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: Use Filenames That Sort Properly.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 17, 2018)
It is not uncommon to work on projects that require several workbooks. When you are naming files for your project, you should use names which will later sort properly when you use various functions of Excel. For instance, the Open dialog box shows the files in the current directory. If your files are named properly, they will always appear in order on the list.
I ensure this by starting all files related to a project with a number of digits that represent the order in which the workbook appears in the project. For instance, if the project entails workbooks from the last quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018, then the files may be named as follows:
201710 Actual Figures.xlsx 201711 Actual Figures.xlsx 201712 Actual Figures.xlsx 201801 Actual Figures.xlsx 201802 Actual Figures.xlsx 201803 Actual Figures.xlsx
The files sort properly because they beginning with the year. If they began with the month, then the first quarter of 2018 would sort before the last quarter of 2017, which is not nearly as helpful an order.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12553) 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: Use Filenames That Sort Properly.
Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!
Need to get the full path of your current workbook into the Clipboard? Excel doesn't make it quite as easy as it used to ...Discover More
What would you do if every time you opened a workbook Excel told you it was locked? Here's how you can try to recover ...Discover More
Delimited files are often created through Excel so that your data can be exported to other programs. If the delimited ...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.