"
If you wanted to delete all instances of the word "the" without regard to where it appeared in the title, you could use the following instead:
Sorting, again, would be done by the results shown in column B. This will give the list in the desired order.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11976) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Ignoring Selected Words when Sorting.
Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!
If the font color used for the data in your worksheet is critical, you may at some time want to move cells that use a ...Discover More
When you are sorting by text values, Excel can be very literal, which may not get you the sorting that you want. This tip ...Discover More
One of the strong features of Excel is its ability to sort information in a worksheet. When it doesn't sort information ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
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.